Prabuddha Dasgupta

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Prabuddha Dasgupta
Prabuddha Dasgupta

(1956-09-21)21 September 1956[1]
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died12 August 2012(2012-08-12) (aged 55)
Alibaug, Maharashtra
Years active1975–2012
Partner(s)Lakshmi Menon

Prabuddha Dasgupta (21 September 1956 – 12 August 2012) was a noted fashion and fine-art photographer from India.[2] Known for his iconic black and white imagery, he had an extended career, primarily as a fashion photographer, spanning more than three decades.[3] Amongst his books, he is most known for Women (1996), a collection of portraits and nudes of urban Indian women.[4][5]


Early life and background[edit]

Prabuddha Dasgupta was born in Kolkata in September 1956. His father was noted sculptor, Pradosh Das Gupta.,[3] who was the curator of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Delhi from 1957 to 1970, and the family stayed within the premises.[6] In the 1970s, his father moved to Jangpura Extension, a well-known artists' colony in Delhi, where he stayed for most of his career.[7] He graduated in History from Hindu College, University of Delhi, 1973–1975.[8]


Though he was trained as a historian, he started his career as copywriter with advertising agency Everest, before turning to photography full-time in the late 1980s.[3][8] During his career as a commercial photographer, which took off with a campaign for Blue Lagoon Jeans,[9] Dasgupta worked with the first generation of Indian supermodels like Madhu Sapre, Feroze Gujral, Shyamolie Verma and Mehr Jesia. According to historian, William Dalrymple, with whom he worked on his book Edge of Faith, "Rohit Khosla and Rohit Bal, along with Prabuddha, invented glamour in India."[8] A self-taught photographer, he received the Yves Saint Laurent grant for photography in 1991,[10] for his photograph of model Feroze Gujral, shot for designer Suneet Varma.[8][11]

"I have no idea why people might like my photographs.
I only know that I love what I do."

Prabuddha Dasgupta, Indian Express Interview, 2010.[12]

He shot the first advertisements of KamaSutra condoms in 1991, with models Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson, which not only became popular, but also turned KS into India's top-selling condom brand[13][14] Another controversial ad campaign he shot, was for 'Tuff Shoes' in 1995, which featured top models, Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre.[2][7]

Over the years, Dasgupta worked for several leading magazines, like Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar and GQ. He published several art books of his photographs, including Women (1996), which got him instant acclaim,[3][15] Ladakh (2000) featured extensive landscapes of Ladakh,[10] and his 2009 book "Edge of Faith" authored by William Dalrymple, with portraits of the Catholic community in Goa, was published in 2009.[11][16] His work has been internationally exhibited, in solo and group shows and part of the collections at Museo Ken Damy, Brescia (Italy) and Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan.[15][17] His first personal show titled, Longing was held in New York in 2007, and was reviewed by The Paris Review.[18] During his career he also mentored "a generation" of photographers, including Tarun Khiwal and Bharat Sikka, who assisted him in the 1990s.[11]

In his later years, he moved to Goa.[3] He died in Alibaug near Mumbai, following a heart attack on way to Mumbai airport, after a fashion shoot in Alibaug, at the age of 55.[4][10] A memorial meeting in his honour was held on 25 August 2013 at NGMA, New Delhi, wherein tributes were paid to him by Mira Nair, Raghu Rai, Dayanita Singh amongst others; the gathering ended with audio-visual montage of his works.[19][20]

As a tribute to him, the theme of the 2nd Delhi Photo Festival (2013) was chosen as "Grace", inspired by a talk he gave at the 1st edition of the festival in 2011, "I want to have a long string of images, held together by grace, because grace is that undefineable, non-rational, non-linear word that I am looking for…"[21][22]

Personal life[edit]

During the last decade of his life he was in a relationship with model Lakshmi Menon whom he had extensively photographed and with whom lived in Goa. However, he never got divorced from his wife Tania, with whom he had two daughters, Aleeya and Amaaya.[23] His elder brother, Pradeep Dasgupta is also a photographer, with whom he has organised a retrospective of his father's sculptures at Delhi's Lalit Kala Akademi in April 2012.


  • Women. Viking, 1996 Women at Google Books
  • Ladakh, Viking, 2000. ISBN 0670892106.
  • Edge of Faith, with William Dalrymple, Seagull Books, 2009. ISBN 1906497311.



  1. ^ "NGMA, Memorial Meeting Poster". NGMA. August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Indian Fashion Photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta Dies at 58". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Rochelle Pinto (14 August 2012). "He painted in black and white- Prabuddha Dasgupta". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012..
  4. ^ a b "Noted photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta passes away". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Dasgupta 'elevated fashion images to art'". The Hindu. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. The 58-year-old lensman suffered heart attack.
  6. ^ Aveek Sen (14 August 2012). "Obituary: Prabuddha Dasgupta". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b Pablo Bartholomew (13 August 2012). "The death of a man so young, in the prime of his life". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d Aasheesh Sharma (21 September 2013). "Memories of a master". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  9. ^ Shefalee Vasudev : (14 August 2012). "Retouch Me Not". Indian Express. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "Prabuddha, a master lensman (Obituary)". Hindustan Times, Mumbai. 12 August 2012. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "Tribute: The silent frame". Mint. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Snapshots of life:Prabuddha Dasgupta on women, photography and the challenges of shooting nudes". Indian Express. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  13. ^ Bhaichand Patel (2012). Bollywoods Top 20 Superstars of Indian Cinema. Penguin Books India. p. 201. ISBN 0670085723.
  14. ^ "KamaSutra's creative foreplay". Business Standard. 2 November 2003.
  15. ^ a b "Rest in peace Prabuddha Dasgupta, says fashion world". India Today. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  16. ^ Dalrymple, Prabuddha Dasgupta ; essay by William (2009). Edge of faith. London: Seagull Books. p. 140. ISBN 1906497311.
  17. ^ "Fashion photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta dead". The Times of India. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Curated by Geoff Dyer: Prabuddha Dasgupta". Paris Review. 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Mira Nair, Raghu Rai pay tribute to Prabuddha Dasgupta". CNN-IBN. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Remembering an extraordinary visionary". The Hindu. 26 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  21. ^ "2013 theme". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  22. ^ Khurana, Tushar. "Making the Frame". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  23. ^ Sita Wadhwani (21 August 2012). "Prabuddha Dasgupta: Vogue Retrospective". Vogue India. Retrieved 24 August 2012.

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