Dr. Dain L. Tasker | American, 1872 - 1964
Dain Tasker was born in 1872 in Beloit, Wisconsin. He was the chief radiologist at Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles when radiology was in its beginning stages. In the 1920’s Tasker became involved with pictorial photography, creating photographs based on genres such as landscape and portraiture. In the 1930’s, inspired by an x-ray photograph made by a fellow physician he began applying his knowledge of the x-ray image process to recording flowers.
"Flowers are the expression of the love life of plants," Tasker once wrote. Sublime in their minimalist sensibility, Tasker’s images of flowers are fragile, ghost-like representations of this frequently photographed subject. The inherent transparency of Tasker's chosen medium also reveals the strength of the plant's structure, lending the image a sort of eroticism and dynamic modernism.
His work was championed by Will Connell, a prominent Los Angeles photographer and educator who promoted his work and urged him to exhibit his prints in the salons of the Camera Pictorialists of Los Angeles and at the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco. Tasker’s x-ray photographs were also published in U.S. Camera and Popular Photography in that era, giving his work a larger audience.
Revered for their beauty and distinct process, Tasker’s images are vintage representations of their subject, yet they fit readily within the contemporary current of photographic practice.