The Fine Art Photography of Elizabeth Raab Print
Written by Cara Mae McGuire   

er 1"She is in a sense, an extension of the bike herself.”

Elizabeth Raab is a photographic artist specializing in automotive and creative portraiture imagery. Her images often contain visually strong, emotionally sensual collaboration that cross the boundary between her subjects and objects. Uniquely vivid color palettes and a detached sense of forlorn beauty and intrigued silence permeate most of Elizabeth’s scenes, as realism and objectivity are commonly set aside. This concept can be seen in her recent Desmo Photography Collection in conjunction with Ducati motorcycles.

The press release relating to this collection characterizes her artistic intent towards body and motorcycle, stating: “The collection presents twelve unique photographs in which the artist has 'approached and juxtaposed the abstract qualities of the organic and mechanical female forms, highlighting both the complexity in design and emotion of the iconic Italian motorcycles. They explore the many relationships between the designed and the natural. The lines of the mechanical body reflecting the lines of the organic form it was designed after.' The unique color palette of the motorcycle extends from the framework to the hair of the model, the eyes reflect the power of the engine hidden underneath a smooth exterior. The model is in a an extension of the bike herself.” Elizabeth’s other works have been showcased in exhibitions and many areas of publication in the US and Italy. Features include a range from the Seattle Art Museum, published works of David Lynch, to Joseph Kosuth’s Perloined. Additionally, her work from the Desmo collection is also included as label art for a wine & coffee company called Corsa Caffe based in Portland, Oregon.

HH digs deep with this incredible photography artisan, Elizabeth Raab:


HH: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become the artist you are?enr_848

ER:  I discovered my love of photography at the age of 13. It was love at first sight. As soon as I picked up my dad's old Olympus I knew photography and me were meant to be! I spent all of high school in the darkroom. From the very beginning I've gravitated towards portraiture. Finding the beauty in everyone in every situation. It wasn't long before I started creating my own scenes and scenarios for the subjects I chose. I was always very involved in the darkroom and post production side. So when I moved to digital it was almost like a new world of possibilities opened to me. Thus started my career as not just a photographer, but a digital artist. In 1999, after graduating from high school, I moved to Rome, Italy where I lived for two years with an American cousin and her family, working/experimenting in photography, studying language, culture and adulthood in general. It was an incredibly fun two years spent soaking up as much art and inspiration as possible. In 2001 I returned to the North West to attend Seattle Central's Creative Academy where I earned a degree in Commercial Photography. I lived in Seattle for about seven years until I moved across country to New York City, where I'd done my school internships. I've been here about two years now and love every minute! 

enr_mh900HH: What piqued your interest in motorcycles and the motorcycling community?

ER:  I met my first Ducati, and therefore my love for motorcycles and my visual connection to them, through a project of my fantastic photographer friend, Chuck Taylor, who studied in the same photographic program as myself in Seattle. He had arranged a shoot for a school project down at Ducati Seattle and had asked me to model. I walked through the store instantly mesmerized. Was put into full leathers and onto a yellow 748 and I was hooked. The closest word to describe that feeling was pure love. After that I spent as much time as possible down there. Once you're hooked you're hooked and you find yourself gravitating towards like minded individuals. Seattle has an amazing riding community that I feel lucky to have been a part of for so long. Not only are major brands represented, but Seattle also has the luck of many small custom brands as well. Which to me personally is the most inspiring form of mechanical art. The love of motorcycles isn't just about riding in my case, but about the feeling, the art, the emotional drive. This is what drew me to it, and although I'm not riding much these days, keeps me grounded to it. I recently sold my 1989 NT650 Honda Hawk GT, Georgette after many long months of deliberating due to an unrelated prolonged back injury. A sad moment, but I'm looking forward to my next fling!

HH:  What attracts and inspires you about motorcycles as an artform?enr_multi1200

ER:  As I mentioned above, for me they are about the emotional drive, the feelings they evoke, the beautiful lines and textures and design that reflect that. The functionality and the beauty. The risk and therefore the sex appeal held in that perfect design. When I photograph a motorcycle I treat it as a portrait. A visual representation of the relationship between myself and that subject. When riding its an intimacy like to dancing, dual harmonies.

HH: In your artwork, what would you like the observer to feel/take from your imagery?

ER:  With the medium of photography, I choose to create a world in images, singling out and highlighting the aspects that I find fascinating. I try to create darkly vivid landscapes of varying color palettes and subject matter in waiting, elevating my subjects toward a level of a clean, raw, powerful, calm, sensuality, whether it be portraiture of subject or object. As an artist these works contain a history of emotional and creative content; a detached portrayal of personal sensuality and movement, while remaining a reserved and solitary piece or body of work.


For more info and viewing of Elizabeth Raab’s artwork go to