Dan Goldberg Takes Us Back in Time With Vintage Cocktails
Foods have the unique ability to connect you to a time and place; a single bite can bring up memories from years ago. It is the same with cocktails. Knowing that, Dan Goldberg uses his photography as an opportunity to share a peek into what he sees in the world. His work is an accumulation of experiences and people he has met along the way.
Collaborating once again with prop stylist Andrea Kuhn and food stylist Maria Del Mar, his latest series, Vintage Cocktails, uses dramatic lighting, pops of color, and details in every corner of each shot.
When creating a new series, Dan pushes himself creatively. Each detail is meticulously planned out, setting each prop with intention. That hard work pays off through the fun and creative freedom of a personal project. Read on to learn more about Dan’s series, Vintage Cocktails, and be transported to a time before zoom meetings, when cocktail hour lasted all day.
"Some say 'the devil is in the details', meaning solutions break down when you examine them closely enough and some say 'God is in the details', meaning opportunities for discovery and creativity come from digging into the details. In this project, if you look closely, I hope you will find both." -Dan Goldberg
What was a memorable moment from this shoot?
So many come to mind, but the most memorable was navigating the pink smoke bomb, as part of the Tiki shot. We’re pretty sure these props are used for gender reveal parties, and not meant to be on a closed set because as soon as we lit it, it started shooting out fire and lots of pink smoke. I had to think fast so I filled the glass with smoke and ran outside and threw the prop in the snow to put it out, then ran back into the studio to take some shots. Surprisingly it worked, but not without smoking out the entire studio, leaving the essence of sulfur in the air. Luckily it was the last shot of the day.
What did you learn on this shoot?
I learn something new on every shoot. I find that shooting personal work is always about exploration; testing out new lighting, new ideas and truly collaborating together. Everyone brings their piece of the puzzle to create something so cool. I used a small broncolor Picololites with a fresnel spot to create a natural vignette-like effect on the background. I don't often use this light and it was a fun lesson in experimentation. So not only did I learn that a Sazerac is my new favorite cocktail, but I also learned a new lighting technique.
What do you want people to take away about you and your work after seeing this?
I want people to explore these images, like a seek and find book. There are so many details in each shot, that I want people to really take the time to find them all. What I love most about this series is how much we obsessed over details. We spent hours trying to get the lips to reflect perfectly in the mirror. It would have been easy to do this in post, but I always try to do as much as humanly possible in camera. Some say “the devil is in the details,” meaning solutions break down when you examine them closely enough and some say “God is in the details,” meaning opportunities for discovery and creativity come from digging into the details.In this project, if you look closely, I hope you will find both.
Follow Dan on Instagram for more unpretentious narratives with food and gathering at the center.