Photographer, Dante Bowen Hendricks was born in Guyana, South America. As a young boy in Guyana, he developed a keen interest in foreign cultures after his uncle left one of those iconic rotating world globes at his house. He recalls a time in his youth, how he would play a game by spinning the globe, and wherever his finger landed, he would try to learn as much about that country as possible -- its capital, industry and exports, cultural practices and so forth. He loved to study the habits and cultures of different people from all around the world, or to put it best, ‘wherever his finger landed’.
Luckily for him at age 14, his grandmother gifted him a camera. Immediately, he stepped into the role as family documentarian, capturing the moments of important events and family functions. Rarely was Dante seen without his camera in hand, he’d found his true passion. Two years after, his family immigrated to Brooklyn, NY where he finished high school in the Flatbush neighborhood, and in furthering his education, went on to graduate from Medgar Evers College in the nearby Crown Heights area with a BA in Business Administration. Soon after, he then began working full-time with his father, who ran a shipping company. With his pursuit of photography now in the background – more of a pastime or hobby and his form of an escape, at his leisure he cultivated a greater understanding of camera functionality, operation and film development.
Fast forward a decade later, Dante returned to his birthplace at age 30 to visit family and one aunt remarked, “I see you still have that camera in your hands...some things never change,” and then it dawned on him. Amidst so much that had evolved throughout his life from boyhood to adulthood, living and moving from one continent to another, there had been one constant -- his love of photography. And Dante reflected, “it had been a lifelong passion for me, but sometimes life gets in the way.”
Upon his return to New York, it’s at that point that he decided to pursue photography, full-time. He took courses at the International Center of Photography (ICP) and engrossed himself with everything photography, including attending tons of street photography workshop seminars. His first big, professional/paid gig was with a commercial real estate developer – so typical of the NYC terrain, contracted to shoot new properties. His penchant for shooting with sharpness, clarity, detail and nuance quickly had the referral-effect, attracting more clients seeking his photography work. Although Dante shoots in digital for commercial work, for his personal work, he prefers to shoot in film; frequently, in black and white. “I respect both mediums, but I just love the imperfections of film,” Dante offers. “It's been a joy being reunited with photography, because I’m finally doing something I truly love.”
Recalling his favorite subjects in front of his lens to be dancers, by claiming -- “they’re like watching poetry in motion.” His shooting of various types of ceremonies and people of different cultures circles back to his original childhood fascination of this massive world we all marvel at. “I have always been drawn to anything that is cultural or spiritual, including subjects that are usually misunderstood or appear taboo,” says Dante. “For example, people fear Vodou, but it’s because they don’t know it. I love to shed light on the hidden, by showing the bright side of it.”
Dante has several shows under his belt in Brooklyn: “Bishop Art Gallery”, “Hill Café”, “Restoration Plaza” and “Photoville” in DUMBO. He’s also exhibited outside of NYC: “Raunjiba Gallery” (Baltimore) and “Jazz Museum” (New Orleans). His photographic thumbprint is distinct. In so many ways, it’s matured, of course, but remains the same in that his work still harkens back to the innocence of his childhood conveying no less than the same attention, sincerity and wide-eyed curiosity of that same little boy whose fingers land – this time on the camera’s buttons, wherever he marvels at the world around him.
November 14th, 2023 | 44 mins 41 secs
brooklyn, dante bowen hendricks, glocal citizens podcast, guyana, inferno photos, leap transmedia, new orleans, photographer, trucker