Member Profile: Dan Ichimoto Spotlights Local Businesses with “Corner Stories”

Image captured by JW Photography

Dan Ichimoto is a two-time Grammy-Nominated designer, who has been a BCL coworking member since 2015. He is a graphic designer who creates visually stunning and appealing projects and is now translating this skill into a love of photography. As a local Brooklynite, Dan has often cast his creative eye on his surrounding community and businesses.

It’s his interest in these businesses that brings us his latest project-in-progress, Corner Stories. BCL’s Neil Carlson interviewed Dan to give us more insight into his work, which he hopes to publish as a photography book one day.

How did you come up with the idea for the “Corner Stories” project?

I’ve always loved photography and have been documenting various events, people, places that I’ve traveled to, etc., and improved my skills and equipment throughout the years. I also loved watching people work, like making coffee or bartenders making drinks. I’ve been interested in what the workflows are at an open kitchen restaurant; I’ve had a vague idea of taking pictures of these people during this time.

One day I asked Jen Ziegler, owner of Cafe Martin, if I could photograph her at work.

The outcome was great and her feedback helped make this idea of photo-documenting business owners solid. She mentioned that the pictures looked amazing and she was happy, that the value of these photos is infinite and will be truly valuable when she steps out from [the] front line one day. That’s when I decided to make this project as a series and possibly my lifetime project.

How did you pick the business owners? When you approached them, what was their reaction?

I’m their customer! That’s how I picked them. And thanks to you, Neil, for connecting me with some of the owners. Their reactions are great and they are super cooperative, allotting their precious time for me. One of them even stopped me in the middle my explanation about this personal project and said, “You are looking at a perfect subject.”

Why is this project important to you? What do you hope to accomplish with the project?

I simply like to create things and I’m happy when I’m doing so. And this project has the potential to make other people happy as well, which makes me happier.

I would love to publish photobook(s) by New York Times Publishing. That will put a huge spotlight on the business owners.

What was the most enjoyable part of the project? The hardest?

The most enjoyable thing is to see the owner’s reactions after they review the photos. Luckily their reactions have been great so far.

I want to blow them away with my photographs and I’m doing my best to make it happen.

What do you want viewers/readers to take away from these images?

My main agenda of this project is to put the spotlight on the hard-working local business owners so that more people in the neighborhood recognize who they are and what they do. Just like how fascinated I was watching them work, I’m hoping the viewers will be interested and visit these gems.

Dan shared with his top five images from his Corner Stories series:

1: As I mentioned Jen is the first subject of this project and made this project happen (Cafe Martin).

2: The dynamic open space and her personality perfectly matched (Dirty Precious).

3: Simple yet powerful composition and I think I was able to capture the natural moment of what Neil does (BCL).

4: Years of his dedication and craftsmanship are all condensed in this photograph (Stained Glass Store).

5: His laid back personally reflected in this picture and he is surrounded by what he loves the most: music (5th Avenue Records).

Have you frequented any of the businesses that Dan has mentioned in the interview? Share with us in the comments!