Following Daniel's work on his socials, we've always been curious about his connection to Jerusalem and his photographic works outside of skateboarding. Having one of his images illustrate the editorial pages of Issue 40, was the perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper into his journey.
Born in Moscow, raised in Jerusalem, living in SF, can you give a short rundown of the journey?
Yeah all over the place hehe! My mother took me to Jerusalem when I was 3 years old and I lived there for almost 20 years. When I was 18, my father asked me if I want to move to the US where he was living. I said yes and the long journey began. It took me 3.5 years to get my green card. During this time I met my wife, who is Brazilian, and in 2009 we lived together in Brazil. After that, I came for good to the US. I lived first in South Florida and here in SF for the past 9 years.
How did you first start shooting?
I remember around 10-11 years old I had a small film camera and I played around with that. When I started to skate at the age of 14 I wanted to document all of my skater friends so I took my mother's semi-professional 35mm film camera and never stopped shooting photos.
You seem to have a strong connection with film, what makes you hold on to the analogue process?
Yes, I love shooting on film. Especially to go through all the process before you get to see the final image (Shooting, Developing and Scanning). It forces you to be a better photographer and think more about everything also because every shot is expensive especially with the medium format. Besides that, the quality you get on film is no match to digital.
What’s in your camera bag? Favorite film stocks?
For Digital I have Canon 5D mark IV and for 35mm film the Canon 1N. And the nice thing is that all my lenses can fit both. I also have a Hasselblad 501CM Medium Film Format. My favorite film stock is Kodak Portra 400.
You and Itamar, from our issue 40 editorial image, seem to go way back. How did you guys meet? Is there a story behind this image?
Yeah way back! I have known Itamar since he was a kid. He is from a small city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and he would come and spend the day at Gili's Skate Shop in Jerusalem where I worked as a manager. I left Israel when he started getting really good at skateboarding and later he came to visit me few times here in SF. We shot a lot of photos and skated all over the place and one of the spots was this crazy looking monument. The first thing that came to my mind is to shoot a photo with my Hasselblad and the classic 30mm fisheye lens. And yeah, they welded skate stops into the monument so no more skating haha...
What’s the skate scene in Israel like, what is Dolores? How often do you go back?
Hoo WoW! The scene now is so much better and bigger. When I left Israel 10 years ago we only had a nice small concrete skate park in Jerusalem. In the past years many city halls across the country started to understand how important a skate park is to the community. So they started to invest in world class skate parks. Now you can find amazing skateparks all over Israel.
Dolores started after some homies from Jerusalem came to visit me here in SF. Lior Pinto and Itamar Kessler fell in love with this amazing park in SF called Dolores Park and when they came back to Israel they started Dolores Crew. They organize lots of skate events over there and they are a huge part of the current scene.
I don't go back as much as I should. SF is really far away from Israel and many of my friends also left so many times I prefer to visit a new country.
Tell us about the Pitbull Project and other projects you’re focussing on these days.
My Pitbull project is about Pitbulls and their owners here in the SF Bay Area.
Like I said before, I lived in South Florida and these dogs are illegal in many places over there. As we all know, these dogs carry the stigmas as "Killer Dog" , "Gangster Dog" "Very Dangerous"... So when I moved to SF in the beginning of 2012 I noticed that lots of people from all backgrounds had Pitbulls and people in the SF Bay Area love them and rescue them a lot. I believe there is not such a thing as "bad dog" it's actually "Bad Owner" so with my passion for documentary I wanted to capture this special relationship.
I am always working on different projects but right now they are not quite ready.
What’s the 2021 game plan?
To step back, relax and put this freaking pandemic behind us.