Raghu Rai Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Raghu Rai

Full NameRaghunath Rai Chowdhry
Profession(s)Photographer, Photojournalist
Famous ForBeing the First Indian Magnum Photographer
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBrown
Hair ColourSalt & Pepper
Personal Life
Date of Birth18 December 1942 (Friday)
Age (as of 2023)81 Years
BirthplaceJhang, Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan)
SignatureRaghu Rai's Signature
Nationality Indian
HometownJhang, Pakistan
Educational QualificationCivil Engineer
ReligionNot Known
HobbiesReading, Writing
Awards, Honours, Achievements • Padmashree in 1972
• Photographer of the Year from USA in 1992
• Officier des Arts et des Lettres by French Government in 2009
Girls, Affairs, and More
Marital StatusMarried
Wife/SpouseFirst Wife:- Usha Rai (Journalist) (m. 1968)
Second Wife:- Gurmeet Sangha Rai (Architect) (m. 1989)
Raghu Rai with his wife Gurmeet
ChildrenSon(s)- Nitin Rai (Photojournalist), Lagan Rai (both from Usha Rai)
Daughter(s)- Purvai Rai (CEO and Founder of Creative Image Magazine), Avani Rai (Photographer) (both from Gurmeet Sangha Rai)
Raghu Rai with his daughter Avani Rai
Raghu Rai with his Children
ParentsFather- Name Not Known (in Irrigation Department)
Mother- Name Not Known
SiblingsBrother- Sharampal Chowdhry (Photographer)
Sister- Not Known

Note: He has 3 siblings.
Favourite Things
Favourite Drink(s)Whisky, Rum
Favourite PlaceHis farm near Delhi

Raghu Rai

Some Lesser Known Facts About Raghu Rai

  • Does Raghu Rai drink alcohol?: Yes
  • He was born in Jhang (now in Pakistan) and was the youngest of his 3 siblings. After completing his Civil Engineering, he started his career as an engineer in New Delhi. Due to the lack of interest in this field, he worked there for just one year and then left the job.
  • In 1962, he started learning photography from his elder brother Sharampal Chowdhry, better known as S Paul, and began his journey as a photographer in 1965 at the age of 23.
  • In 1966, he became a part of “The Statesman” (a New Delhi publication), West Bengal. He worked there as a Chief Photographer for almost 10 years and left the newspaper in 1976.
  • After getting impressed by his exhibition at Gallery Delpire (held in Paris), the renowned photographer Henri Cartier Bresson announced his name to join Magnum Photos in 1977.
  • In 1972, he was honoured with the “Padma Shri” for the work he produced on Bangladesh refugees, the war and the surrender.
  • In 1977, he joined “Sunday” (a weekly news magazine published from Calcutta) as a Picture Editor and worked there for 3 years.
  • In 1980, he left “Sunday” and started working with “India Today” as Visualizer/Picture Editor/Photographer during its formative years.
  • Then, he worked on special designs and issues, contributing photo essays on political, cultural, and social themes of the decade from 1982 to 1991. His picture essays have featured in the world’s leading newspapers and magazines such as Life, Time, Le Monde, Newsweek, Vogue, GEO, Die Welt, The Independent, and more. Here are Raghu Rai’s 5 most iconic photographs:

  • In 1984, he was the person who covered the worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, i.e. ‘Bhopal Gas Tragedy.’

    Picture taken by Raghu Rai during Bhopal Tragedy

    Picture taken by Raghu Rai during Bhopal Tragedy

  • In 1992, he was conferred “Photographer of the Year” in the United States for his story “Human Management of Wildlife in India;” published on National Geographic.
  • He has been an arbitrator for World Press Photo Contest, UNESCO International Photo Contest, and Amsterdam International Photo Contest for several times.
  • He is an expert in extensive coverage of India and has published a number of books including A Day in the life of Indira Gandhi, The Sikhs, Taj Mahal, Delhi and Agra, Romance of India, Mother Teresa, Bangladesh: The Price of Freedom, Raghu Rai’s India: Reflections in Colour and Reflections in Black and White, and more.

    Raghu Rai's India: Reflections in Colour and Reflections in Black and White

    Raghu Rai’s India: Reflections in Colour and Reflections in Black and White

  • In 2002, a special exhibition and photo book was organized on Mexico and India; in which his work was presented along with two well-known photographers Sebastião Salgado (from France) and Graciela Iturbide (from Mexico). His remarkable work has also been featured in the main books by Magnum Photos, e.g. “Exhibitions.”
  • A documentary titled “Raghu Rai: An Unframed Portrait” is a reflection of his life as a photojournalist. This documentary was directed by his daughter Avani Rai and Anurag Kashyap. Here’s a short view on the documentary: