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Digging Through the Greats: Dan Folger

Each week, Green Label invites a visionary photographer, filmmaker, designer or artist to dig through their folios and tell the story of their favorite works. This is: Dan Folger.

I’m Dan Folger, I’m 21, and I’m from Pittsburgh.

My main client is Wiz Khalifa. We’re both from Pittsburgh, so when I was in high school I got a photo pass to one of his shows. I got to go backstage and I ended up getting people’s numbers, like Chevy Woods, and some other friends of Wiz. They were all saying how my pictures were dope, and they would invite me to take photos for them. Wiz had another photo guy so I would just come through to his shows to hang out and stuff. I wasn’t getting paid, and I did that for a while. Last summer, though, on tour, I went to shoot this one show in Scranton, and I got a super dope picture of Wiz and his dog in the dressing room. Wiz was obsessed with it. After the concert, when I woke up the next day, my phone was blowing up with Instagram notifications. He ended up posting my picture and tagging me in it. Then I checked my email and he had emailed me asking me to come on tour. He was like, “Yo come to Virginia tomorrow.” So I went to Virginia, and ever since I’ve been with him as his full-time photographer.

Wiz and I have a very creative relationship. I always learn from him whenever I’m with him. He’s a very well-rounded guy. It’s great because we’re such good friends, but when it comes time for business, it’s business time. I love working with him because he respects my opinion but isn’t afraid to tell me he doesn’t like my idea on something, and I can do the same with him. We trust each other’s creative visions. He’s not afraid to do different things and doesn’t want what’s normal, which is also why we work great together.

If you have a dream, you gotta do it. There will be a lot of risks you’ll have to take, but you have to take risks to get to the next level. I was graduating, I had the vision of what I wanted to do, and things were slowly coming, but my parents were always pushing me to go to school. I was like, “I can’t.” A lot of people didn’t believe in what I was doing, but I kept working at it. Don’t give up, take risks, and network. Never be shy. Talk to people. You never know when you’ll build a valuable bridge with somebody.

People use my logo on their photos all the time. I don’t even know how they do it, but take my logo and like, edit it onto their own pictures. I put my logo on everything. Sometimes I make it pretty big unintentionally, then I’ll see it somewhere and realize it takes up half the picture. But that’s what people know me by. I’ll be out and someone will be like, “You’re Dan Folger! I see your logo on everything.” It’s a very big part of my branding. So when people take it and put it on their pictures, it’s really funny to me.

All my comments are like, “What do you shoot with?” And my trademark is that I’ll say that I shoot pictures with a flip phone. I won’t even have to say something back at this point. Another person will respond to that comment and say, “Dude, he takes pictures with a flip phone.”

Equipment doesn’t mean anything. I can go back to a basic camera and shoot just as well as the people who have really good equipment. It’s about being creative and having a good vision. It’s about doing something different.

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