About a week ago, I came across the work of Dan Raven who is a photographer with a very special and idiosyncratic view of the world. There is a brooding quality about his photos that is remarkably attractive I found. By this I don’t mean that his photographs are in any sense dark or morbid, quite the contrary in fact. They are full of light and space, but still, they make one think of mortality and similar dark thoughts. Odd really how they have that effect, on me at least.
He has taken lots of photos of abandoned places, buildings, constructions, rooms and so on, which obviously do have their own sort of melancholia, but even these, which as I say, do give one intimations of mortality, manage to do that without being all dark and Gothic in the literal sense.
To give you a better idea of what I mean,here are two photos he took of abandoned places.
Whilst both of these rooms are very different, they are also very similar, both in the sense of being abandoned, but not emptied. The people who lived in and used these rooms apparently simply walked away one day, leaving all their bits and pieces behind, in a sort of mute “we were here” cry.
Very strange, and I find, very haunting as well.
They, and all of his work, have another similarity, and that is his use of light, all his photos are light and airy, and actually all seem to have roughly the same colours as well, odd.
If you go to his Flickr page (Link to this), you will see that there a very marked similarity in all his work, which is not meant in any way as a negative criticism, but simply an observation.
He also has an almost obsessional interest in the use of perspective, vanishing points and similar graphic effects. A huge part of his work consists of the most amazing studies in perspective, not through optical or digital trickery, but simply how the camera is placed.
Here are a number of examples of this aspect of his work to illustrate what I mean.
All in all, Dan Raven has created a body of intriguing, somewhat disturbing, and absolutely stunningly beautiful images. He is a photographer whose work gives me a lot of pleasure, as well as stopping me in my tracks and forcing me to reflect on my mortality (which in fairness to him, isnt actually that difficult, I am 74 after all!).