By Strawberry Jam

Thursday, Twilight Notes and Freedom Art are teaming up for this month’s Dialect to bring you another exceptional night of art and music. This time they’ll be featuring nine photographers from the South Florida area and DJs Kent Lawlor, Mikey Ramirez, and Adam Foster. Come and lounge in the intimate comfort of Brew, soak up some good tunes, and perhaps buy some art to take home with you. We’re super-excited for this one and below have an interview with one of the artists, Danny Hammontree.

Photo by Danny Hammontree

This will be your second time participating in Dialect but you’ve been around for a while. How and when did you get started in photography?

I have always had an interest in photography but didn’t get into it seriously until 2003 when I bought my first serious camera. In the beginning I started shooting everything but most of all my children. At one point I thought I wanted to to do glamour/fashion photography but quickly developed a distaste for it. In 2005 I also developed a huge distaste for George W. Bush and the decision to go into Iraq. I heard about an anti-war rally in Miami and went down to photograph it. My intentions in photographing were because I was against the war but also because I felt it was a great way to photograph people without having to ask them first if I could. When I got home I quickly posted my photos to art and photography communities I was a part of online namely deviantART and Flickr and got great responses from them. This feedback fueled my interest and I began hunting down opportunities to photograph social and political events I was most interested in and most importantly believed in. I feel the meshing of passions made my photography better and inspired me more.

Your primary focus of people and social issues is obvious in your photos. You also state on your website that “documentary and street portraiture” are your passion. Have you dabbled in other areas or have you always known these subjects to be your first love when it comes to photos?

When I first started out I wasn’t really sure what I most wanted to photograph or even if I wanted to specialize in one type of photography. I knew I loved photography and the truth is, back then I was loving every photo I made. Today I look back at my early stuff and laugh at how I use to think those photos were so amazing. This has taught me a valuable lesson to not fall in love with my images, or at least understand that I have a distorted view of how good they may be. When I see other artist doing this and taking their work too seriously, I tell them their photos are not their children and to try not to be hurt when others don’t love your work as much as you do. I believe photography is something we do for our self, to express our self, and if others happen to love it too then all the better.

Are there any local movements in which you are personally involved with? I know you have taken some photos for Ft Lauderdale’s Food Not Bombs chapter and started the South Florida Camera Club in ’06.

Food Not Bombs are the most interesting subjects to photograph locally and I certainly think their intentions are noble and good. I’m not photographing as much as I used to and that is primary because of my involvment in running South Florida Camera Club. Our club now has over 160 members and bringing these artists together to promote photography makes me very happy. I do need to balance my desire to make photographs with the other things that are important in my life, but we all know how easy balancing our lives is.

Tell us a bit about the club and what kind of people its members are.

South Florida Camera Club is made up of people that are just starting out in photography, people that are quite experienced and those that we could call gurus of photography and digital editing. We meet twice a month at ArtServe on the first and third Thursdays of the month. The first meeting of the month is slated for a guest speaker that will give a seminar or workshop pertaining to photography. Some of these meetings are purely for inspirational purposes. The second meeting on the month is when we have our monthly photographic competitions. The winner of the month will get their print custom framed and it will hang in UNCOMMON Gallery for the month. At the end of the year the twelve photographs will run against each other for best photo of the year. The winner will win a brand new Nikon D300s or Canon 7D. We also announce our photographer of the year and that person will win a camera as well. Our winner for 2010 (Daniel Korzeniewski) won both titles and was given a Nikon D700.

If you have a favorite photo you’ve taken, what is it of?

It’s hard to say which my favorite photo is but the photograph that has gotten me the most attention is one of a little boy in his mothers arms holding a sign that says “Fuck Bush”. I look at that photo often and think how lucky I was to get it at the second I did. There is no other time in that moment that it would be as powerful.

Dialect is at Brew Himmarshee this Thursday, May 12, from 8:30pm-12:30. Facebook event page here.

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