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The Emmy Award-winning Hollywood director and producer plunges us into his photographic explorations through stories hidden behind the opaque shadows of the cradle of film noir.

He is a big name behind the scenes of the Hollywood industry. Daniel Sackheim’s career in film and television spans more than thirty years. From directing to producing, he has been responsible for episodes of some of the biggest series, including New York Police Blues, X-Files, True Detective, Ozark, Game of Thrones, The Americans, The Leftovers, Lovecraft Country, Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead. And the list goes on. He was even music supervisor on Miami Vice. In 2020, this Emmy Award winner cofounded Bedrock Entertainment, which develops and produces content for streaming platforms and cable channels. Here, however, he is moving into a different territory, that of photography, where he puts his passion for visual storytelling to good use. Movement gives way to the fixity of the image. His “Unseen” series is a superb tribute to film noir, with its interplay of light and shadow. “As a child, I suffered from a paralysing fear of the dark. I was so terrified of imaginary creatures hiding under the bed or lurking in the dark recesses of my wardrobe that I often fell asleep with a torch clutched tightly in my hand. The irony here is not lost on me (…)”. As a good street photographer, Daniel Sackheim captures contemporary life in the heart of this nocturnal, disturbing and claustrophobic urban jungle.


The aesthetics of the genre are at their most intense, drawing on expressionism and neo-realism. Solitary, ghostly characters collide with oversized architecture, wandering through labyrinthine, almost empty alleyways, bathed in contrasting light and cast shadows. The world of Orson Welles and Billy Wilder overwhelms us, as does that of Edward Hopper, a photographer he reveres. Daniel Sackheim creates an astonishing space-time, exploring these “isolated fragments of subjects once present but now gone”. The sharp contrast between light and darkness creates an atmosphere of latent tension and paranoia, where everything can change at any second, at any corner. Flickering street lamps, enigmatic off-camera lighting, neon lights that seem to come to life… This play of lighting is skilfully measured, playing with distorted urban views. “My obsessive curiosity is rooted in the need to uncover secrets that remain hidden, even in the most forbidding corners of the city,” he insists, before concluding, “delving into the past, looking at the faces of ghosts long forgotten.” Daniel Sackheim’s photographic explorations will continue in 2024 at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles, Iconic Images in London and the SE Center for Photography in South Carolina. He is also preparing a dedicated book, developing his “Vacancy” series and launching Projecting L.A., a vast public event featuring photography and outdoor projections.

Nathalie Dassa

Crédits photo © Daniel Sackheim – Courtesy of the Artist

United States – Los Angeles