About the Artist

page bar

"I RL. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1949, but had to move frequently during my early years, this being easier on my parents than explaining me to the neighbors."

That's RL's usual introduction to himself. It's humorous and it keeps the world at a bit of distance, never letting them see who really lives just behind his sometimes funny, sometimes curmudgeonly exterior.

RL spent the first several years of his childhood moving from place to place, living life as the third child of a Navy Chief Petty Officer. In 1955, his family (mother, two brothers, a sister and the Chief) settled in Saratoga, CA. However, it was already too late; a normal life was not to be his.

RL sits inside his tent on one of his trips to the Barrens.
RL, "in tent" during a trip to the Barrens.

His father, Fred, died when RL was only ten and his beloved older brother, Fred Jr., died in the tragic crash of a single engine plane fifteen years later. In 1991, his younger brother, Dan, was involved in an auto accident when a driver ran a red light and broadsided his car on the passenger side. Dan would have survived intact - except that he was not wearing his seat belt. As it is, Dan is in a convalescent home for the rest of his life with severe brain damage. So please people, wear your seat belt!

Despite RL's slight build (135 lbs), he played varsity football in high school and won "All League" as a defensive tackle. RL was both the class clown and the junior class president by the time he graduated in 1969. In 1970, he moved to Spokane to attend Whitworth College, where he pursued a degree at a slow walk. He graduated in 1990 and still lives in Spokane today.

A migraine headache sufferer since early childhood, he has lived a life that has (until recently) had only fleeting moments that were free of both physical and emotional pain. Not incidentally, his headaches have virtually disappeared due to an inexpensive prescription from his doctor. His nose has been broken seven times, the last time, in a quirk of fate, straightening it. As the result of a tremendous skiing accident in 1970, his neck was dislocated to the extent that nearly twenty years of chiropractic adjustments are only now beginning to have lasting effect.

RL has worked as a news carrier, a carny roustabout, photo technician, professional photo printer and has managed several incarnations of a darkroom rental service. His varied background has led him into many unusual circumstances and relationships, two of which have become lifetime obsessions: amateur astronomy and two journeys through the Barrens, the extreme Canadian Arctic wilderness in 1972 and 1973.

It is from those two life altering trips that RL has derived much of the imagery that is so much in demand on the set of Babylon 5. Each of the two trips was about six weeks in length (the extent of the Arctic summer). Every day of both journeys was a do or die adventure (He did have several life-threatening experiences). Once the plane that brought him had departed, he was cut off from outside communication with a thousand miles of wilderness between him and his take out point. The only thing that could be done was to keep moving in order to stay on schedule. To do otherwise would mean being caught in freezing weather, blinding snow storms and a sure death from exposure.

RL, nude in the corner of a red room.
A self portrait of the artist.

He returned from each adventure with altered sensibilities and timeless images, images of an alien landscape that now represent the home worlds of the various crew members aboard "the last best hope for mankind," Babylon 5.

His other obsession, and perhaps his first love, is his status as an amateur astronomer. It was only natural that he would couple his cameras to his telescope. In 1987, he traveled to Maui in order to photograph Haley's Comet. The resulting photograph, taken from the top of Mt. Haleakela, won him the national astronomical photo of the year award.

On July llth, 1991, RL was in La Paz, Mexico to photograph the total eclipse of the century. The resulting photograph, "Inner Corona," hangs over the bed of Commander Ivanova and is part of the Babylon 5 Collection.

RL's images arrived on Babylon 5 through the age old custom of a friend helping a friend. Don Hamilton (another Spokane photographer) learned of a desire to have other worldly images for the Babylon set. He recommended RL to the production designer, John Iacovelli. Initially, RL provided some prints gratis for the first season (RL received a B5 crew cap with the blue suede bill for his contribution). For the second season and beyond, a dozen of his images were chosen from his portfolio and purchased for the set.

It is fitting that his two great loves have resulted in his unique images being chosen to grace the crew's living quarters on Babylon 5.

RL, is a big fan of Babylon 5.
RL's Command Center

page bar

page bar

Send E-mail to RL

All images Copyrighted © 1997 by RL Dietz
All Babylon 5 images Copyrighted © 1995 -1997 by PTN Consortium
Updated April, 2004

This site created by: WebMaker