Monsoon Rains, Monghyr, Bihar

Raghubir Singh Indian

Not on view

Singh was a pioneer of color street photography who worked and published prolifically from the late 1960s until his sudden death at age fifty-six. Born into an aristocratic family in Rajasthan, Singh was a thoroughly cosmopolitan artist. He lived abroad for most of his adult life—in Hong Kong, Paris, London, and New York—but his eye was perpetually drawn back to his native India. Working with a handheld camera and color slide film, he recorded the country’s dense milieu in complex frieze-like compositions, teeming with incident, fractured by reflections, and pulsating with opulent color.

Singh considered this image to be his first successful photograph. As four women huddle together on the banks of the Ganges, their saris cling to their skin like drapery on classical statues. Rooted in communal life and the cyclical time of the yearly monsoon, the image announces Singh’s lifelong preoccupation with “the geographical culture of India” and the deep intertwining of land, climate, and tradition.

Monsoon Rains, Monghyr, Bihar, Raghubir Singh (Indian, 1942–1999), Chromogenic print

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