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In a time when the world can be seen in-
stantly and all at once on the phone in your
pocket, photography waits. It waits for the
right place and the right time. The right
light. The right composition. The right
artist who can understand and capture a
scene’s various elements.
And now a camera can offer instantaneous
feedback for a photographer through an
LCD screen, displaying the need for anoth-
er shot, or not. But for Raynor, the feed-
back’s not what it’s about at all. It’s about
understanding a place for the reasons we
photograph it. And it’s about understand-
ing a photograph for the reasons we look at
it and hang it on the wall.
That understanding started with Indiana
Jones and the
National Geographic
that were lined up on shelves in the base-
ment of Czerwinski’s parent’s home outside
Tacoma, Washington. As a boy, Raynor
wanted adventure and wanted to see the
world in unseen ways, to explore and
document places he could otherwise get
to only in his imagination. “We were al-
ways at the ocean or in the mountains
or out in the wild,” he says of his child-
hood. “It was really cool.”
Raynor discovered the work of Galen
Rowell, the famed climber-turned-photog-
rapher, and Minor White, a contemporary
of Ansel Adams, whose photographs were
known for having a unique quality of light
in a mundane scene, like one famous shot
of frost on a windowpane. “Ansel Adams
things were very well. Minor
White would show what
they were,”
Raynor says. “I liked him because he took
photography a step further.”
In the 1990s, with the grunge scene rag-
ing all around him, Raynor struck out with
a band, recording three albums and play-
ing more than 150 shows up and down
the West Coast, from Seattle to L.A. As
a guitarist, he was drawn to the sound of
his instrument filtered through an old tube
amplifier, and he played his songs on ana-
log equipment. When his band recorded,
Finding the perfect imperfection
story by seth mensing | portraits by alex fenlon | photos by raynor czerwinski
Film isn’t justa part of Raynor
Czerwinski’s photography.
It’s centraltohisartistic experience.