about Raymond Elstad
Born on the very day that Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys recorded "Brain Cloudy Blues." Photographer Raymond Ellstad came into this world on the morning of September 5 in the year of your lord 1946 in the city of New York, borough of Richmond or Staten Island if you will. He soon departed the Big Apple to be raised in the environs of the City of the Angels, Los Angeles, California (is your cursor moving toward the "back" button yet?) Growing up absurd, living life without a goal as a surf rat, he soon enough found himself touring southeast Asia at the behest of your government and returning to the fair shores of southern California, just over a year later, glad to be alive and shocked that everyone didn't love him and blamed him personally for the folly of the ruling class in the 60's. The poor sensitive soul didn't despair, no, instead he turned to the bad habits he had picked up while on the government payroll in distant lands and to a life of education, not that he hadn't already received one and soon enough found himself to have turned into, not a degenerate hippie, no, but a respectable freeeeeak, as he had an income and was able to pay his own way in the world. Leaving the bastions of higher learning to follow his heart he first found himself in 1972 Santa Cruz, California for 2 fun filled years living with 6 women and then to Portland, Oregon, to do sound for a country rock band. It was here that he discovered ART and that he could, ART that is. He attended the Museum Art School, now known as The Pacific Northwest College of Art, a more prestigious name he supposes but he still likes the old name better, and the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts. This was in 1984, that he started arting, not when he moved to the pacific northwest, where life is mighty fine if a bit damp, that was in 1974. He has been making photographs almost his entire life being influenced in a major way by his father, a Fred Archer School of Photography graduate in 1952. In 1987, after living out in the woods on somekinda nature trip, eating wild mushrooms, producing an heir, failing at marriage, and realizing that yes, here it was going to continue to rain 8 months of the year every year, he departed for sunnier climes, he beat feet, he ankled on down, he piled every thing he owned in a trailer, hitched it to his truck and drove actually, to San Diego, California, that fair city on the lower left coast of America, where the sun shines, the ocean is warm enough to enter and where the living is easy. Here he bought another surf board and a new wet suit, here he finally found the woman of his dreams, the welcome home he was looking for, the dry air and warmth. Here he set up his studio in Cardiff by the Sea, CA, a little unsalted peanut of a town on the outskirts of a greater metropolitan area, where the woman of his dreams hates it when he says that because she was born there and finds it disrespectful of their petite bedroom community. Here he has continued to ART, continued to indulge in Photography these many long years. Yes, here he continued to ART! more than a man's name. He has shown his work here, there and here again, in this land. Why just last week he was heard to say, "Hey... Hey buddy..... Wanna look at some smashing pictures?" And you know, someone actually did look at what he was showing, liked it and wanted to take it home. He was gratified and felt that he had received validation. Raymond is currently an adjunct professor of photography at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA where he teaches the mysteries of black and white photography and chases those elusive pixels in the digital image. Oh, did I mention that he also continues to ART!