5 Questions with Rags #5 - Daniel Rotman

I met photographer and generally aware dude Daniel Rotman through a mutual friend when we all went to see the mighty Krafty Kuts. We didn't get to talk much, because obviously we were busy dancing. But through the power of Facebook, post-Krafty, we managed to keep some sort of tenuous semblance of a friendship, exchanging ideas and whatnot. Daniel is one of the most forward-thinking cats I know and from what I've seen on his rapidly-expanding portfolio, a fine photographer. (Hopefully we get an online showcase soon so everyone can see.) I was stoked that he was willing to take from his busy schedule of trying to save the planet, starting with Vancouver, with his start-up non-profit West End Cycle. Check out and follow the TWITTER.


1. What’s the first album you bought with your own money and how old were you?

It’s either the Offspring, I was 10 or 11. It was, I think, the x-ray of a chest on it…Smash. It was that on tape. It was either that or Dance Mix ’93, also on tape.

Dance Mix 93?! What tracks do you remember from fucking Dance Mix 93?

I remember it all. I used to listen to that tape over and over. I think the highlight that jumps to mind is the KLF’s “3 A.M. Eternal.” I still listened to that tape in my mom’s mini-van well-through high school. It definitely helped me appreciate techno in the way that I do.

2. The world is about to be destroyed but you get escape. You get to take one piece of culture upon escape – one thing from anywhere – what are you going to grab?

Can I take the internet?

Wow, hmmm…I suppose you could. That’s a really interesting answer. You found a loophole.

I mean, for obvious reasons, right. That’s it – I’d take the internet in its last known, complete state. That’s a lot of stuff in one. I was thinking that or a Frisbee, but if I can take the internet, that’s what I’m taking. Sweet.

Daniel Rotman: Photographer, philosopher, environmentalist and sexy beast.

Daniel Rotman: Photographer, philosopher, environmentalist and sexy beast.

3. Immortality, do you have any thoughts about it. Think you’d like it?

I don’t think I’d really like it. At least not as a human. If I go a little bit zen here, not that I necessarily believe in reincarnation but I do believe we’re all energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, so in a sense, as energy we are immortal. But if I consider immortality in my human body, I don’t think I’d really want that. Otherwise we are pretty much immortal.

Do you think you’d like your intact consciousness to be immortal and passed into something/one else?

Yeah, I think that’d be alright if I came back as a different animal or something.

4. So, sight vs. sound, if you had to lose one, which one would you give up?

Pretty sure I’d give up sound. I’m a photographer and I process things really visually. I think that I spend a lot of time in nature and in nature things are kind of silent. The beauty is much more visual in those serene moments, standing over a landscape or hiking in the forest, there isn’t a lot of noise. There is noise and it’s important, but as far as those things go I much more appreciate the sight of it than the sound of it. My main draw is still going for hikes in the forest and if I lost sight I wouldn’t be able to do that.

5. Is there a movie you can point to that’s helped shaped your life philosophy? But you kind of feel like a guy that doesn’t maybe watch many movies, so I’ll give you wormhole and you can say book if you want.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ve watched many movies that have affected me in any kind of profound way, so I’ll go with the book. The book in that case would be No Logo by Naomi Klein. That was the first book I ever read that ever got me to challenge the status quo of things around me. Ever since then my rebelliousness and awareness of our society has just gotten greater. After that it was a bunch of philosophy books and my brain got all messed up.

6. So, the sixth question, from Jim Infantino of Jim’s Big Ego out of Boston, is “If you had the power to give real, lasting happiness to one person anywhere in the world, who would you give it to?”

That’s so easy. Come on, man. My mother!

That was my first reaction and a lot of peoples’ first reaction. But do you think your mom has a problem giving herself happiness? Do you think she’s the one who needs it most?

I don’t know. I don’t think I’d actually be able to answer that question. In so much as her happiness derives from my happiness, I’d want her to have independence from that. I think if the question were differently asked it could be like “Outside of your family…” Your family is always an easy answer.

There’s an easy way out of everything right?

Well, at least in this particular case. Mom wins.