Q&A with Dan Efram, photographer behind this book of 'Curiosities'
“Curiosities” is a new book of photos by local photographer Dan Efram. (His work as appeared on EVG, such as here … here … and here.) There’s a book launch tomorrow night at Howl! Happening (details below). Ahead of that, I asked Efram a few questions about his work…
How did your passion for photography come about?
Succinctly, it helped me get through the illnesses and eventual deaths of my parents.
Growing up my dad was always documenting via snapshot, so a camera was constantly nearby. Though I was interested early, I was a fan of the camera as a gadget. In fact, I still own my dad’s Praktica camera with its manual winding — it had lots of cool buttons and a really loud shutter, which I was fascinated with.
My first career was as an artist manager in the music business, and luckily was constantly around creative types and photographers specifically. Often, I feel like some of the photo smarts of my crew rubbed off on me. In essence, I’ve been searching for the perfect album cover my whole life, now I’m just actually making the pictures as well.
What does it take to catch your eye? What do you look for on the street?
I love weird, dark and emotive. Arbus, Weegee, Brassaï, Winnogrand and Frank are staples for a lot of street photographers and these are definitely some of my faves as well.
Recently, I’ve been fascinated by Richard Sandler’s amazing book “The Eyes of the City,” to which I highly recommend. His work is mind-blowingly great! But, I digress. First off and this may seem obvious, but if I’m not in the correct frame of mind, nothing happens. But I’m generally looking for something that either is completely unusual that’s happening or something completely normal that allows me to focus in on a personality.
Your book features characters from Spain, Portugal, France, Cuba and the United States. Closer to home, what kind of canvas does the East Village provide for your photography?
There are a number of photos from the East Village in my book that I love for their grittiness. It’s my home and where I feel most comfortable, so walking these streets in my neighborhood allows me to shoot without trepidation.
It’s also inspiring, because once you’ve been somewhere this long, in my case 25 years, my history is implanted in the miles I’ve walked in these neighborhoods. But comfort isn’t always the best thing for art and I very much enjoy getting out the comfort zone as often as possible. A challenge is exciting! And I’m looking to do a lot more of this in the future.
An Evening with Daniel Efram’s “Curiosities”
Wednesday, April 17, 6-8 p.m.
Howl! Happening, 6 E. First St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.
Per the invite:
Efram’s “Curiosities” are augmented by neo-noir experimental soundscapes from Jim Coleman (This Wilderness, Gain Control, Cop Shoot Cop) and Sarah Register (War Bubble, Talk Normal). Reading from her own work and a collection of other sources, Nicole Blackman (Golden Palominos, Recoil, KMFDM) and actor/screenwriter Tony Drazan (director of “Hurlyburly” and “Zebrahead”) give voice to the anonymous pedestrians, street vendors, nightcrawlers, and characters … Jubilant drum corps Nossos Tambores opens the evening.