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Meet Craig Deman of Deman Imagery in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Craig Deman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Craig. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a native of Los Angeles, born in Hollywood. From what I was told, my family moved to Palm Springs when I was a year old and I grew up there in the desert until college. When I was seven, I contracted a childhood bone disease that resulted in not being able to walk until I was 14. Even though I was just a kid, that experience taught me many things, but one thing in particular that has shaped my entire life. And that thing is perseverance. Which has come in handy in both business and photography.

Like a lot of photographers, I took a photography class in high school. I knew at that point that photography was going to be a huge part of my life. What I didn’t know was the path to being able to start an art-based photography business would take 25 years. After undergraduate, I worked as an assistant for three incredibly creative and skilled commercial photographers. I learned a tremendous amount from each of these talented photographers and realized that I was going to have to win the lottery or marry rich to be able to keep a roof over my head and put food on the table because I was interested in non-commercial photography. So, off to graduate school I went and ended up working in technology.

About 15 years ago, I rebalanced my life plan and scaled back my technology career and balanced my time by starting a photography business. At the time, I was still a die-hard film traditionalist (processing film and printing in the darkroom). There were so many types of photographs I wanted to create and I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed solely as a “fine art” photographer. That combined with a couple of fellow photographer friends convinced me to add a digital camera to my 125+ camera collection. And BAM – ten years ago, I opened up Pixel Rebel Studio at the Santa Monica Airport.

My sister’s belief in my work and her support helped me implement my life rebalancing. I feel fortunate and satisfied on a personal level to create the photography I want to create. And moreover, create photography that makes other people happy – happy enough that is to buy some of my work.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m fortunate to have had my work exhibited in galleries and museums in the states and internationally as well as in books and various publications. But I have to be honest – it’s not for the meek. I have many artist friends who have also been fortunate to get their work exhibited in galleries and to the person, all have stories of being taken advantage of by gallerists. I’m sure this isn’t the case for the “one percent” artists, but for the rest of us it’s a real issue. One good photographer friend of mine has come up with an idea whose time may have come to combat this issue. Form a union for artists. Why not, the entertainment industry has unions – right?

Deman Imagery – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I create many different styles and types of photography. Some of my completed photo essays include a road trip which involved a 1950’s beauty parlor chair, a four year, 11 state project on drive-in movie theaters, a ten state essay on record stores and a series about all the inanimates we cohabitate with on our planet. Some of the multi-decade ongoing work that I continue to expand upon include the two environments I live in – Los Angeles County and the desert as well as conceptual work and of course, fine art.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’m still vertical and still creating.

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