Adam Golfer ’07 (Photography B.F.A.) has built a career on many things: hard work, perseverance, talent — and even a few leaps of faith.
It began just before he graduated from MICA. After showing his portfolio and part of his senior thesis project to a contact in the magazine world, Golfer landed his first freelance portrait assignment in New York. From there, he met with more editors, all of whom told him the same thing. “I was 22 and still a student. They were all telling me I had potential, but to get work, it was good to be in New York.”
Golfer took a leap of faith and moved. He was hired for portraiture at first and then landed a big job with Condé Nast’s W magazine. “They let me do my thing. What I mean by that is I don’t use big lights or production. I hang out with someone for an hour and then try to take interesting pictures,” Golfer explained. “I just go in with my camera and make it work out.”
Golfer began getting calls from other magazines interested in his signature style of natural portraiture. Over the past two years, he has had the opportunity to travel the world and take the portraits of celebrities he considers heroes, including John Waters, the quirky Baltimore-based filmmaker, and author.
While growing his freelance career, Golfer took another leap of faith, traveling to Germany to work on a self-funded project surrounding his grandparents, who are Holocaust survivors.
I came back to the states with this massive personal project that I was just doing for myself, and it opened a ton of doors for me professionally,” Golfer said. “It generated solo shows in DC and New York. I made that leap, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
When Golfer came back to the states, he showed the work and landed more assignments, including with GQ magazine in Germany to cover the Palestinian Spring and nonviolent protests.
Golfer exhibits his photograph as well, with shows at Hudson Street Gallery at Hunter College, Brooklyn, Curb Gallery in New York, Camera Club of New York, and Arts Center Kuldīga in Latvia. He is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation Grant, Snider Prize in Photography from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, was a critic's choice in Artforum in 2015, and was named one of PDN30's "30 Emerging Photographers Under 30" in 2013.