MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
DD: I was shooting about 2-3 yrs before I wanted to start shooting people and then another 2-3 yrs before I started with fashion, one of my goals was to be more social with people so I used my camera to do that. A camera became my way of connecting with humans, it was my safe zone, I could hit up a stranger and say, “Hey! Can I take some pictures of you?” and it would create a
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
DD: I went to school for business because I don’t believe in going to school for something art-related. I’m happy that I went to business school but I never started out by shooting anything that wouldn’t talk back. I was really connected to wanting to connect with humans and working in the fashion industry can be very challenging, that’s why I chose it. You fail a million times and just have to keep going. Now I’m able to do it full time. I start a project and I don’t do anything until I finish it. When I first entered photography I entered with the same mindset “nothing will stop me.”
bridge for social interaction. I used my camera as a way of interacting with the world.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
DD: The attention I get from creating art, when people see my photos and go wow!
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
DD: If you were gonna ask me in my 20’s it would be a family life, but now in my 30’s, it’s just to be the best photographer. My long term goal is to retire, some people are just working to work, but I want to work so that I can enjoy life. I don’t like the loop that people get stuck in, buying a nice car then going to the job to pay for the car. My retired life would consist of hanging out with my kids, bugging my wife and woodworking. I like to make things that are around the house, because why spend money on something for the house when you can spend thousands on stuff to build it?
MS: What is something you wish you knew in the beginning?
DD: I should’ve become a dentist like my brothers, living as a freelancer is not easy. It’s a 24/7 hustle, you can’t just sit back, you have to continuously make connections. If you’re an artist and want to make it full time, sometimes you have to bend over backwards to better the business, it's not just about how talented you are, a big part of it is communication and being a people person. If I wasn’t doing this I’d be an architect or a surgeon, school just doesn't work for me though, I don’t like it.
MS: Best advice I was given?
DD: My teacher had quotes he would say all the time like “self control is the spice of life.” Your entire life is formed by self control, being able to just control how you react, how you judge. Sometimes I feel like I avoid issues in life, but I don’t get upset, I never yell, I never get angry, I look at my surroundings, family and friends and that keeps me calm. Making the right decisions is a major part of the job and in life. Don’t wait on things, respond to people in a timely fashion, don’t underestimate being ahead of the curve, people want everything right away so you have to try and best fit that. In reference to time management and prioritizing, I have zero self control when I take on something, like a new project, I don’t let anything stop, it can be good and bad because I neglect other things around me. I look up to people like Elon Musk because when he has a goal, there’s no giving up until he achieves it.
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
DD: Attention, it really is what fuels me, I don’t like saying it but it's true, it's what keeps me going.
MS: How do you approach a work-life balance?
DD: My work has taken over my life since COVID-19. It can be very hard to turn down clients, and I’m more busy now because people are putting a lot more things online. I take a lot of clients and I don’t really do this for the money. I don’t need a lot but to be honest, I feel bad working with clients. I try to set time aside every morning to be with my kids before school and I want to be there when they go to bed. I keep weekends free just for the family.
MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
DD: The people that you idolize the most are just as normal as you are. Sometimes you put them on a pedestal, you think they have a dream life and you get jealous of it but you have to remember that they’re human too and they started in the same place, they have human problems and human issues. I’ve worked with famous and successful people and when I met these people they were super normal. I’ve worked with models who have other jobs and ones who are lawyers etc., but they all have confidence which sets them apart.
MS: Imposter syndrome, how do you deal with the concept of comparing?
DD: I don’t really compare. I learned growing up to just be happy with what I have and I think that if people become more grateful for what they have, I think that’s the secret. Be satisfied, don’t focus on what you don’t have and if you’re going through a hard time, then go after something you like. There’s always something you like and enjoy that you can go after….that's not drugs and drinking!