My lady crush for Danielle Kreeft is pretty ridiculous. I first discovered dani press only a few short months ago in Winnipeg shop Tara Davis Studio Boutique. I pride myself on presenting gift recipents and friends in faraway lands beautiful cards laced with thoughtully-crafted prose. I have never been a Hallmark-type girl and always have seeked out blank cards that allow me to bestow upon them my own sentiment. When I first came across her cards, though, that changed. While alost all of her cards leave ample room to wax poetic inside, her stunning and warm images are complemented by words that are equally drenched in beauty. Somehow they manage to ring sincere and applicable to your recipents and seem shockingly appropriate for your loved ones and not like they were cranked out by a middle-aged woman with framed pictures of kittens on their desks. As I delved into the woman behind these incredible things, it turns out she was just as rad - how could she not be?
How do you describe what you do?
Ha. It's like putting on a play. Months of stage-building, costume-sewing, ticket-selling, and actor-employing for 30 minutes of what people see. 10% of my job is the creative aspect, 10% is coffee and the other 80% is e-mail follow-up, website updating, accounting, paperwork, blogging, promo-package sending, etc.. My nails are cracked from typewriter use! It is not glamorous.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I love it, because it's my own. I want to be my own boss, to travel and photograph and devote my sweat to something I believe in. This is the process of slowing moving my boxes from the "i'm a young 20-something waitress just trying to figure it out" room to the "you can do anything you want, so grow up and hustle" room.
Can you remember the moment where it all clicked and you knew you wanted to start this line?
Yes. My friend Dylan and I were biking to Easter lunch in the Dutch countryside outside of Epe a few years ago. He had brought flowers for our hosts and in this brilliant instant, he threw his hands out. I was continually risking a fall, taking tons of photos, and I just happened to catch the moment. Then immediately replayed it (still biking), saw it and thought, "that could be a card". It was my first one.
What is your goal with your business?
Besides travel and being self-employed, I want airmail to survive. I want it to still mean something in 50 years. When you get old and have this shoebox of cards and notes, momentos from trying times and celebrations, I want dani press to be in there, to have been a part of your story.
What is one thing you want people to feel when sending one of your cards?
Loved. That's it. LOVED.
What is the best thing about capturing images?
They last past the moment. They bring you back. I can look at that photo of my little brother and I in Zanzibar and suddenly feel how warm the water was, how the pillowy sand felt on my feet, how dehydrated I was. Which then reminds me how much he took care of me then, pouring hydrating salts into my water bottles when I couldn't lift my head. I felt like I was watching love. And when I see those images, I feel that again. That's amazing.
How do you hope this all turns out like when you're 70?
Man, all I want to know is that I did the gifts and talents God gave me justice. If I was blowing out 70 candles right now, I'd hope God would say, "you did good, kid." That my life, my photography, my stationery mattered because it was a part of Him and His story. And I hope I have a log cabin and a love like Johnny and June Cash. Ok, that's it. Those three things. Full stop.
What have you learned about being a photographer that translates into life?
You should probably step back a bit. Don't congest the frame by being too close, because you can always zoom in, but you can't zoom out. So take a step back and see the forest for the trees. The view is better.
Part of your proceeds go to "These Numbers Have Faces". Why is "These Numbers Have Faces" so important to you?
1. South Africa is important to me. It's been my second home since 2005. When i'm not there, I miss it like I miss a person. I am in a perpetual state of longing for that country.
2. Education is paramount. It's ridiculous that I have access to all sorts of educational opportunities and resources and others don't. What is that?
3. When I dreamt about card-making back when i was in my teens, I always knew if I ever actually made it happen that giving back would be the first part of it. That needed to be a part of the story, otherwise why tell it? Life is so much better when you share.
These Numbers Have Faces envelops all of those things. And they're based in Portland. Rad.
What are you three favourite things about traveling?
1. You live in the present more. Traveling is about being with people you just met on a street you just found in a country you've never been to. So everything is right here, right now. I miss that in my daily life often.
2. That feeling that you could be doing more with your day or your year or that haunting feeling like you might be missing opportunities evaporates. Because you are living in the opposite of that feeling - you are in Brazil! on the beach! drinking the best beer of your life! You are in your own dreams for a time.
3. You meet the most insanely crazy, loveable, beautiful people. And you know without a doubt that if you had been behind a cubicle, you wouldn't have met them.
Rumour has it (okay, your blog just says it) that you and I share an affinity for shower beers. What are you drinking while sudsing up?
White Bark Wheat Ale, if I could pick. Or Tusker. If life were ideal though, it would be an old fashioned. Bourbon and a hot shower? Heaven.
What is one song that you think describes your life in retrospect, one song that describes you now, and one that you hope encapsulates your future?
Bob Dylan's 'Baby, Let Me Follow You Down' or 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright'. Oof, right? That's heavy. As much as I celebrate my 20's for being rad, gallivanting adventure days, a dominant theme was the trio of heartbreaks i put myself through. I wasn't strong enough and didn't have the bravery to wait for what I really wanted, so I got completely KO'd.