“Be an actor… you’ve never been happier or healthier than when your being creative. Plus you’re good at it.” My dad spoke those words to me in June of 2011. At the time I had been in the Navy for 9 years looking to do another 21. I had just admitted myself to a rehabilitation facility for alcohol dependence and post-traumatic stress disorder. There was no desire in me to become an actor. I just wanted to better myself in order to serve the Marines and Sailors that I was stationed with. My dad’s words stuck with me though. When I was released from rehab, I began pursuing artistic passions once more as a form of therapy. I had no idea that these pursuits would lead to a secondary career that allowed me to embrace my brokenness while creating works of art and serving others.
I remember drawing with my older brother when I was about 4 years old. He was 11 at the time, and probably the coolest guy I knew. He taught me how to draw the most basic of skateboarders with spiky hair (because, hey it was the late 80’s). I drew him over and over again. Each time I drew it a little different and in different environments. It was nothing fancy, doubt it even made it on the refrigerator, but I loved it.
When I started kindergarten I had my first crush and I wanted to impress her. So I found a poem and asked my brother to teach me to write it in cursive. I thought writing in cursive was more beautiful than the block letters we were learning. Apparently I didn’t really care if she could read it or not. But it was then that I started using art to impress girls (didn’t really work, especially when your a runt with a mullet)! However, I did fall in love with learning and creating.
Time with Dad
When I was an adolescent, I moved in with my dad and discovered that he is a hobbying artist. He had journals full of poetry, and books with tons of sketches and personal pieces. His art hung all over the walls of his home. Since I didn’t grow up with him, and had little contact, I was completely unaware of artistic abilities in the family. Before this, my brother was the only one I knew who drew. My dad also revealed the his mother was an artist and concert pianist. During the short time I lived with my dad he gave me art supplies and encouraged me to submit my work for competitions in the area. I joined the wrote, painted, sketched and acted for the three-years I lived with him.
By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was offered scholarships to several art programs all over the East Coast. However I turned them down to join the military, which was also a family practice for many of the men and women I grew up with, and let my artistic side simmer on the back burner for nearly 10 years.
From the Military to Full-Time Photographer
About a year before exiting the military to follow my dad’s suggestion, I met Leigh Anne. She had a company that provided insight to the outdoors through photos, videos and written articles. So when I brought her out on one of our first dates, I bought myself a camera and asked her to teach me to use it. I really wanted to show her my interest in her passion, as well as impress her with my artistic abilities (even though I had zero photography skills)!
However, my technical-mindedness from studying sciences led me to falling in love with how a camera works. Also, my time that I had spent creating works of art attributed to my understanding of beautiful compositions. In less than three years of owning my very first camera, Leigh Anne and I started Mayberry Multimedia, with her as the skillful and creative videographer and storyteller and me as the technically minded cameraman and photographer! We are so blessed that we get to do what we love every day while working side by side.
Want to see Danny’s Work?
Visit the Photography page to see his portfolio!