Meet Ajay Rajgarhia, Who Quit A Successful Business and Became an Ace Photographer

Creators And Collectors

Investment banker, successful entrepreneur and owner of a textile business, Ajay Rajgarhia donned a few different hats before finally becoming a Fine Art Photographer. Self-taught and still learning through trial and error, Rajgarhia’s tryst with photography came late in life.

“I didn’t even have a camera till my children were born,” says Rajgarhia. Gradually, his experiments with the camera grew. In photography lay the answer to his constant search of “more than this”.

(Ajay Rajgarhia's First Professional Work)

“I had gone to Jaipur to watch a cricket match and had left early to take photos on the highway, when I received a phone call from work,” says Rajgarhia. “That’s the moment I realized that photography is about the here and now. It was a passion that I couldn’t pursue along with my work.” Subsequently, he wrapped up his textile business and made Fine Art Photography his full-time profession.

(One of Ajay's personal favourites from his own body of work)

Today, Ajay Rajgarhia is one of the names at the forefront of Indian Fine Art Photography. Rajgarhia’s photos are a part of private collections in India and abroad. “I just go out and shoot, and don’t always have a theme in mind,” says Rajgarhia. “I enjoy shooting in colonial and Portuguese Goa, and also among the hustle and bustle of old Calcutta and Varanasi, as it has so much character. Colour naturally attracts me, though I would love to take more black and white photos.”

("Kumartuli", shot by Ajay Rajgarhia in Kolkata; available on Artisera)

Defining Fine Art Photography

For Rajgarhia, Fine Art photography is about the vision of the photographer and a form of expression. “Just as it’s paint for a painter and metal for a sculptor, photography is another medium for an artist,” says Rajgarhia. “Fine Art photos are different from commercial and journalistic photos, as they don’t just seek to document or promote an object. They present an artist’s vision, and are photos you want to hang on your wall.”

("Untitled" by Ajay Rajgarhia, available on Artisera)

Rajgarhia feels that Fine Art Photographers stand out even in this day and age when we are bombarded with images taken on smartphones, and when many people are seen toting an SLR. “Just because a person has a camera, it doesn’t make them a photographer,” says Rajgarhia. “It is not about one brilliant photo but about a body of work. It’s about how frequently and consistently one can produce good photos.”

He also discerns that the general perception of Photoshop being a magical tool to create great photos is incorrect. “From its inception, the dark room has been an integral part of photography,” observes Rajgarhia. “Today the darkroom is the computer, and every photographer has to use Photoshop. Showing a photo without editing it, is like showing a negative. The process of creation still remains the same, but the level of distortion depends on the artist.”

("Colours of Faith" by Ajay Rajgarhia, available on Artisera)

Photography as an Investment

Ajay Rajgarhia is also the founder of Wonderwall - India's first ecommerce website dedicated to fine art photography. “When I established Wonderwall, there were many art galleries, but not many that specialized in photography,” says Rajgarhia. “I saw an opportunity to create a niche business where anyone who wants to buy photos could come to Wonderwall.”

(Wonderwall promotes Indian photographers. This is a work titled 'Holi' by Udit Kulshrestha, available on Artisera)

He has seen that people are increasingly buying artistic photos and they are being viewed as an investment. He feels that today’s generation does not view art as being limited to just traditional forms like paintings. “The current generation is much more open, informed, well-traveled and views photographs as affordable art,” observes Rajgarhia. “They also have a sense of closeness with photos as it is a realistic medium and it evokes many emotions within them.”

In 2011, seeing the demand for photography increase, and to give people a tactile experience before purchasing, Wonderwall took up gallery space in Lado Sarai, the art district of New Delhi.

(Untitled work by photographer Karan Khanna, promoted by Wonderwall, available on Artisera)

An avid collector of photos, Rajgarhia has a collection that boasts names like Raghu Rai, Prabuddha Dasgupta, Leena Kejriwal, Sandeep Biswas and Dinesh Khanna among many others.

(One of Ajay's personal favourites from his own body of work)

Rajgarhia believes that art is like an asset, such as jewelry - whose value appreciates over time, and one can enjoy it while they own it. But he also warns that people should buy an art piece because they love it, not just because it’s an investment.

("Untitled" by Ajay Rajgarhia, available on Artisera)

He senses an immense opportunity in India. “Fine Art photography is still in its nascent stages in India, and we have an opportunity today to buy some great artwork for very less,” says an excited Rajgarhia. “Like how people bought a Husain for much less decades ago, we have an opportunity to do that with photographs now.”

Explore a collection of photographs by Ajay Rajgarhia and other photographers promoted by Wonderwall, on Artisera.

Share Post: