Daniels father was an amateur photographer and from the moment he handed him his Olympus 35mm he was hooked. His dad taught me the basics and from there his passion for photography grew. Daniel didn’t take his natural talent for granted and decided to build his skill set, enrolling in every art class in his high school including a two-year self-directed open study course focused on mixed media painting and photography. By the age of sixteen, he had built a darkroom in the basement of his parent’s house and due to a weird stroke of luck, he began instructing his classmates.
The camera became his eyes and made him want to experience more of the world, so he took off on a life-changing 1,300-mile bike/hike/climbing journey through the Pacific Northwest, Appalachian trail, US national parks, and Southeast. After returning from his trip, Daniel planned to pursue his passion by majoring in Art Photography at the University of Louisville, but life had other plans. A little over a year into his major and he decided to change course. Accepted into a highly competitive East Coast institution he chose to pursue a 5yr degree in Landscape Architecture. This pivot, the first of many, would lead to a successful career as a LEED AP specializing in Sustainable Design projects, with two post-Katrina New Orleans redevelopment projects winning awards from the AIA for their LEED / sustainable design.
After nearly a decade in this field, Daniel reached another crossroads when life dealt him two additional blows. The 2008 financial crisis would strike the first blow to his career, and the second blow was dealt to his body when a hit-and-run accident forced him to reevaluate his life and career choices.
In 2011 his personal life expanded when he married, and welcomed his two children, Sophia, and Aiden. They would become the center of his world and he choose to take a brief hiatus from his career to focus on raising his kids. A few years later Daniel opened his own portrait photography company, which quickly expanded into video. Following his divorce in 2021, he refocused his energy on transitioning his company into what is now Aperture Industries. Specializing in video marketing materials for developments, RE agents, physicians, and others looking to incorporate video into their company’s growth.
As a child, Daniel always wanted to be one of two things. An artist/photographer or in the Special Forces, so naturally in 2008 when it was time for a career change, he hoped to serve his country like so many other brave souls. Unfortunately, the TBI he suffered prevented this option, so he returned to his first passion – photography, and film. He did not know at the time, that his wish to support the military would resurface later in life.
It was in 2014, he would initially become aware of the suicide epidemic that has been plaguing war veterans. Daniel remembers it clearly because he almost totaled his car when he heard the statistic of nearly 30,000 veterans who have ended their lives since the war on terror began.
He found that number to be unacceptable, something had to be done. He has always loved his country. He may have been unable to serve as a soldier, but Daniel wanted to use his talents in other ways. This was the first time he would consider the idea of creating a project to raise money and awareness for veteran suicide.
When Chris [Cathers] initially contacted him about shooting a documentary that addresses the suicide epidemic he was immediately on board. Chris had no way of knowing this at the time but a close friend of Daniels had just attempted suicide. She eventually succumbed to her injuries and her passing reignited his dedication to addressing the nation’s suicide epidemic.
Sometimes time and opportunity align and when Chris called about this opportunity, Daniel knew he could give this project the time and energy it deserved. The time and focus these people, our veterans deserved.
Reflecting on 2014 when he first considered this project, Daniel can now see that Chris, being a veteran himself, could not have been a more perfect partner. Together they set out to establish genuine and meaningful connections with those they interviewed. To tell the stories that need to be told.
The story of heroes.
Those who came back.
The people who protected their nation.
Those who now need their nation to protect them.
I am my Brother’s Keeper.