I like to make images because they transform their subjects into something new when they are successful at transcending documentation and become art. That transformation happens at the moment of viewing the image and is the magic of successful photography. The magic may be as simple as the play of the eyes as they follow dot, line and shape around the geography of the image and find a resting place from which the viewer can absorb the whole scene. The magic may be in emotions, memories, pleasures, or hopes the image evokes. The portrait of an old person may stimulate fears of aging or memories of a loved grandparent. A scene of natural beauty may remind the viewer they want a vacation. An image of a beautiful person may stimulate longing.
My images connect me to their subjects. I think of landscapes as portraits of the earth which express my love of nature. When I photograph children I am saying I find them expressive, beautiful and lovable. When I photograph strangers I create a connection between me and other human beings. When I capture hands doing the many different things we do with our hands, I celebrate these amazing tools at the ends of our arms. I think of my photographs as visual odes, songs, lyrical poems.
About Daniel Raskin
I am a self-taught photographer. My mother inspired interest in art and my father and uncle encouraged me to take up photography. My father took photographs. My uncle had a camera shop and was also a fence. He got us cameras, microscopes, and telescopes “at discount.” He brought me a twin lens reflex, a Rolliflex knock-off, and a Weston light meter. A family friend introduced me to developing and printing.
I saw photographs in Life and Look magazines, National Geographic and The Family of Man. This was the Golden Age of Magnum Photography and Leica 35mm cameras. Think Stanley Kubrick, Walker Evans, Mary Ellen Mark, Eve Arnold, Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, Danny Lyon, Alfred Eisenstaedt and many, many more. At this time photography was not yet accepted as fine art and was struggling for that consideration. The Museum of Modern Art in New York held its first exhibit of photographs in 1955. It was an exciting time to learn photography.
I took photos on family vacations: landscapes, street scenes and animals. I did microphotography with an adaptor to attach my camera to a microscope. When my father got a new camera, I got his 35mm Exacta. This was long before digital, even before Through-The-Lens metering and autofocus.
I became my family’s photographer after I had kids. I photographed them every few weeks to document their development. I did landscapes documenting vacations.
After a while, some of my photographs looked as good to me as those in magazines. They were technically good and did more than document. They seemed artistic. Allan Nomura, my printer and mentor at Mission Camera, told me to work on one subject to develop further. I was a preschool teacher and had rare, easy and unlimited access to children. I had wanted to be a street photographer. With a family and a job, I had little time to roam the streets. I made the preschool my street; it’s people and their emotional expression my subject. The National Association for the Education of Young Children used my photographs in publications. I published 40 images in Children at a School, some of which are included here.
Now retired, I continue to photograph people, their hands, earth, religious and spiritual themes, architecture, and dream images. I strive for quality good enough to print 20” X 30.” A smaller print can diminish a significant, well captured subject. If paintings can be large, so too can photographs.