JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
DANIEL CRONIN: As a kid I always wanted to be a fighter pilot. I was an impressionable young person during the first gulf war and saw Top Gun around that time and that was it. Flying an f-16 or an a-10 seemed like it would be a lot of fun. As I got older I realized you actually have to be incredibly smart and competent to operate a multi-million dollar machine… that and at some point the patriotic veil gets lifted and I was smacked in the head with reality of war and being a cog in that machine sets in and thats just not me.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
DC: Listening to a lot of DEVO and anticipating the new St Vincent record. My friends in Paintallica are a real trip and always make me laugh and think. photographically Kyle Johnson always seems to have some new project up his sleeve that is mind blowing. There is a softness and sincerity to the way he shoots. I also like that Kyle doesn’t over-light things, that seems to be the flavor of the month in photography these days…sorry, call me old-fashioned but I can not stand that blown out on camera flash trend. There is a pretty rad exhibit on Samurai at the Portland Art Museum that was really beautiful to walk through. Also, for some reason I find Jerry Seinfelds online show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee oddly inspiring….in the sense that is a simple idea executed well. I always love that in art, movies, music, photography, or television.
JC: What are you up to right now?
DC: Trying to recover from the flu while listening to YES and answering emails. You know, normal photo stuff…
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
DC: Yeah, I think I have been really lucky with having really talented friends who not only inspire you but also are there to give you advice or critiques along the way. Miles Mattison, Lincoln Barbour, Jake Stangel, Kyle Johnson, Michael Friberg and Neil DaCosta are a few. There is no ‘how to manual’ for being a professional photographer and it seems like everyones experience is completely different and you need to talk with eachother to find the common ground. Its good to talk with your friends and see how they approach different aspects of this job from marketing to self-editing to gear questions and even travel tips.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
DC: I am currently in Portland, Oregon. I’ve been here for nearly five and a half years and it has been really great for me. People here are really friendly, creative, and don’t really have their guard up. Its really easy to collaborate with folks in this town and that is really great when you are starting out. The cheap cost of living has given me free time and financial resources to pursue and make a lot of personal work. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to make my Gathering of The Juggalos series if I did not live in Portland. However personal work doesn’t always pay the bills. I am trying to expand and get more editorial work as well but there just isn’t a lot of editorial work in Portland which kind of bums me out. Portland is a product/lifestyle town and so currently I am trying to develop and show that kind of portfolio as well to try and generate some more bread and butter work in town which will then hopefully open up more opportunities to do bigger things with my personal projects.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
DC: Man, its rough out there. Keep your head up. Always be producing work and showing it to people. The friends you make in not just the photography department but the greater art/design departments will most likely be your first contacts out in the professional world. Make friends and stay friends because one or two of them will land jobs where they will need a photographer. I don’t mean this is a ‘use your friends’ sort of way but a lot of this industry is making personal connections and developing relationships with folks. The sooner you do that and the longer you have those relationships the easier it is for them to hire you.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
DC: I miss working with my hands and making things that are more tangible. I used to work construction in high school/college. My older brother is a contractor. Maybe just go swing a hammer for him.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
DC: Totally, I don’t think I could do this job if I didn’t have other creative and kind folks around me to bounce ideas off of or to inspire me.