Raiko

Photo by Raiko Hartman

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I learned yesterday that my once-neighbor and good friend, Raiko Hartman, recently passed away. It’s been a long time since the Hartman family and I were in touch, but they’re fond memories and I’ve always missed them. Especially Raiko, who took the time to be a mentor to me back when I used all my courage to start my own business.

He was a professional photographer and in those days specialized in photos of Harley Davidson Motorcycles, pictures that often included proud owners. His studio was the go-to-place for folks having customized gorgeous Harleys. Many of Raiko’s photos were published in motorcycle magazines. He was well-known enough that a book of his motorcycle images was published.

When first I knew Raiko, he insisted that nothing–certainly not digital photography–could match the results of good old film. And he was an expert, sharing a huge studio in Hollywood. There he photographed me, to help create a folder about my new corporate training business. He spoke lots about his attentiveness to customer service, about product accuracy and production speed, reminding me to pay as much attention to this element as to my ability to describe technical skills.

Somewhere along the way, Raiko decided that, although famous in certain niches, he needed to expand his skills and returned to college for a Masters in fine arts. The schooling forced him to play with digital photography and this became a sea change for him. The world and possibilities of digital excited Raiko, extending his imagination and encouraging a whole new avenue for his art.

In those days, nearly 20 years ago, I felt fortunate to know Raiko and to learn some of his artistic vision. His explanations expanded my sense of photography as an art form and I never forgot.

Raiko had a fascinating personal story. An immigrant child, he was adopted by an American family and grew up in the Los Angeles area. He always was attracted to form and light, and even once (in a very funny story) blew an opportunity to meet his hero, the great Federico Fellini. A devoted family man, with a wonderful wife and two children, Raiko absolutely blew away images of “the lost, wild, artist”–staying true to those he loved and to his sense of how to compose visual excitement.

My friend, Raiko, who was the nicest guy, passed away last Sunday of pancreatic cancer. As he wanted, quickly.

Dear Friends: Whenever I aim a camera, Raiko’s views help to guide mine. Diana

2 thoughts on “Raiko

  1. I heard just today that Raiko passed away. I am so sad to hear this news. I finished another photography course with him just this past May, having taken classes from Raiko since 2012. He was an amazing photographer and a calm, witty, delightful teacher. I will greatly miss Raiko.

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