Acclaimed photographer Ranjith Kally dies after illustrious career


Acclaimed photographer Ranjith Kally dies after illustrious career

Yasantha Naidoo | 2017-06-06 15:37:51.0

Ranjith Kally was making shoes when he bought his first camera, for sixpence. File photo.

Image by: MARK WING. Circa January 2013. © Sunday Times

Acclaimed veteran photographer Ranjith Kally has died at the age of 92.

Kally‚ who was born in 1925 and only became a photographer after 15 years spent working in a shoe factory‚ died in Gauteng on Tuesday.

His photographs claimed space in galleries around the world‚ including New York’s Guggenheim‚ and have appeared on the front pages of numerous publications including Drum‚ Post‚ Sunday Times and Sunday Tribune. His coffee-table book‚ Memory Against Forgetting was published in 2014.

The avid golfer famously photographed SA’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner‚ Chief Albert Luthuli‚ after the latter heard news of his win. Kally said that Luthuli had always inspired him and that he was a true leader.

World-acclaimed photographer David Goldblatt‚ described his work as “extraordinary”‚ saying: “I found his work very warm‚ a breath of fresh air that‚ over a long period‚ has retained particular senses and values.”

Former journalist and communications director Yogin Devan said: “I am not mourning today – but celebrating – the life and times of a long-time dear friend and photo-journalist‚ Ranjith Kally‚ who has passed away after a short illness.

“When he called me from a nursing home in Johannesburg a fortnight ago where he was recuperating from a fall‚ we promised to meet for lunch shortly thereafter. It was not to be.” Devan brought Kally back from retirement in the 1990s to work as a freelance photographer on the Sunday Tribune.

“We had some great trips on story assignments to the then Transkei and Ciskei and deep northern Natal. I vividly remember when we went to look up the ‘Big Baby’ Sithandiwe Simane in Transkei‚ we diverted from the N2 and sat on a cliff somewhere along the Wild Coast overlooking the sea‚ having shrimps and calabash curry in a roti which his wife had deliciously prepared. “Ranjith lived a full life…a self-made photographer‚ he moved among princes and paupers. And politicians – when they used to have dignity and respect. He was the ideal door-opener or ice-breaker for tough stories. He always knew somebody who would be connected to the hostile family that was to be interviewed. He was a smart dresser‚ and drove his car and played golf weekly until not so long ago.”

“Rest in peace Kallicharan – you have played your round well. It is time to hang up that trusted Nikon and enjoy everlasting peace. “

He is survived by his two daughters‚ Pavitra Pillay and Jyoti Michael and their families.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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