Dan Goldberg on Collaboration, Community and Photographing 100 Pies
100 Pies. The approximate amount of pies Dan Goldberg successfully shot and unsuccessfully avoided eating while on set for his project with Justice of the Pies author, Maya-Camille Broussard. Stylistically, Dan and Maya-Camille aligned and philosophically they share many of the same views, including a commitment to fight food insecurity in Chicago, so the partnership was one built out of kismet.
A collaborative project through and through, Dan worked with designer Marysara Quinn, food stylist Maria Del Mar, prop stylist Andrea Kuhn, and his producer Andrew Kusznir to bring a timeless look to Maya-Camille’s Salted Carmel Peach Pie or an image rooted in color theory for her Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Cherry Tart. If those don’t have your mouth watering, perhaps the 83 other sweet and savory pies captured delectably by Dan will do the trick. Read on to learn more about how this project came together.
How did your partnership with Maya-Camille start?
I was introduced to Maya-Camille Broussard through the designer MarySarah Quinn from Clarkson Potter Publishing. We immediately hit it off and stylistically were completely aligned. We also shared a passion for mutual aid and how to help our communities with food insecurities in Chicago. Maya-Camille continues to fill the Prairie Ave. Love Fridge (learn more about that here) with tons of delicious pies.
What was a challenge you experienced on this shoot?
There were several challenges as with most shoots, however that’s part of the fun. We love to figure out creative solutions to get over any hurdles. The biggest challenge was how to shoot all of these pies and make them look different, beautiful & fresh. I focused a lot on the distinctive colors and individual flavors of each pie to ensure each had their own personality that jumps off the page. Another challenge was baking 100 pies as efficiently as possible. Our food styling team stayed up late baking and came in early to fill the studio full of pies.
Which was your favorite pie to shoot?
One of my favorite shots is the group of half eaten pies at the end of the book. We all sat down and ate a bunch of pie and then recomposed the image. It looks like a big, messy, party!
How does your vision change knowing the images will be in a physical book rather than presented digitally?
I try to take a timeless approach to my images, so my vision doesn’t really change. I’m not trendy and I don’t want my images to feel trendy so I work hard at trying to evolve my photography style without following trends. I want the audience to look back at this book in 20 years and have it still feel current and fresh.
What is a memorable moment from this project?
This shoot was like a marathon with so many shots to do in a short amount of time. Seeing all the prints up on my cork board and cheers-ing a Gin and Tonic with the crew at the end was a happy moment. It was a huge accomplishment and I couldn’t have done it without such a stellar crew!