I haven’t known Danielle forever, but it feels like it—we are kindred spirits. Her creative, gentle and compassionate soul shines through all facets of her life. Her living space is a space for gathering, and we gather there often! For food, drink, fellowship, laughter...there is a familiar glow where one immediately feels comfortable and loved. These times inspire me and fill my cup, and I could not resist including images of Danielle's house. Her photography inspires me as well. Her captured images are just one of the many tangible aspects of her creative fire. Danielle’s art photography is ethereal, yet saturated. It is light, yet shadowed and dense. The images feel fresh but have a richness and history. Her portraiture is crisp and clear. She captures her subject’s authenticity in the moment be it joy, vulnerability, love, grace…
Your photographs are dense and rich. There is such a feeling of history in them, kind of like looking at old photographs in an antique store…there are stories in your photos...What are some of the ideas and inspirations behind your work?
Photography is all about light. How light falls on your subject, how light affects a mood, and how your camera literally records light. It is my goal with each photograph to not only capture the light in the external environment, but to also illuminate and expose the light within my subject. If you can figure out how to capture the “internal” light, the photograph becomes timeless. The human soul is dense and rich. When you can capture the essence of a person, then you’ve been able to create something that transcends space and time. A moment only lasts a moment, but a photograph has the potential to capture that moment forever. I believe that’s true for the spirit as well. For me, photography is a spiritual act, it a place where I can connect with my higher power and feel life’s goodness that surrounds me even when I’m not paying attention.
Each person has a story. Each person knows pain, joy, and hopefully love. I want the viewer to be able to resonate with the story of my subject - to connect with it, and to understand that we’re really not all that much different from one another.
Every year when my mom and I would visit with my grandparents, the four of us would sift through boxes of old family photographs. I would sit for hours watching them as they reminisced about their lives. In these moments I felt so connected to them. Those images and their stories united me to something greater than myself. I felt a part of a lineage, a legacy that neither time nor death could separate me from. I try to capture those connections in my photography.
I also find inspiration in other photographers’ work. A few of my current favorites are: Brooke Shaden, Lindsay Adler, and Jessica Drossin. I definitely recommend checking them out!
You are embarking on a new and exciting season. Share a little bit about your life journey and what brought you to where you are now. what are some of the dots that connect.
I have spent a considerable amount of my life caring for others. I lost my mother and my grandparents to illness and old age a few years ago. Their passing was very difficult for me. It impressed upon me just how fragile life is and how quickly it passes. Their passing has taught me that I need to go after my dream and to not let fear hold me back. About a year after my mom passed, my husband and I decided to take the leap and move to Nashville. We quit our jobs, left our family and friends, and headed for the unknown. People thought that we were crazy! We moved here without knowing anyone, no work prospects, and into a house that was located in a pretty sketchy part of town. Yikes!! My husband and I knew that we wanted to pursue creative lifestyles, and we knew that Nashville was the place to be. It took a while to put roots in, but life eventually blossomed for us. Before moving to Nashville I hadn’t really connected with photography since my early college years, almost 10 years ago. My husband and Dad chipped in and bought me my first DSLR camera last Christmas- and, I was totally hooked! Life is so good when you’re tapping into the flow of your authentic self.
The energy is good here in Nashville and I’ve met so many people that have encouraged me to be myself and do what I love! That’s not to say I don’t get totally nervous before EVERY photo shoot, but I’m not letting fear and anxiety stop me the way I once did. I guess that’s how I know my mom and grandparents are still with me. I can feel their love guiding me to keep me moving forward.
You've shared a lot already about your journey, which included taking a huge leap of faith and just going for it--anything else to add?...
Man! These questions are hard for me to answer! I guess that I’m just so use to being on the other end of the question. I’ve been a mental health therapist for several years, so I’m generally the one asking a person to go within and do some self-reflection. A leap of faith, well, as I talked about earlier, moving to Nashville was a big leap of faith for me. Currently, I’m taking a leap by reaching out to other photographers in the Nashville area and asking if I can observe and/or assist them on shoots. I would say this is a leap for me, because I’m not totally comfortable asking for help. So that is currently my leap of faith, reaching out, asking for help, and allowing myself the space to be vulnerable.
What is your favorite space/environment like?
I love chilled out, eclectic, bohemian spaces with lots of natural light, lots of pillows, books, art, baskets and plants all around. I also love and feel so inspired by the woods. I LOVE nature!
What books are currently on your nightstand?
"The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, "Dessert Sojourn: A Woman’s Forty Days and Nights Alone" by Debi Holmes-Binney, the LCSW Study Guide (I’m currently studying to be a licensed clinical social worker), and "The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs" by Elizabeth Messina.
Your go to musical selection?
Joni Mitchell, Xavior Rudd, John Prine, Matisyahu, Gillian Welch, Burning Spear, Ray LaMontagne, Krishna Das, The Wood Brothers, Shovel and Rope, J. Shields… Holy moly, there are so many “go tos”!!
I use to be really into Deep House (Mark Farnin, Dub Tribe) and Hip Hop (The Living Legends, Atmosphere, Zion I, Dilated Peoples, Tribe Called Quest). I don’t listen to those genres as much anymore, but I still feel like that vibe is a part of me.
Any beauty secrets? You are always so radiant and glowing!!!!!
Oil of Olay face lotion.
Do you have any mottos or mantras?
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius
“It is what it is.”
Mermaid or Forest Fairy?
Kilim or Toile?
Spoons and bowls or forks and plates?
Fingers and lips! Is that cheesy?! Yum, cheese!