100 Creatives 2013: Daniel Kramer, Photographer of All Trades
Daniel Kramer is a professional photographer and photo instructor at Rice University. He's shot everything from pro sports to breaking news to music and weddings. He also used to be a staff photographer for the Houston Press, during which time he took this iconic photo of a businessman walking over shattered glass from a downtown skyscraper in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Many of his post-Ike photos went on to win awards.
Photos by Daniel Kramer
"I've photographed some of the biggest icons of our time including Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, the Queen of England and Fidel Castro," he said. "My portrait of Mother Teresa was syndicated around the world. I love making portraits and telling stories with photo essays."
But Kramer is not content with being just a photojournalist.
"Photography is such a big fat glorious world that I don't limit myself to just one slice," he said. "I'm an award-winning wedding photographer. I'm a street photographer. I'm a food photographer. I'm a music photographer."
In 1995, after graduating from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with an MFA in Documentary Photojournalism, Kramer embarked on his first freelance project. He circumnavigated the globe while retracing Mark Twain's journey around the world on the 100th anniversary of his epic trip.
In 2008 he began teaching at Rice University's School of Continuing Education, and also won the Photojournalist of the Year Award from the Houston Press Club. Some of his work is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
"My father played football for Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers back in the day and he introduced me to a world to which very few people have access," he said. (Kramer is still a die-hard Packers fan.)
"During my undergrad days at the University of Minnesota I realized that if I wanted to experience that world for myself, journalism was the route. The last class I took at the U of M was Intro to Visual Communications and I fell head over heels in love with photography.
I love photography for so many reasons... it's a door through which I can more fully experience the world. It has the ability to keep me challenged and engaged for the rest of my life."
What Inspires Him
Photos by Daniel Kramer
Kramer said it's not just fellow photographers that inspire his work. He lists photojournalist Alex Webb, Russian photographer Gueorgui Pinkhassov and American photographer and painter Saul Leiter as inspirations. Painters are major muses for Kramer. He also lists the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists Matisse, Van Gogh and Gaugin as inspirations.
If Not This, Then What?
"I don't have a Plan B," Kramer said. "I'm all in."
If Not Here, Then Where?
Kramer considers himself a vagabond, having lived in several states and major U.S. cities (not to mention undertaking a number of trips as a photojournalist.
"I never thought I'd live in Houston. But I've been here since 2000 and I really do enjoy it," he said. "I'd probably like to move to Chicago so I could be closer to my family."
Photos by Daniel Kramer
Kramer already has two books out -- his Twain book, called Re-Marking Twain's Equator and a book of photography from taken in Cuba, Cuban Fire. Now he's working on two more book projects, he said.
"I'm editing 20 years of my street photography from around the world - my working title is Global Wanderings - and I hope to have a mock-up completed by fall. Then there is another book project about my father's teammates and the lifelong friendships that resulted from playing football together," he said.
"I'm open to just about anything."
More Creatives for 2013
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Blue 130, pin-up explosion art
Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker
David Wilhem, light painter
Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster
Browncoat, pin-up pop artist
Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist
Vincent Fink, science fashion
Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder
Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer
Sameera Faridi, fashion designer
Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet
Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company
Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre
Outspoken Bean, performance poet
Barry Moore, architect
Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist
Ty Doran, young actor
Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate
Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet
Justin Garcia, artist
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center
Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric
Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician
Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse
Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company
Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography
Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions
Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover
Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist
Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer
Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker
Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer
David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer
Danielle Burns, art curator
Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder
Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator
Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker
Amanda Stevens, scary book author
Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger
Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach
Billy D. Washington, comedian
Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer
Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer
Kelly Sears, animator and film maker
Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director
jhon r. stronks,dance-maker
Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer
Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer