An Interview With Arkadi Raskin
“Every photograph is personal, whether taken for the sake of one`s art or as a commercial assignment. What gives an image it`s visual value is the ability to see things through, differently. Curiosity and professional knowledge to take it further.”
“What interested me most was the attempt to characterize occurrences and sights, identified with modern life as a system of signs. To see if it is possible to create a given, random moment, which will represent an occurrence, a concept. To isolate a fragment of time from its immediate context, to wrap it in a vacuum of some sort and in doing so, to transfer a fleeting moment, an in between expression, to something representative, independent. Much like the type of expression, chosen to represent some sort of figure made eternal as a statue of wax. The details of the moment are not important, nor is the presence of the sculpture’s creator: it is a meeting between a representative object and what is known, represented in the shape of the observer.”
Hello Arkadi, Thank you for the Interview, Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in 1978, in St. Petersburg, Russia. When I was twelve my family immigrated to Israel. I began to photograph like most of the Israelis when I was abroad, in India. After coming back, I was excited about it and decided I was going to give it a chance. I took a basic course in photography and that was it, I was totally hooked. Later on came more serious studies, four years and a first degree in photography at Wizo Academy of Design in Haifa. After completing, together with a friend from college, I have opened a studio for industrial and advertising photography, “Studio Raskin Perelman” and we are working together since.
What type of photography do you do most? And what do you enjoy most and why?
Most of my work is commercial. The range of expertise is focused on industry, product and architectural photography. I love it all but if I had to choose one, I would stay with architecture. Working outside, feeling the changing light of the day passing above and using it to emphasize particular aspects of an architectural project, giving it a new point of view for the viewer to enjoy, that what gives me the most pleasure.
Did you go to school to study photography?
I started with a basic course in “Camera Obscura” in Tel Aviv. In 2003 there was still good old fashioned chemical printing. At that time I worked in gardening and came to develop and to print after work, usually at 21.00. I remember falling asleep while standing in front of the enlarger in the color printing room, where there was total darkness. I switched to black and white photography because there was some red light there and I could benefit more from being there by staying awake.
After realizing the potential of photography and the fit of curiosity I had to satisfy, I studied in Beit Berl college of arts and education in Kfar Saba but, after one year moved to photography department of Wizo college of Design in Haifa because they were more professional and thorough regarding photography.
How long have you been a photographer?
I started late, at the age of 22. Never took interest in photography before, I didn`t even like being photographed by most of people. Only when I started studying photography I realized those were amateur photographers that always wanted me to smile in front of some important building or statue. The only picture of me that I like and keep since my early childhood took a professional with a view camera. He was an alcoholic and made the picture so he could buy more liquor. He froze to death three years later.
Describe your photographic style? How did you develop your style?
I think about photography as a very trustworthy medium. People still believe photographs and it allows me to use that in order to create a fantasy, staged and often digitally manipulated. Advertising photographers have been always playing with this fact, creating spectacular visuals that have captured the eye. It`s a challenge to create an image, stronger than the product it sells. The product will sometimes disappear but a great picture will live forever.
Styles and approaches have to be dynamic, influenced by the every day’s rhythm and it`s visual aspects. It`s an ongoing evolution of one`s perceptions. Different combinations of bounced light from surfaces that captures the always hungry eye of a photographer are sometimes enough to plant a new idea in his mind. You apply it on the next project and if it looks good, you move on and search for something new. That`s how you evolve.
What is the most challenging part about being a photographer for you?
Marketing and business management. They don`t teach you that at school. If you want to be a photographer, you have to learn it all by yourself, the hard way.
Describe a typical day in a day of shooting.
Early wake up, loading the equipment in the car, driving to the client`s site. After a short morning brief, setting up the studio and the light. First tests and then it begins. After 9 hours of shooting, driving back, unloading the equipment, transferring the raw material and briefly watching some of it before calling it a day.