In the early 70s photography was at its top. The world was full of photographers and new skilled names were introduced to the world thanks to magazines, newspapers, and strong ads. Everybody was shooting, but they were doing it in black and white, colors were not truly considered.
“So why it was not considered at all?” you might say.
It was a social matter, everybody preferred b&w photos because the monochromatic process was a thing of the professionals rather than the colors, which was “just a kid’s thing” and a marginal art form. People used color film just to create some memories during picnics at the park, during a hike or a party. Colored photos were meant just for fun at the time.
But just like any other innovation, it’s just a matter of time. People just needed to be stirred by a reason, and that’s how the name of Raghubir Singh comes to us.
Singh was a photographer that showed India in its “true color” from the mid-60s to the 80s, capturing moments from every day’s life and celebration that remember us why that country is so fascinating.
His whole work is not just a love/hate relationship with the country, in fact, it can be considered as a meditative observation of the chaotic, yet organized, events that characterize the country. Where you can see struggle in his photos, you can see a counterbalancing made by city-life moments and celebrations.
Inspired by the well-known photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Singh decided to take color as its medium to show the plenty of chromatic differences found in every Indian scenario. The colorful world created through his photographs is part of a view that he experienced every day, and that in b&w would not be this powerful.
He spent a decade on the Ganges, the main river in India, and a sacred place that is nowadays used as a baptismal font, photographing the most peculiar moment.
His whole project shows these incredible pictures of landscapes and people around, in the streets near the river. Since he was traveling for such a long time you can notice the changes, even the smaller ones, that marked the continuous passing of time, that just like a river, flows and never stops.
As always you can see some of the pictures in the article, as a help for a better understanding of his view and what kind of moments he liked.
Unfortunately, Singh left us too soon in 1999, because of a heart attack, but his work, well-renowned by LIFE Magazine and the National Geographic, will always remain one of the most amazing gifts made to the art of photography and to the Indian society.