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Meet West Hollywood / Chicago Photographer: Daniel Gootnick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Gootnick.

Daniel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started working with photography when I was in high school. I took a class taught by Ken Neely, who had been around at Agoura High School since it’s inception. He was a keen critic with a sense of humor, who encouraged his students to push themselves. He would tell me wild stories of his past and he served as an inspiration for me. I started with B&W photography- developing in a dark room- and moved into digital photography as high school progressed. At NYU film school, I continued to explore and study photography. I even took a photo course in Florence, Italy. I like portraiture and want to further explore artistic nudes.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a smooth road… for me, photography is just a means of expression, a constant passion project. If it evolves further into a full-time career, I would feel blessed.

What are your plans for the future?
In the future, I’m looking to experiment creatively, which is the best way to grow. I want to stage big conceptual scenes. I went to film school, and I think bringing a cinematic perspective to a photograph makes the piece more interesting. The photos of David LaChapelle, for instance, tell strong visual stories that reference pop culture or other films in the grandest ways. They are explosive and overtly staged. I wish to explore that.

Let’s go backward a bit – can you tell us about the most trying time in your career?
Making art that doesn’t hit is frustrating. Not having much capital to invest in your art is frustrating. It’s hard, especially as a freelance artist. The cliche is true, However, the “starving artist” is typically exaggerated by most people I think.

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
Haven’t quite made it yet, but intend to! That’s part of the fun and challenge of it all. Graduating Film School at NYU is still one of my proudest accomplishments.

Contact Info:


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