Photo Alliance Lecture Series
Introduction from Thom Sempere
“Daniel Postaer was born in Chicago and raised in Southern California.
He grew up within a supportive but competitive family: there were brothers involved, a mother born in China, a father in the States who rose to the top of the advertising game.
Anyone that has come to know Daniel knows also that he is a photographer with direction. Camera work was not Postaer’s first career, but it is the one that engenders persistence and passion.
The trajectory of early influence and familiar guidance lead Postaer, like his father, first into international marketing and entertainment — a quick rise up that ladder brought him to China as a significant player with a fine future — yet — allow me to speculate…
Corporate success is not the end-all. Million dollar sports endorsements may bring material goods, but what of the rest of it? So as a rising star he jumped ship, pulled the little known escape cord and abruptly ditched a sure course for art.
The turnaround is remarkable – not for what was given up, but for what Postaer has accomplished in a few short years of intense and dedicated application of effort in his new found arena of picture making.
Just this past spring Daniel received his MFA and hanging on the walls at Ft. Mason were a handful of 40” x 60” exquisitely printed images that turned heads and made even the seasoned professionals take note.
Hanging there was not radically new art, but one that embraced traditions while contemporizing the process of their making.
Postaer has leveraged the energy of the building then disassembling of his early career with the unexpected benefits and unresolved dynamism of growing up in a mixed cultural heritage and parries it into a quest of sorts to unfold work that explores — in his words — the ways in which humanity reconciles and resists modernity — across global booms, busts and the transitional spaces in between – add to that a personal, youthful restlessness to this equation and we also see how (again in his words) he addresses questions of capital, race/ethnicity, and historical belonging.
As Postaer walks the streets of San Francisco, or Santa Monica, Beijing or Ladakh he looks for a story — perhaps his story in the faces and situations presented.
He uses the documentary strength of the medium to record the scene and the characters present.
With high resolution and crisp depth of field, his tools give him the ability to be spontaneous and acquire images quickly if necessary, and also to render these selections in a precise and detailed manner that has its rewards when viewed on the wall.
Postaer wields his technical control carefully and adds to the mix his unique perspective.
On the surface the pictures may be 80% information but the remaining 20% is pure wonder, achieved only by doing.
And picking up on the sports metaphor — any pro basketball player might consistently sink 3 pointers, but only a select few can, during competition, apparently defy gravity, upset the odds, even inspire artistry on the court.
Ambitious dedication to craft certainly helps, but it is the individualization of effort that makes for special moments. And for Postaer it seems to happen each time he walks back out on the street, takes on himself and whether photographing his Motherland, Boomtown, the Silk Road, The Desert, Wilshire Boulevard or The Los Angeles River, the everyday becomes heightened, simply waiting to reveal some-kind-of-truth, perhaps actual, perhaps that delightful something else.”