Shooting Beyond Food: Dan Goldberg's Unexpected Pursuit
Dan Goldberg is known for his vibrant and stunning visuals that make us want to take a bite out of our screens. He can capture the most detailed elements of the smallest morsel through still life, and showcase how food can be part of a larger narrative through lifestyle. While food is one of his life's greatest passions, expanding his craft through creatively challenging projects is up there too. And his ability to work outside of his comfort zone is what creatives keep coming back to.
Long time collaborator Creative Director Monica Klasa and fellow Creative Director Greg Oreskovich often call Dan up for projects outside of food photography. Most recently, they proposed two very different projects to Dan, and as soon as he felt that small pang of nervousness about taking them on, Dan knew it was going to be a rewarding journey.
As a reminder to never put yourself in a box, enjoy watching and learning about Dan’s work for Glenview Doors and GE Health.
"We all start from ideas that we believe in deeply in and feel strongly have the potential to be great. But it’s always that next step of finding the right creative partner who can bring the vision you have for a project to life. Dan is that partner." - Creative Director Greg Oreskovich
Your projects with Glenview Doors and GE Health are very different from your typical food photography. How did you get connected with this client?
The Creative Director Monica Klasa and I have worked together on several projects over the years. She and her partner Greg Oreskovich often call me for projects that are not in my wheelhouse, which I am so appreciative of to keep me working outside of my comfort zone. They both always have great ideas for shoots and then I do whatever it takes to actualize those ideas.
Why do you think they come back to you, versus hiring a photographer who might shoot these products more frequently?
I had to go straight to the source for this one. Monica and Greg both graciously agreed to answer this question for me.
Monica Klasa: Dan Goldberg has a lush, gorgeous visual style. He is not only a photographer, but a sculptor of light. Dan gives a sense of luxury, mood, and a human touch to not only still life but moving pictures. As a still photographer, Dan creates food imagery that makes you want to eat the page. His work is authentic, human and smart. Even in the simplicity of a cookie image, there is humanity and sense that it’s not only beautiful, but crafted with love.
The same can be said about his foray into film. Mood, shadow, sculpting with light and drawing things out of the darkness…revealing their true beauty. This is what you get when you work with Dan.
For GE Health, we wanted to pay homage to the heroes of Radiology who work quietly in the darkness, never looking for accolades, just carrying on as silent heroes of health. Dan’s work with dark and light was so perfect for this project. He drew out their beauty and humanity into the film. Behind every dark shadow was a person making things better for patients.
He and his team always bring such intense love for the craft, and always go above and beyond. Most recently, Dan shot film and print for a client who never created advertising. Being a little bit nervous, he trusted Dan with his first ever big investment into his brand. The result was stunning film. His intense dedication and professionalism resulted in a campaign that is so beautiful. It will debut this month, and we know it will be amazing.
Greg Oreskovich: We all start from ideas that we believe in deeply in and feel strongly have the potential to be great. But it’s always that next step of finding the right creative partner who can bring the vision you have for a project to life. Dan is that partner. A true collaborator who has such an incredible eye for every image detail — whether still and intimate or epic and cinematic. On top of that, he’s just a great person to work with and always willing to share his secrets, including the best fly fishing streams in Montana.
How did you approach these projects since, creatively, they are out of your wheelhouse?
They called me when I was in prepping for a different project that was set to be in Montana. When Monica explained the concept of these massive doors, I reflected on the vast landscape I had seen while working in Montana before and immediately thought it would be a great opportunity to shoot the doors there. As a bonus, we could save some money since I would already be on location so I quickly called Producer Kyle Crosby and Cinematographer Simon Reintet to start brainstorming.
Some of these shots are really complex, how did you shoot those larger landscape views?
We used a Tecno crane for the slow, steady and precise movements. The scenes that move over the top of rocks and through the trees and fire were shot on an FPV drone. Simon recommended our drone operator, Ross, who he found through Instagram. I’ve never seen someone fly a drone like him. There just happened to be a controlled burn happening near the shoot so we jumped on that opportunity and it’s one of my favorite shots. Sometimes you just get lucky.
What was a memorable moment from either of these shoots?
Speaking of luck…On the Glenview Doors project, there was a shot that we flew the drone at the door at top speed and it missed the glass by a few inches. It was the only door of that style and we had driven it to Montana all the way from Chicago. One of those moments when you stay awake at night and think about what could have happened.
What do you want people to take away about you and your work after seeing your work?
That I can shoot more than food in the studio. I love shooting food, but I always love pushing myself creatively and doing something that’s not in my wheelhouse. That nervousness is exciting and we often end up creating some amazing work.