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Raghubir Singh, 1942–1999

Raghubir Singh, who died in April, was the most widely published of all photographers of India. Born and raised in Jaipur, Rajasthan, he eschewed the tradition of black-and-white photography in his thirteen books of images of India: Indeed, he considered color to be intrinsic to the culture of the subcontinent. As he wrote in his final collection, Rivers of Color, which shares its title with his recent Art Institute of Chicago retrospective, color is the “fountain of the continuum of life” in India.

Singh, who was a lecturer at New York’s School of the Visual Arts at the time of his death, was deeply conscious of the traditions of photography both in the West and in India, where as a young man he observed Henri Cartier-Bresson at work. Like another of his heroes, the filmmaker Satyajit Ray, he was not afraid to borrow from the West. In spite of this, his photographs—masterfully framed

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