We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Bergeron and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, how do you think about risk?
There is no progress, without risk. We exist, as far as I know, for a relatively microscopic amount of time. We should make the most of it, before we return to whatever we were before we were born. I was raised in deep south poverty, and abuse. Found an “out”, via the Navy… but I didn’t like my job. After 6 years, my time was up. Took a chance on a career in Photography. It has been an amazing ride, and it wouldn’t have happened had I stayed in the comfort of a steady paycheck from Uncle Sam. I also race vintage motorcycles, sidecars, and have done a bit of canyoneering. My life has been anything but mundane, and much of that comes from a taking a chance. I have learned that the hardest part of doing awesome things is allowing yourself to put that foot in the door. What is frightening at first, soon becomes second nature.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I left the Navy with 3 months savings, a 35mm camera, 2 lenses, a Vivitar flash, and a couple of books on photography. I cut my teeth in labs. Ran E-6, did TONS of color printing. Went on to assist some of the best in the business. It was far from easy, and I’ve had my moments of bailing out… but you just have to push through it. I did catch the proverbial “break”, in the niche of Celebrity/Entertainment Portraiture. That has opened up a lot of doors, since. As eccentric as my personal life may be, work is a different matter. I plan for EVERYTHING, and work VERY fast. I go into a shoot, knowing what I want to see, and light accordingly. I don’t beat up my subjects with endless “let’s make sure we got that”, and respect their time. That has put me in the good graces of publicists and talent. I’m quite proud of my work, and thankful for the life I lead.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My studio, for starters, I have a space at the Brewery Arts Colony. I moved to L.A. in ’06. Lived/worked there for about 10 years. I signed the lease on a new studio, in April. That community has very much been a part of my L.A. trajectory. Nearby, there are a couple of favorite spots to eat: El Huarachito, for breakfast, and the Thai food stand inside of LAX-C. I’m not much for bars these days… smaller events/parties are more our thing. If a friend is visiting from overseas, we’ll take them to shoot guns. When other chapters of my motorcycle club are in town, we’ll take a ride out up the Crest Hwy. I try to show those new to the West Coast something they might not get in their home town. Usually a drive through the canyons, so they can dip their toes in the ocean.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Every person who has knowingly, or unknowingly, offered something that I may learn from…. and every person who gave me a chance to do something. Above all: My wife, for these happiest years of my life.