Raghu Rai laureate of the first edition of the Academy of Fine Arts Photography Award – William Klein

The jury of the 2019 edition named the photographer and photojournalist Raghu Rai, laureate of the first edition of the Academy of Fine Arts Photography Award – William Klein.

The Academy of Fine Arts Photography Award – William Klein was created in 2019 by the Academy of Fine Arts in tribute to William Klein, photographer, painter, visual artist, graphic designer, director of documentary, advertising and fiction films.

As a consecration award, this prize is intended to reward a photographer for his/her entire career and commitment to photography. It rewards one photographer of all nationalities and ages. Endowed with the sum of 120,000 euros, it is awarded every two years, alternating with the Photography Award Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière.

An exhibition retracing the career of the photographer will be held from October 24, 2019 to November 24, 2019 in the exhibition space of the Academy, at the Palais de l’Institut de France.

The jury of the 2019 edition :

• Laurent Petitgirard, Perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts, co-chair

• Zhong Weixing, founder of the Chengdu Contemporary image museum, co-chair

• William Klein, Honorary Member

• Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Bruno Barbey, Jean Gaumy, Sebastião Salgado, members of the photography section of the Academy of Fine Arts

• Jean-Luc Monterosso and Bernard Perrine, correspondents of the photography section of the Academy of Fine Arts

• Alessandra Mauro, curator

• Alberto Anaut, president of PhotoEspaña and director of La Fábrica.

Born in December 1942 in Jhang (British India – current Pakistan), Raghu Rai qualified at civil engineer, started photography at the age of 23 in 1965. He joined The Statesman newspaper as their Chief photographer (1966 to 1976), and was then Picture Editor with Sunday – a weekly news magazine published from Calcutta (1977 to 1980).

In 1971, impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire, Paris, Henri Cartier Bresson nominated him to Magnum Photos of which he is still a partner today. In 1982, he took over as Picture Editor-Visualiser-Photographer of India Today, India’s leading news magazine. He worked on special issues and designs, contributing trailblazing picture essays on social, political, and cultural themes of the decade (1982 to 1991).

In the last 18 years, Raghu Rai has exclusively devoted his work to India. He has produced more than fifty picture books on different aspects/life and themes on India : Delhi, The Sikhs, Calcutta, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Tibet in Exile, Mother Teresa and so on. His thorough work on the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, a special assignment from Greenpeace International, was compiled into a book with 3 sets of exhibitions traveling from 2002 to 2005.

Many exhibitions have been dedicated to him around the world including retrospectives at Arles Photography Festival in 2007, at the National Gallery Of Modern Art of New Delhi in 2008 or whether at the Aicon Gallery of London in 2011.

He was awarded the Padmashree in 1972, one of India’s highest civilian awards ever given to a photographer, for the body of works he produced on the liberation war of Bangladesh and its refugees. In 1992 he was awarded Photographer of the Year in the United States for the story Human Management of Wildlife in India published in National Geographic. In 2009 he was conferred Officier des Arts et des Lettres by French Government. In 2018, he has been honored by Lucie Foundation, New York as Master of Photojournalism.

His photo essays have been published in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers. In 2012, Raghu Rai created the Raghu Rai Center for Photography to share his 50 years of knowledge and experience with the young generations.

Raghu Rai lives in New Delhi with his family and is currently working on his 57th publication.