I laughed so hard I could hardly hold my camera steady as I watched these two struggle to set up an ironing board. Dan’s aware of how funny this is…grandpa’s just pissed.
My father, Donald Krasno (back row, middle), a lifelong amateur photographer, entered the US Army Air Force in 1943, after receiving a degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He married my mother, Miriam, in June 1943 and they went directly to New Haven, CT where he began training in aerial reconnaissance photography and film laboratory procedures at Yale University. He graduated from the Yale training school in April 1944 and was sent immediately to serve in Italy.
Stowed away in his duffel bag was his 1937 Rolleicord camera. He took over 500 photos in Italy between April 1944 and September 1945. When he ran out of commercial film, he constructed a gizmo to cut eight-inch wide discarded film ends from the aerial reconnaissance cameras to the size needed for the “Rollie.” And to punch sprockets in the edges. The gizmo was made of cardboard, toothpicks, rubber bands, and razor blades. True story—I saw the gizmo when I was a child.
Corporal Donald Krasno, age 23. (1921-2005)
Upon returning to Milwaukee after the war, Donald continued to enjoy photography. He built a darkroom in our basement in the 1950s, upgraded to Nikon cameras, and bought a Beseler Enlarger. In the 1960s, he taught himself to develop and print color film.
In 2004, when he was 82 years old, I insisted he try digital photography. I gave him a Kodak Easyshare digital camera. After some initial resistance, he got the hang of it and took some very cool pix.
With a grandfather who was a photographer and a grandmother who was a needlepoint artist, Dan was exposed to art from a very young age. He also liked to take things apart to see how they worked—digital clocks, cameras, Walkman radios—often having a few parts left over after he put them back together.
In high school, Dan concentrated on art and photography classes. In summers, he worked as a helper to a plumber/home remodeler who taught him many valuable skills. As an adult, he continued to enjoy doing occasional weekend remodeling, tiling, and plumbing projects for friends and family.
Dan on vacation at the Dead Sea in Israel in 2014. (1975-2016)
Dan received a degree in art and computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1997 to 2014, he owned Project Creative and specialized in web design, network engineering, and business consulting. After college, he no longer did traditional painting and drawing, but transitioned to computer graphic art—Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3D Studio Max.
He was a serious computer gamer—Sunday nights with The Brothers—and loved to design and build beautiful computers. To Dan, his computers were works of art.
At a technical conference with boss, Martin Cohen (left), and Broom Street team members in May 2016.
In 2014, Dan closed Project Creative and became a Senior Software Architect at Broom Street Software. He designed and coded enterprise level Apple Apps in Swift.
Dan was an avid reader, especially science fiction—an interest he shared with his grandfather and father. Like both of them, he had a great sense of humor and was a charming conversationalist; a renaissance man with broad interests and deep knowledge in technology, science, politics, and culture.
From Dan to Kennan Salinero, founder of ReImagine Science, “Mostly happy with a slice of fear. That’s the sweet spot.”
From my father to me, “All is love.”
In 1997, Dan and I had our first web design collaboration. (In the next 20 years, hundreds more would follow.) He needed a web site. I thought of the name Project Creative. Dan bought the domain and created a web site for his business. When he went to work for Broom Street Software, he deactivated the site. After “resting” for two years, it has come alive again…re-purposed as an art portfolio.
Special thanks to Saverio d’Incalci of San Severo, Italy, who spent many hours identifying the places my father photographed and continues to work with me on the research. If I succeed in creating a picture book of the photos, it will be entirely due to Saverio’s never ceasing encouragement and nudging. He and his brother, along with the town historian, Professor Michele Monaco, and the people of San Severo, are waiting for me to get it together and produce the book. The project is at the top of my goal list for 2017.
By Sue Schoenfeld