David Goldman: Photographer

by Kate Andrews | April 1, 2010

David Goldman

Joss Stone with David Goldman — Photo by Noah Stone


Originally from Toronto but now living and working in New York, David Goldman is a photographer, specializing in advertising, music and celebrity portraiture. With an extensive portfolio of A-list clients, Goldman’s work has graced the pages of magazines, CD packages and billboards internationally. He can also be seen on reality TV show, Look-A-Like, the number 1 rated show in the TV Guide Network. We are excited to announce that David is joining the Notes on Design team to give us interviews and insights from the world of Photography. We caught up with David this week to find out a little more about his career.

Notes on Design: Can you tell us a little about your career so far?

David: I’m originally from Toronto. I studied photography at Sheridan Collage in Oakville, Ontario. In the first years after school I assisted with a number of photographers in Toronto working in everything from fashion to corporate and portraiture. In 1994 I decided to drive across the States with a stop to see a friend who lived in Aspen, I had met him on my travels in Europe when I was 19. After a month or so in Aspen I continued my trip and made my way to Los Angeles. Once there I set about assisting as many photographers and learning as much as possible. I was lucky enough to work with some of the best in the field of Celebrity Portraiture, Advertising, Music and fashion, including Moshe Brakha, Annie Leibovitz, Wayne Maser and Michael Lavine. In 1997, I decided it was time to go out myself and give up assisting. I began to work with record companies shooting live and publicity. I continued to do that for a number of years. I was able to make some great friendships in the music business and shot many well-known bands (Muse, Joss Stone, REM, The New York Dolls, Coldplay, The Flaming Lips). I also shot for magazines, and television companies.

Notes on Design: What drove you to choose Photography as a career path?

David: I’m not really sure what drove me to photography. I always liked it and was impressed with my own first shots of Quebec City on a grade 5 school trip. It was during my last year of high school that I took the opportunity to do a work co-op class – Essentially to gain credits for work experience. I was lucky enough to be placed with a photographer who was very helpful and supportive of me. I then traveled Europe for a while, with stops in Israel, and decided to apply to photography schools during that time. So, I guess it was a slow gradual conversion for me, as opposed to knowing right away that Photography was what I wanted to do.

Notes on Design: What would you describe was your greatest creative break?

David: I would say my greatest creative break came when I got a call from MCA records asking me if I would like to photograph an album cover for a band called Blink 182. That record “Enema Of The State” went on to sell around 7 million copies and my work was literally seen by millions of people around the world.

Notes on Design: Can you tell us about working as a photographer for video shoots, how does this differ to other photographic roles?

David: Well that video thing is not entirely what I do. I have worked on many video shoots but by no means was it the major part of my career. But, I can tell you that shooting musicians is a different animal!

Often as a photographer hired to shoot musicians I had very little time to prepare for the shoot. I was always shooting bands who had only been in front of a camera a few times if ever so getting them comfortable was key. The label gives me a lot of freedom with my images. Basically wanting cool images to go with the vibe of the band. I would often get the pre release of the CD a week or two before the shoot. I would listen to the music and try to get a feel for what they were about. Also looking at press images. Once I had a feeling for the band I would go looking for a location that suited the vibe. My whole thing was using locations to my advantage with some cool lighting. Getting the band to do something cool was always difficult so if I could put them in an inspiring location it made it much easier.

Notes on Design: Can you tell us about Look-A-Like TV and your involvement with it?

David: Look-A-Like is the number 1 rated show in the TV guide network with literally millions of viewers. The premise is simple we take a person who resembles a celebrity to some degree and then with the help of hair, makeup and styling they are transformed into the celebrity. Then I would create a set that somehow reflected something recognizable about the individual from a movie or show or whatever was relevant. I was part of a team of hosts, we all split our duties. Tons of fun and the show runs in perpetuity.

Notes on Design: What are your working on now?

David: These days I’m working on some documentary projects. 1) A local boxing gym, 2) A Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW) outpost. 3) I’m in the early stages of doing a book on all the world champions of various racing categories.

Notes on Design: What was 2009 like for you, and what does 2010 hold?

David: 2009 was a difficult year for me like most people but I think we have seen it get as bad as it’s going to get and now things are looking up with new budgets and a sense of hope. I’m excited about what it to come.

See more of David’s work at DavidGoldmanPhoto.com
David’s blog.
David on Twitter.


Designer and writer Kate Andrews was the original editor of Notes on Design blog, founded in 2007.


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