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Photographer Spotlight Daniel Balister

Photographer Spotlight with Daniel Balister

By Graham Blus 

While looking through photographers on Instagram, Daniel's profile came across our screen and we decided right there that we needed to reach out! Below we talk to Daniel about his home, photography and more!

Find Daniel on Instagram and his website 

Daniel Balister

Photo Credit: Ryan Kolczaski


Daniel, you live in Wisconsin now. How does Wisconsin shape your photography habits? Did you grow up there?

Wisconsin has greatly sculpted my photography habits. I’ve called it home my whole life and grew up in a village of about 36,000 people right outside of Milwaukee. The overall feeling of peace and gentle stillness of Wisconsin’s natural environments, specifically northern Wisconsin, inspired me to begin taking photos in the first place. I grew keen to capture these experiences in visual pieces.

Along with drawing from Wisconsin’s natural scene I’ve more recently found inspiration from Milwaukee’s incredibly diverse creative community. Meeting and working with more like-minded folks has given me a second wind creatively.

Finally, I believe it’s worth noting that I can say even though Wisconsin has extremely long and desolate winters, along with no mountains or wildly diverse landscapes, I’ve grown appreciative of it all. These aspects of the state have shaped me into a better overall photographer. I’ve discovered capturing beauty in simpler, everyday things and can say I’ve expanded my own creative frontiers because of it.

What type of photography and creative work are you doing now? Where do you hope it will take you in the next few years?

I’m currently all over the place with photography and creative work and am jazzed about future opportunities in the next few years. This summer I started doing photography work for a Milwaukee company called Direct Supply. They work to build, equip, and run senior living facilities. I’ve gotten my studio photography chops up, photographed some rad community events, industry conferences, and even done a bit of architectural stuff.

On top of this, I’ve had my hands full creating content for a group called Protect Wisconsin Waterways and for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Office of Global Experiences.

I have a few personal photography projects in the works that I’m real psyched on. More recently I’ve been considering how I can create something that’s more permanent than what that gets shared on Instagram. I was becoming weary of how fickle social media can be — photos there tend to only get scrolled past and forgotten. What I’m looking into now is creating zines or photo books, specifically one with the theme of mental health and one geared towards gender equality.

In the next few years, I want to continue as many personal creative projects as possible, projects that can inspire others and evoke emotions. Coupled with this I want to continue working with organizations whose missions I can get behind. This is how I have and will find meaningful work. I’d like to keep working on crafting my personal brand and start taking steps to foster a full-time freelance career.

Where are some of the favorite places you have or want to photograph? 

The endless lakes, glistening rivers, and evergreen forests of Northern Wisconsin will always hold a piece of my heart. That’s where I began to fall in love with the outdoors and with photography.

Costa Rica has been the most awe-inspiring place I’ve been able to photograph. The sheer diversity of the landscapes there is stunning. Oceans, beaches, mountains, jungles, rolling hills, volcanos, and more are all within a relativity small mass of land.

On January 1, 2019, I’m heading down to Chile to the Patagonia region and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more stoked on anything in my life. I’m going to have the chance to photograph one of the coolest places imaginable and document what might be some of the most rad moments of my life.

Do you have a favorite photograph that you are really proud of? Or a few if there's more than one?

This is my favorite photograph I’ve ever taken. The title is ‘Resurrection’. This is the final piece in a personal project I am working on with the model. She’s a special soul and this photo holds enormous personal meaning.

Daniel Balister Resurrection

If you had to give one piece of advice to live by what would it be? 

‘Be here now’. Simply reminding yourself to be present, mindful, and conscious of the current moment and experience is the single most important thing anyone can do. Nothing else exists!

What is your favorite piece of Elevated Oak clothing?

My favorite piece of Elevated Oak clothing is the Comfy and Warm Sweatshirt. Living through twenty Wisconsin winters, I’ll never take being cozy for granted. This sweatshirt is perfect for that and it has a sleek design. The deep blue reminds me of the waters of Lake Michigan and the sky as nighttime approaches.

Elevated Oak Comfy Sweatshirt

Check out our Comfy Sweatshirt in our store!