Photo by Kieran Scott Dana Gluckstein (www.danagluckstein.com) has photographed iconic figures including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu, and Muhammad Ali, as well as award-winning advertising campaigns for clients such as Apple and Toyota. Her portraits are held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Gluckstein is a three-time winner of the International Photography Awards. Gluckstein’s DIGNITY: Tribes in Transition exhibition presented at the U.N. in Geneva and has been touring European and U.S. museums since 2011. She addressed the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on how art can impact the state of the world. Her book, DIGNITY: In Honor of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, helped create a tipping point for President Obama to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010 in association with Amnesty International for their 50th anniversary. She is currently a spokesperson in support of the Sexual Assault Protocols to ensure Native American and Alaskan Native women have the right to freedom from rape and violence. She advocates for equal health care and justice after sexual assaults – an Amnesty International USA advocacy campaign. Gluckstein graduated from Stanford University, where she studied psychology, painting, and photography, and realized the power of images to shape consciousness. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and has two children.
LACP Interviews Dana Gluckstein
Los Angeles Center of Photography asks Dana Gluckstein ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography
LACP: What kind of photographer are you?
Dana Gluckstein: Portrait Photographer – creating art to impact the state of the world. .
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
DG: 40 years.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
DG: Stanford University during my senior year, for two years as an assistant in the Bay Area, CA, followed by real life – on the job training!
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
DG: My senior year at Stanford University.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
DG: No. But there were many times when I questioned the path. Being a freelance artist is challenging and there can be times of insecurity both emotionally and financially. It takes perseverance and the dedication to a dream guided by a passion for the art and communicating a message.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
DG: Yes. I gave up a potentially more lucrative and steady career as a psychologist.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
DG: It’s opened a profound world as an international social justice activist.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
DG: Portraiture for social change.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
DG: I love inspiring others to know they can make a difference. Each of us holds a piece of the puzzle to help repair the world – the Jewish mystical concept put into concrete action called Tikkun Olam.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
DG: Find a commercial way that helps support your inner voice and deeper work.