BY BOB KRASNER | “I’m not documenting a broad pastiche of America,” said photographer Daniel Efram, perhaps referencing the classic work of Robert Frank.
The images in his first monograph, “Curiosities,” (Tractor Beam Press) are a collection of intriguing, grainy black-and-white photos that invoke some classic work by his predecessors, which he readily acknowledges.
“You can’t do this without Frank, Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, William Klein,” he said. “But this book is a fantasy — a fictional 24 hours of my life.”
The book’s 60 images were shot over a four-year period. Half of them were taken in New York City — many in the East Village, where he resides. The rest were shot “somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.”
Shooting digitally with vintage, manual-focus lenses, Efram finds odd moments that are open to interpretation.
“I hope that the images invoke a larger story for the people who view them,” Efram said.
Odd moments abound in the collection. Shot consistently in low light, even the daytime images have the feeling of film noir, which was Efram’s goal. Not only are they open to interpretation by the viewer, but the artist gets something from them, as well.
“These photos talk to me — they tell me their secrets,” he said.
After taking the photos over four years, it took a year to edit the book. With the help of co-editor Nicole Blackman, 750 images were whittled down into the final product.
Shot with a sense of humor as well as purpose, Efram’s photos document moments on the periphery that one might pass by and barely register. Some scenes feel both normal and odd at the same time, invoking a desire to fill in the blanks as to what is going on in the images.
Efram, who previously worked in the music industry, has no training in photography.
“When I left the music business, I threw myself into photography,” he said. “This was my own independent MFA study — the book is my thesis.”
A multimedia book launch for Efram’s “Curiosities” was held at Howl! Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., on Wed., April 17.
For more information, visit eframphotography.com/