Whitehot Magazine

CURIOSITIES by Daniel Efram

 Photographer Dan Efram

From the press release:

DANIEL EFRAM has photographed intriguing characters in Spain, Portugal, France, Cuba and the US for years,but he continues to find his greatest subjects on the streets of his hometown of New York City. “Its sidewalks are my catwalks,” he says, confirming the cities are as much a subject as the people he photographs.Street photographers like Weegee, Diane Arbus and Sylvia Plachy, are considered not just masters of the candid portrait, but as hunters and collectors of the odd, the unusual, the darkly fascinating.

Efram’s work manages to move beyond the expected ‘trap and capture’ of his contemporaries, inviting his subjects to inhabit their space with an often unexpected edge. But Efram is motivated by empathy as much as energy. “Photography is not about embarrassing anyone,” he says fondly. “If anything, it’s about letting people… emerge or evolve into places and moments they’ve earned, that they’re entitled to and that I’m lucky enough to witness and memorialize.”

Efram’s style comes from a life of intense art immersion. Born to an activist social worker mother and a professional classical violist father in Poughkeepsie NY, Efram’s images draw from his love of film noir with a verité focus. “The dirty, grainy look of film, using vintage lenses, all those imperfections make me happy,” he admits. “Most contemporary photography just feels too clean and precise. I’m more interested in the distance between the subject and observer -- and seeing what I can get away with.”

But Efram is much more than just a photographer. He spent 25 years working in the music industry, producing/promoting/developing artists, programming music television concerts, supervising films, over the course of nearly 1,000 albums by artists including The Apples In Stereo, Space Needle, and The Klezmatics, whose Wonder Wheel won the Grammy award for Best Contemporary World Music album in 2008.

After working with hundreds of artists on their work, Efram knew it was time to focus on his own. His photography has been featured in “Public Hangings,” a series five solo shows in Brooklyn and Warwick, NY, and his multimedia talents were featured in his show “Nouveau Noir,” at Howl Gallery NYC, which included a series of short film projections during an performance by Ron Ward & The Dream Lovers. Jon Spencer (of The Blues Explosion) was in the audience that night, and after the show they collaborated on an album together which is due to be released in 2019.

Notable subjects include Kembra Pfahler, Cornel West, collagist Michael Anderson, author John Wray, Jim Sclavunos (of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds), gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, musician Andrew Bird, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and David Byrne. His photographs have been featured on album covers by Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and in UK art / fashion magazines Trebuchet and Foxes. 

In 2016, Efram curated Modular Synthesis, an extensive exhibit of beloved indie rock painter Steve Keene’s work at Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery in Los Angeles, and a book of the exhibit is expected in 2019. 

He also produced Call It Democracy (2006), a full-length documentary on the integrity of voting, and as a photojournalist, has covered rallies, protests, marches and demonstrations around New York State for the last two-and-a-half years with activist group New York Indivisible, The Creative Resistance and many others.

Efram's plans for the Curiosities book launch on Wednesday, April 17th (Howl Happening, 6E 1st Street NYC 10003; FREE) are ambitious. 

Beginning with Nossos Tambores, a Brazilian drum corp that takes awaiting guests from the sidewalk into the gallery, Efram's debut event spins out sense by sense, into an immersive plunge into the city noir. Featuring experimental soundscapes and urban verite from Cop Shoot Cop's Jim Coleman, and War Bubble's Sarah Register, with four screens of video projections by Daniel Kramer and new work from poet/performance artist NICOLE BLACKMAN and actor/director Tony Drazan (Hurly Burly), it's a three ring circus...performed by privte investigators, paid informants, and your ex with a grudge. 

"Curating a performance with artists I know and trust like this plays right into my work in the performing arts all of my life. It's like inviting people to a party...the secret is in the mix." WM


Whitehot writes about the best art in the world - founded by artist Noah Becker in 2005. 


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