We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Danforth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a child, I remember a particular photo album my Grandmother kept safely stashed away in her closet. The album felt special compared to all the others, with its peacock printed technicolor cover, each page a collage of black and white photographs from their wedding day in 1949. The kind of black and white photographs which appear metallic at different angles, microscopic silver particles suspended in time. I was enchanted with this album, seeing my grandmother in her gown of light taffeta, lace neckline and sleeves, long train and finger-tip length veil. And her prayer book with streamers of baby’s breath and sweet peas. With each turn of the page, I was brought back to my grandparents beginning, before they had children, before they started their lives together.
What should our readers know about your business?
As an LGBT business owner in the wedding industry, I am proud to help document stories of love for all couples. I was living in Massachusetts in 2004 when it became the first US state to recognize same-sex marriage. We were pioneers, and I remember feeling like it was the start of something major. Slowly but surely, we saw state after state adopt similar stances on same-sex marriage, leading up to the 2015 US Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, making marriage equality the law of the land. When starting my business in 2009, LGBTQ+ weddings were far and few between. I am excited and humbled not only to see more LGBTQ+ people choosing to get married, but more representation in the industry as well. I am also proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Gay Wedding Association, a non-profit dedicated to educating and highlighting inclusive wedding businesses across the country. My journey as an LGBT photographer and business owner has culminated in this beautiful way: I feel like I’m in a position to uplift other LGBTQ+ business owners and highlight talented people in my community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love to bring visitors to one of my favorite neighborhoods in Los Angeles: Franklin Village. Franklin Village is authentic, with its palm tree lined streets and ivy covered brick buildings. The eclectic assortment of businesses have been nestled in this small enclave of Hollywood for over 30 years, delivering a genuinely hip and unpretentious aesthetic. Take for example Bourgeois Pig, a staple of the neighborhood since 1989, offering coffee and pool games until 2am or Counterpoint Records and Books (which happens to be my go-to spot for first-editions) and they’ve been spinning vinyl for shoppers since 1979! Franklin Village also offers some great nightlife- comedy shows at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for less than $10 a ticket, Birds has some of the best Fried Pickles in Los Angeles, or La Poubelle Bistro if you’re looking for some French fare and sidewalk dining. Franklin Village dissolves the typical LA stereotype, leaving its visitors with the flavor of a city that is idiosyncratic and personal.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It is always in retrospect that you can connect the dots, looking back through the kaleidoscope of life to see just how perfectly the stars aligned. As I sit here typing this, I can see how many bright stars have guided me and provided me with tools to get me where I am today. But one person who I would be remiss not to acknowledge or express my gratitude and dedication to is Stella Johnson. Stella and I crossed paths while I was a 19 year old art school student studying photography back in Boston, not entirely sure what I was doing with a camera in my hands but filled with a lot of curiosity and passion. I am often surprised by how much of myself that other people see, and it was no different with Stella. Her tough critiques taught me not only how to compose an image but how to fill the entire frame of my viewfinder. She reinforced the power of storytelling to unearth the themes within the work that I was creating. I am still making that family work today, in part due to the foundation of those first few formidable years working with her.
Other: Personal Work: www.danforthphotos.com