Celebrating Childhood in Photographs

Rich Demanowski - Photographs

Dover, NH

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About Rich Demanowski - Photographs

There is wisdom to be found in the way children approach the world, and I think sometimes - nay, often - we "grownups" need to be reminded of how much our kids have to teach us.

The different and sometimes contradictory aspects of kids' lives and personalities are fascinating - their energetic joyousness vs. their quiet contemplation; their seemingly perpetual motion vs. their capacity for stillness; the reckless abandon with which they can flit through their surroundings while seemingly not noticing anything vs. the deep, concentrated fascination they can have with something as commonplace as a dandelion.

Children have so much more to offer us than what the idealized and romanticized cultural definition of the word "childhood" would indicate - they have so much more depth of feeling and reasoning, so much more breadth of expression.

I want to explore that with them.

I believe ...

... that an honest portrait is not just of a person, it needs to be about the person. It should strip away the artificial, the masks, and the distractions, leaving behind the individual and their life, their energy, their passion ... their soul - and that doesn't often happen in a studio, gussied up in "Sunday best".

... that life is getting up from naptime with mussed-up hair, rolling around on the floor with the pets, jumping in mud puddles, and giving your younger brother noogies. It's wearing your favorite pair of ratty jeans with holes in the knees. It's being comfortable.

That's why I want to make photographs with your kids on location. It can be any location at all, as long as it's special - to them. While many people choose to be photographed at home, we've also worked in parks, old churches, dilapidated barns, abandoned buildings, beaches ... the possibilities are endless.

"Why do you do it that way?", you ask ...

Many people ask "Why do you only do black and white?". The short answer is: "It removes distractions." The human eye is easily distracted by color; the abstractness of black and white removes the color, leaving only light, form and texture. As Ted Grant so eloquently put it: "If you're photographing in color, you show the color of their clothes - if you use black and white, you can show the color of their soul." - and finding the "color of their soul" is what my photography is all about.

I work primarily in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. I love to travel, though, so whether you're across the street, across the state, across the continent, or even "across the pond" ...

I'd love to make photographs with your family. Please contact me, and let's find a time to chat.

I look forward to meeting you.

Location

16 Grove St
Dover, NH 03820

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Question and answer

Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

A. The most important thing when hiring someone to make portraits for you, is to be sure you love the work they've produced in the past.

You're going to be displaying these images in the most important place in the world - your home! - and you want to make sure you will absolutely LOVE them.

Therefore it is essential that you look at many photographers' work, and find someone whose style truly appeals to you - because chances are, they'll produce photographs very much like that for you. The ones that are the best at it are those who have a distinctive "look" to their imagery, and don't try to be all things to all people.

Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?

A. One of the first things many people ask a professional photographer is "What kind of camera do you use?"

That is the wrong question. It's like asking Chef Irvine what brand of pots and pans he owns, or asking Stephen King what brand of typewriter he uses.

The most important thing you can ask a photographer is "Where can I see some of your work?" - Then go and see some of it in person.

Before you hire a photographer, be absolutely certain you love the style of their imagery, and the quality of the workmanship they put into their finished photographs.

Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?

A. Some things you'll want to consider before contacting a photographer:

- What is the purpose of this photograph? Is it to commemorate a special occasion? Is it just because you haven't had a portrait made in a while?

- How and where are you planning on displaying the photograph? Is it going over your mantlepiece? In the hallway? On the desk in your office? On your FaceBook page?

If you know the answers to these questions, your photographer will be able to work with you to craft the perfect image for your needs (or at least one that's as close to perfect as humanly possible).

Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?

A. I'm highly specialized.

Many child and family portrait photographers also do weddings, or commercial work, or corporate portraits.

I love working with kids, so that's what I focus my business on. I'm not distracted by any other kinds of work, so I can focus on doing one thing as well as I can possibly do it.

The other thing that I think sets my work apart, is that I have adopted the philosophy of Jaques-Henri Lartigue: "I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost - that is important. If they are art objects at the same time, that's fine with me."

Q. What do you like most about your job?

A. I love working with kids.

A lot of photographers are afraid of kids - their unpredictability, the potential for chaos, their sometimes un-cooperative nature ...

I love that stuff. I love being around their boundless energy, their curiosity, their often quirky imaginations. I do what I do by letting the kids BE kids, and observing them as they are.

Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?

A. Yes.

As Henry Giroux so eloquently stated, "There is no difference between living and learning." You're either growing your you're dying.

I make it a point, at least once a year, to take a week or two to go somewhere like Santa Fe and study with the masters of my craft. I've been privileged to be mentored by the likes of Joyce Tenneson, Paul Elledge, Jock Sturges, and Frank Ockenfels, and I intend to continue learning from the best until the day I die.

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