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Danny Klimetz Conveys Lives and Stories Through Photography

Danny Klimtez (courtesy)
Danny Klimtez (courtesy)

Danny Klimetz has an innate love for photography and life that culminated into a successful career with his own company and two studios here in Oxford.

Klimetz said, “I’ve had a camera in my hand pretty much all my life.”

When he was young he used to play with his father’s camera. Then in high school he was the yearbook photographer, and at University of Mississippi he was the photographer for Ole Miss Outdoors who documented their expeditions. At University of Mississippi Klimetz was floored to photograph President Obama’s first inauguration for the Daily Mississippian.

“I was lucky enough to get to go and document it for the Daily Mississippian,” he said. “There were so many people and it was such a significant event for our country – I was floored to be a part of it.”

After graduation he started his own company in 2008, Danny K Photography. He specializes in engagement photos, weddings and travel and music and all that he’s able to snap photos of.

“[Photography] was always meant to be a hobby, I never really thought I could one day make a living with photography,” said Klimetz. “When I started my business, it was just means to pay for my toys but as time went on and I honed on my skill and personal style I realized I could and should take a crack at it! Best job ever.”

He has also started Oxford Sessions now called Beatroot Coalition, a place to showcase local musical talent in town, and also Carbon Brothers Studio that specializes in visual media productions. These studios and his company were born out of his love for life and people.

“If you had asked me five years ago when I started my business I would have said outdoor landscapes and wildlife, but now I really enjoy using photography to tell people’s stories,” said Klimtez. “Folks have so much to offer and everyone’s life is so different yet amazing in their own way.”

Recently he was able to combine his interests over his career – travel and people – in collaboration with RafikiFriends. He said that trip to Winneba, Ghana in January was life-changing. He shot this video of Rafiki’s cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off.”

His work brought joy to RafikiFriends’ director Katie Heckel.

“I am so thankful for Danny. I really like the way he sees the world,” she said. “And he was able to capture Rafiki in a way that it has never been captured before. He is helping us tell thes tory to friends that might not be able to come over to Ghana, but because of his images and video, they are able to take a glimpse into this place.”

To her heaven is a little closer to Earth at Rafiki and Klimetz helped capture the children, Rafiki and Ghana in a way that helps RafikiFriends share stories. She has loved the Methodist Rafiki Village since she first traveled to Ghana in 2008 for six weeks of mission work. She learned there that orphaned children were sold to fishermen and forced to work for no pay but that Rafiki rescues these children from life-threatening situations and tries to provide a secure and faithful life for them.

Katie Heckel, director of RafikiFriends, sings to the children. (photo by Danny Klimtez)
Katie Heckel, director of RafikiFriends, sings to the children. (photo by Danny Klimtez)

She has returned there eight times since and even spent 13 months there from 2011 to 2012 to start the sponsorship program, RafikiFriends. The nonprofit helps provide a more stable support for Rafiki with sponsors helping pay up to $90 a month for a child which covers food, water and medicine and clothing and education per month.

Heckel said, “We’ll be able to tell the story [of what we do] for years to come with his beautiful images and video!”

Klimtez’s work will also be featured in her upcoming album that will be released next month. All proceeds from the CD sales will go to Rafiki.

“Life moves quickly, and it’s easy to forget,” said Klimetz. “Photography helps remind us, and it’s an honor that I get to provide this for people.”

Callie Daniels is s staff writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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