TV and film director Daniel Sackheim presents still photographs from his series Unseen in a black-and-white photography exhibition at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles, on view starting Thursday, May 30, through Monday, July 15. 

In a celebration of monochrome imagery, the moody new show highlights Sackheim’s love of contemporary black-and-white and a nostalgic film noir style of photography that has a filmmaker’s quality to them, sparked by the recent success of shows like Netflix’s new hit limited series Ripley. The pictures have a timeless feel, and even though there are glimpses of contemporary architecture in the images, the series evokes a feeling of vulnerability and mystery.

Best known for his television work on HBO’s True Detective, Game of Thrones, Jack Ryan, The Americans, M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead, Sackheim’s film credits include the Sony Pictures thriller, The Glass House, which he directed, and stars Diane Lane, Stella Skarsgard and Leelee Sobieski. 

Daniel Sackheim

Ghost Town (Courtesy Daniel Sackheim)

The series began eight years ago at a noodle bar in Japan with what has become one of his most popular photos, A Salaryman’s Night Out. 

“On the spur of the moment, I took this trip to Tokyo to meet up with a couple of friends,” Sackheim, who began his career as an apprentice to legendary film editor Magaret Booth, tells L.A. Weekly.  “I was walking around all the little back alleys one night in Shinjuku City when I discovered a cluster of noodle bars and saw a man sitting there. He immediately transfixed me. I pull out my camera to get a shot, but he’s too far away. I slowly start to approach him, getting closer and closer. With each step forward, I’m becoming more and more anxious. Although he’s facing away, there are people behind the bar that are starting to glare at me. I don’t speak Japanese and am getting within critical distance of the back of this man’s head. I quickly took the shot and ran away without getting noticed. Now looking at the shot, it immediately reminds me of the noir classic, Sweet Smell of Success, with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.” 

Daniel Sackheim

Orpheum Addiction (Courtesy Daniel Sackheim)

It was during that time working with Booth that he was introduced to noir works by John Huston, like The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle. Other pieces in the Unseen series like Ghost Town, Orpheum Addiction, and Wild Night Out reflect the dark and mysterious impressions left on a young Sackheim.

“It’s about recreating this feeling of film noir and what it stands for and trying to evoke those same kinds of emotions, including discomfort. I’m close enough to this guy that I can reach out and touch his head, and consciously or subconsciously, people who view the photo can feel that uncomfortable proximity. There’s this inherent tension. It was profound for me that it was the first shot of the beginning of the series a decade ago. If you’re not feeling a little danger, you’re not getting the shot you need. People have asked me if I set it up but no, I just stumbled upon it.”   

Daniel Sackheim

Information (Courtesy Daniel Sackheim)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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