100 Creatives

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.

What He Does

"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.

Why He Likes It

"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 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."

What's Next? 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

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey