So I thought I’d share a little more about myself. Besides being the Ginger Fires that I am, I’m also a budding photographer trying to make his mark in a sea of media savvy, social apps, photo trinket, narcissistic voyeur seekers and vagabond artists. Somewhere in all that clutter, there’s Danny Boyd Photography.
(Above photo… Yours truly)
I originally came to New York City back in 1998, with the full intentions of focusing on acting. I graduated Montana State University of Bozeman Film School (there is such a place), in the summer of 97. Before embarking with classmates who all seemed to find their way quickly to L.A. or Hollywood, I held myself back for the summer of 97 was when the mother I worship discovered a brain tumor. Well, she didn’t discover it, more like some doctors did.
I spent the next year working barely above minimum wage jobs… from 3 different movie theaters between two towns two hours apart and DJing at country radio stations in these varied locations (yes I’m a little bit country, but a whole lot of disco, house & r&b).
(Above photo, the insatiable Jazmine Faust)
After a six month journey of discovering the best doctors and treatments for eliminating the acoustic neuroma tumor, and after several more months of being by her side as she recuperated to near mint condition, I finally embarked from Dillon, Montana to big, bad New York City.
Why I chose New York is beyond me. Perhaps it was just bad advice, or maybe the fact that I wrecked my car in a Montana snow storm, or perhaps it was because of Spiderman and the constant fascination with urban life. Either which way, I got off a bus at Port Authority, was greeted by a prostitute calling me “daddy”, and moved into an apt on Roosevelt Island with literally nothing but a small bag of clothes. For the two months I lived on Roosevelt Island I slept on the floor, no bed, barely a blanket at a cost of $700 a month.
The plan, if any, was to do a little of everything with film and acting. Audition for commercials, tv and movies – join some sketch comedy troupes – do some screen writing – intern at a production company – oh the possibilities were endless. Instead I found myself constantly in financial ruins, running from debt collectors, moving 8 times in 3 years from sublet to sublet, and finding that interning was just an easy, breezy form of slave labor.
It was soon I began to fall back on what was providing for me… the food and beverage industry. Restaurants. Catering companies. About four years into my New York trajectory to stardom, I was finally able to catch up on bills, financial burdens, and stability.
Over the next decade I would dabble in my dreams but keep most of my commitments to the catering jobs that would pay me. Life became balanced, but also came to an enormous thud.
Between 2006 and 2009 many changes started to shift in my life. Instead of blowing my money on casting classes and pointless meet and greets, I spent my money on month long trips to Asia – primarily the Philippines. Photography became a modest new hobby to journal and explore.
On the job front, much like the rest of American jobs, my employers started restructuring labor. Jobs were harder to come by. New employment schemes were on display daily with many companies I worked for. Jobs in the food industry which were once hourly employees were being given to non-profit status workers. Day laborers I suspected were now being completely shafted on pay. Corporations I worked for were still claiming record profits when the rest of us were suffering.
How was this possible? How can these corporations do this to their workers? How can we as workers profit, give back to society, spend money, stay on top of our bills, and be functioning members of communities if our employers continue to act this way?
How do we splurge on A DATE!?!
Most employees know when their employers are misbehaving. Many either suspect what the labor laws might be or actually know what the laws might be, but many say or do nothing because they just want a paycheck. They just want to live their lives. They don’t want the added pressures and paranoia of losing their job or income to interfere with the rest of their days, months, and years.
Well, I could no longer accept turning the other cheek. I wanted to be an agent of change. I needed to stand up for workers’ rights.
(Above photo at Ati-Atihan festival in Kalebo, Aklan, Philippines)
I soon embarked on some battles with the New York Department of Labor, took on some class action lawyers, and began my appearances in State and Federal Courts. I even did some lobbying on behalf of restaurant and food service workers at the state capital in Albany. I talked to legislators and representatives. Oh, I might add, some of these battles are still being fought out – the large, robust ‘body like a Botticelli’ woman hasn’t finished singing yet…
At some point my life became too consumed with workers’ rights. The majority of people who I was fighting for didn’t even care or could hardly mutter a ‘thank you’ when they received thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime or settlement claims.
That’s when I had to go back to the drawing board. Back to me.
Why was I here? What was I doing?
I didn’t come to New York to enter the fun factory of litigation, where every poor working stiff becomes a pawn in some lawyer casino of wages and bets. I didn’t come to The Big Apple to hang out with corruption in suits. I came here to be some form of an artist.
So, I took to my camera. Not so much as “a photographer”, but rather that of a story teller. What do I want to say? What do I want to convey?
I wanted my imagination back. I wanted to dream whimsical things. I didn’t want to wake up to a psoriasis break out due to litigation stress and lying lawyers. So, I began my romance with something artistically inclined.
Whether it’s my trips to Asia, or the beautiful faces of all the actors and models I’ve handled crab cakes with, or whether it was telling the story of urban life – I wanted to represent this journey and these journey with pictures.
Who knows when this love affair will end? I’ve picked up many an artistic habit before, like drawing or playing the trumpet and piano, and I’ve dropped them like hot potatoes.
But photography for me is telling a story – sharing your life – sharing a window of possibilities – sharing a fountain of dreams.
Now you know a little more about me. I thank you for your time in an often busy and chaotic day.
(Above, photo White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Below, giraffe at the Albuquerque Zoo, New Mexico)