David Goldman has had a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary-photography career, ranging from photographing rock stars and 60 Minutes correspondents to working with UN Women and women’s issues and humanitarian work – and CPC was lucky enough to catch up with him and pick his brain about some of his awesome experiences.
Where are you from and what area do you serve?
I’m from Toronto, Ontario. I live in Brooklyn New York but my work takes me all over the world.
Tell us 3 random things about yourself.
- I was a host of Celebrity Look-A-Like for one season.
- I used to teach waterskiing.
- I still hope the Leafs will win the cup.
If you could be a flavor of soda, what would it be and why?
I don’t drink soda, only seltzer – who needs the sugar?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee (but only recently and flat white’s preferably)
What’s your favorite food of all time?
Any Indian food.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Race car driver.
Tell us a little bit about your career/history.
After college in Toronto, I took a road trip with my dog and mountain bike to Los Angeles. There I assisted some of the best photographers in the world working on major ad and editorial projects. I started to shoot in the music world first shooting live shows then graduating to publicity and album packaging. After shooting the Blink 182 Enema Of the State album I started to do more elaborate shots. Eventually, as the music business started to suffer due to downloading, etc., I moved to NY and began to work more in the portrait and documentary world.
What’s one of the craziest stories of something that’s happened to you during a shoot or on the road, etc.?
I flew to Japan to shoot the band HIM with Warner Music and Alternative Press – but that’s all I remember. I did take some cool shots though!
What made you make the transition from celebrity/rock star photographer to humanitarian work?
After a very good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer I started a company called sendyourbest.com to create support pages for people going through challenging life issues. I saw how much it helped and I wondered how I could use my photography skills to help and bring awareness to issues and causes that mean something to me. From there it just started to happen. First Ethiopia and obstetric Fistula then on to the UN Trust Fund To End Violence Against Woman. Now it’s what I try to do the most of.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled to do a session/shoot?
Ethiopia was amazing because when I arrived I was not sure exactly what I was going to shoot, but by the time I left a month later I had literally shot everything that I had wanted. The project was very successful in that it raised not only money but also awareness for the cause and is still a powerful story. It also directly related to me getting the commission to work for UN Women.
What is one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on of all time?
The Blink 182 album was great because it was the first time that I was paid to shoot in a way that I had been practicing for some time. I find it very rewarding to create sets and build up a scene that I see in my head. It is also cool to have done something that so many people recognize.
What’s something you wish you knew starting out that you know now?
To be less focused on money and more focused on being creative.
What are some of the projects you’re working on now?
I am in the early stages of working on a project that will bring awareness to the issues of sexual abuse to prison inmates.
Where do you see yourself/your career in 5 years?
One thing I’ve learned is that you simply cannot predict where you will be the next day never mind five years. I hope I’m happy and being creative.
What’s one piece of advice you would give someone just starting out in the photography industry?
There are no shortcuts to getting this right. You have to do the time and learn your craft, early and fast success may give way to long periods of the opposite so be prepared for the long haul.
To see more of David’s work and keep up with what he’s doing, check out his website here.
Article by Beth Teutschmann.