When not behind the motion picture camera, Daniel Sackheim applies his passion for visual storytelling to still photography. Best known for directing and producing some of our biggest TV shows (most recently Game of Thrones, True Detective, Ozark, and most recently Lovecraft Country), Sackheim’s still photography takes a step into the quiet, mysterious realm of street noir.
JAWS OF LIFE
Sackheim’s photography no doubt stems from his love of film noir, but it is also a modern exploration of what it means to feel alienated in a metropolis, the anonymity of being surrounded by concrete and unnamed individuals, and the ambiguity of narratives encapsulated in a single frame.
A LIGHT FROM ABOVE
Name: Daniel Sackheim
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Métier: Film Director / Photographer
Where do you live: Los Angeles
A LONG WALK TO THE ABYSS
What is your favorite part of being there: Los Angeles is a diverse multicultural metropolis that has a vibrant arts scene and is also a dynamic, delicious food city.
Sources of inspiration: A few of the photographic series that I’m currently working on embody themes of mystery and solitude. As such, I find myself returning to the works of some of my favorite artists. For example, painters like Edward Hopper, whose work offers a very distinct, voyeuristic perspective. I love his dramatic interaction of light and shadow and the emotionally isolated figures that inhabit his anonymous urban spaces. They capture a visceral portrayal of solitude and the tension of human isolation. Then I commence my hunt for the right location. Seeing spaces in three dimensions helps me to get ideas percolating. It’s not uncommon for me to return to a location numerous times, waiting for all the right elements to align.
Sources of motivation: A relentless drive to improve my art, and the need to make each new image more impactful, visceral, and emotionally resonant than the last.
What makes you happy: Spending quality time with my family and close friends. Discovering new film, photography, and art.
Favorite subject to photograph: I’m a storyteller by nature, so I’m drawn to subject matter that has a narrative quality while also being ambiguous enough to prompt a viewer’s speculation about what came just before and just after the press of the shutter.
Favorite reads: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and the John Rain series by Barry Eisler.
WHITE SAND DEATH VALLEY
Favorite tunes: “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis, “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber, and just about anything ever recorded by The Beatles.
Favorite foods: Definitely comfort food, my go-to being a grilled fontina cheese sandwich with fig jam and escarole.
Beauty tips: Seven to eight hours of beauty sleep.
Favorite ways to unwind: A good mystery novel accompanied by a short tumbler of a fine tequila.
What are you working on now: Right now I am completing a second photographic series on living in a metropolis titled Concrete Jungle. The work is a recollection of the sensations I experienced when, after a trip to the desert, I returned to Los Angeles and felt unsettled by all the concrete and asphalt in the environment.
Favorite motto / quote: “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” —Elliott Erwitt
For more go to danielsackheim.com