We had the good fortune of connecting with Danovan Dean and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danovan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Initially, I got behind the lens as a means of escaping my current reality. I was injured from a car accident and out of work (I do collision repair, the irony right? ) in recovery for what seemed like forever. I needed a way to get outside of my own mind and the day to day life of being stuck at home. I have always been one to stop and take pictures with my phone so I decided to up and purchase an actual camera to create. Headed down to the closest Best Buy and the rest is history. After being freelance for a while and just shooting whatever caught my eye, I started realizing my potential was best used in Automotive and Boudoir photography. After gaining traction, and getting a good fussing out by a good friend, I actually focused on establishing my business properly and moving forward as a professional, and not just as another dude with a camera. Most recently, I’ve decided to step away from the public eye and outside distractions (social media, etc) and really lock in on my business practices and procedures to ensure I was maximizing my offerings and interactions with my clients. I decided it was best to go this route and take some of the focus away from creating so that long term, I’d actually have more time and resources to devote to the my creative process.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think in itself automotive and boudoir photography is a very eclectic offering. Like hey I can fix your car, take pictures of it when I deliver it to you OR even apply that same professionalism for a lady who needs to be reminded of just how amazing she is. As a male boudoir photographer, I run into the typical outlook or question of “how are you able to be around those beautiful women that are practically nude, I know you’ve gotta be sampling the sauce…” which my reply is always the same, I respect them. I understand that in the work I do, there are others before me and after that have sullied the title of photographer in pursuit of their own needs, and that’s not ok. It’s an art first and foremost, so the core value in your practice should be to create amazing art. In Boudoir Photography, the thing that excites me the most is when that proverbial wall comes down. There’s always a defining moment when shooting when comfort takes over and my muse can just be herself without distraction. I spend a lot of time in advance with my clients scouring their social media and getting to know who they are beyond their initial description so I know how to cultivate the experience to fit them. Establishing comfort out the gate is paramount as it is a very vulnerable situation and any discomfort will show up in the shoot. Therefore I don’t rush them or have time constraints because I know these things require patience, but the result is always worth it. As far as my brand goes. My main goal is to prioritize rebuilding the confidence of women of color, the woman that’s been forgotten about, the mom, the hard worker, the amazing woman that does everything except make the time for herself to feel as she should. That’s where my best work is done, reminding them of just who they are at ALL times, not just sometimes. A key component in that is that I ask my participants to arrive with no makeup and no hair style prior to the shoot. A lot of women don’t regularly get their hair and makeup done, so when they look back at the art we have created, they can see the woman they see every day and know that that’s them and they are able to replicate that look on their own at any given time, not just on a random occasion. Also a worthy mention, although I primarily focus on Automotive and Boudoir Photography, that’s not what I limit myself to. The camera is capable of capturing Art and Life in all aspects, which is why I named my company “Art And Life By Dean”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a complete homebody honestly, so the first stop is definitely Rose Arbor (I gave my home a name) and a lot of time will be spent there. There will absolutely be a taco run, most likely either Oaxaca in Lawrenceville or Verde down in Brookhaven. Both are extremely good choices. I’m based in Lawrenceville so I like to stay in areas that are close to home, Freeman’s Mill Park is a good choice to just go and disconnect at times. When I do want to venture out into the city, there’s always an experience to be had in Edgewood or Little Five.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a few people in my well rounded circle that stand out in terms of pushing me further and further in the direction I should be going. I want to thank Ken Williams (@Summaof96 / @yourworldmylens0_o ) for nerding out and always giving me a deeper and technical understanding of what I’m doing with my camera and more importantly being an amazing friend along the way. We always bounce ideas off each other or have the occasional and always necessary “ay bro, tighten up” talks. Dasia Quinn (@DasiaQuinnMarketing / @yoginijune) for showing me that dreaming is a very necessary skill. Kierra Brookins for making sure I get up and do what I’m supposed to do before she hits me with a cast iron skillet lol.
Facebook: Danovan Dean
I am the photographer and I have the rights and permissions for the images used in the article