The Short Explanation:
I’m a Detroit Urban Wildlife Photographer with a justice-thirst, providing some killer Underground Vigilante Journalism and stunning Photography.
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The Long Explanation:
I’d like to think that I was born with some sort of quality that I can do anything, and I was meant to do anything. Whether that sounds vain or not, that’s your call. My great-grandmother used to always tell my parents, “She’s going to be someone someday, and everyone’s going to know who she is.” I didn’t know this until much later when I started chasing this dream, whatever this dream may be. I’ve had a passion for photography like it was imprinted in my DNA. It might as well have been because my father was just as obsessed with documenting things as I am. If it wasn’t a camera, it was a video camera. He died when I was encroaching on 3 years old, and some days, it’s his memory that still keeps me going.
From that point, I grew up in a single parent household that came with some happy days, and some struggled ones. The struggled ones seem to take over my memory as of late, but I didn’t have a bad childhood. I had a great one, the best one that my mom could provide. My early adulthood, however, may as well be documented in gray for now.
I dove into artwork as a release. I did darkroom photography at the age of 13 and moved on to digital later. I started doing portraiture after getting burned out on still lifes, and I dove into pin-up photography with my friends who wanted to go for the rockabilly thing. At that time I was about 17, so we can totally go the route that I’ve been working on portraiture for quite some time as I’m breaching almost 30.
In 2010, after many years of borrowing SLRs from teachers, I finally bought my own. I started off a Canon Girl, and though I had a momentary switch to Nikon in 2014, I gravitated back to Canon in 2017. The reason being? Canon has always produced better portrait tones, while Nikons tend to emit more green-type tones, which is probably better for Landscapes. Though I still do quite a few landscapes for my Detroit-based photography, if I had to be split into one category, it would probably still land as a portrait photographer. And in 2017, with the help of my friends, I was able to score Hour Detroit’s Best of 2017 for Portrait Photography. It was a double win, because at the same time, I had fallen into writing, and also got the “Best Local Website” title too.
Zipping backward for a second, in 2006, my Communications Technology teacher requested of me and one other girl to go to Michigan State University for a Journalism Conference with the full intention on redesigning our entire school paper. As the Editor (Danielle) and the Photo Editor/Design (Me), we managed a full overhaul of the design of Farmington High School’s Newspaper. I then realized that I had a knack for writing, one that I never truly noticed until I really dove into it (other than the multiple times I got in trouble for writing projects in school – writing steps on how to play 5-Card Stud in First Grade, and my imaginative piece on being the Red Stick in a pack of Cheese & Crackers – direct excerpt: “I was used over and over again, and then I was thrown into a deep, dark hole. My life was over.” Needless to say, I’ve always been discriptive, and it’s not always been a good thing).
From 2014, I created ‘Detroit Ginger,’ which was my first writing platform. In its infancy, it was a blog that had a subdomain on Squarespace, a site that I have used for many years to produce my site. Even with gravitating to WordPress in 2018 (finally), I still would recommend it to anyone, and they’re not paying me to say that. ‘Detroit Ginger’ was formed after my editor at ‘The Eastern Echo’ (Eastern Michigan University‘s School Paper) would not publish stories about Detroit anymore. She was sick of me constantly taking a “Detroit Perspective,” and she felt that it was “uninteresting” to our readers to talk about a city that wasn’t directly near Ypsilanti. At the time, I had done a full interview with one-half of the creators at Rebel Nell, as well as the entire team of jewelry makers, and the story surrounded how the females were formerly homeless women who were creating these designs and getting their lives on track. It is still one of my favorite pieces to date, and was the piece that caused me to say, “You know what? If you won’t publish it, I will.”
In 2016, I made a decision to consolidate the two brands, ACRONYM (which took me quite a long time to land on the brand, flopping from A.C00P Photo & Design, to ACRONYM Creative Studio, to just ACRONYM). After studying branding in the corporate atmosphere at my day job at an Environmental Consulting Firm, it seemed like the right choice to go for a brand that would be short, well known, and in your face. I chose ACRONYM because of a song off Eminem‘s ‘Marshall Mathers LP2,’ a lyric where he says “It was ’bout bustin’ raps and standin’ for somethin’: f*ckin’ acronym.” The line hit me on the back of the head, and I had been searching for a different brand from A.C00P, so I ran with it. ACRONYM became my branding motto of “Stand For Something,” following suit of the lyric. Once I decided to mesh together ACRONYM and ‘Detroit Ginger,’ I received quite a bit of praise from some of my mentoring friends in various positions I was in.
One of those people, Dontae Rockymore, AKA Mr. Heatcam, had told me when I was learning Nightclub Photography at Grasshopper Underground in Ferndale, that he felt that my writing, combined with my photography was what was going to differentiate me from other photographers in the Detroit Scene. Because I was able to express myself through writing and tell a story, he knew that would get me far. I never thought of this, and consolidating ACRONYM and ‘Detroit Ginger’ was one of the best decisions I could have made because it took me so much farther than just being a Photographer.
Not only did my work on ‘Detroit Ginger’ land me a writing job within radio, where I write for 50+ stations daily, but being able to review shows as well as photograph them made me an asset to the Detroit Local Scene, and I was able to work my way up in Concert Photography under bands like I Prevail and Wilson, some of our hometown heroes. Now, I’m able to say that I’ve photographed some of the greats, including Rob Zombie, Bob Seger, Halestorm, and even Snoop Dogg. I also was able to gain attention from other outlets like High Times and MerryJane, which lead me to being an ambassador/affiliate for some of the coolest companies like CannaSmack and MagicalButter.com. (See Published Work)
While pushing myself forward in Detroit Photography, Concert Photography, and doing Portrait Photography that includes Weddings and Families, I also became an ambassador for many clothing companies, including InkAddict, Detroit People Mover, PRTY Crew Collective, The Blonde Collective, and shooting for other brands like Finish Line / Adidas, Detroit GT and Creeps & Queens. Diving into this atmosphere of Fashion and Clothing has always been an intriguing area for me, and it also lead me to become what is best described as an “Alternative Lifestyle Photographer,” cataloging the non-conformed, tattooed, pierced, and otherwise “the new normal” type people. Having relationships with that scene has helped me get exposure to different Alternative Lifestyle Magazines, including Inked, Dark Beauty Magazine, Sour Magazine, and more, as well gained me access to famed tattoo artists like Bob Tyrell and Cleen Rock One at conventions. (See Published Work)
I made the change in 2018 to drop the “Detroit” from my URL and social handles because I wanted to take my work further than just Detroit, even though Detroit will always be my home. I want to show people how I see things and to do that, I need to be more well rounded. So I have remained ACRONYM, but become ACRONYMOFFICIAL.com in the process.
As I reflect on my life and the strides I’ve made for my craft, not only as a person but as a woman, I want to say I couldn’t be prouder of myself. But as someone who openly struggles with anxiety and depression, I still find myself most days trying to strive for more. It’s the artist’s sickness – “I’ve got to be better. I’ve got to do better.” My friends and boyfriend keep me from not completely losing my mind some days, and I have to step back and realized not only what I’ve accomplished, but what I will accomplish in the future.