|Duane Cramer?s family and supporters were all in attendance at the Vox / Out party in honor of Cramer and his recognition as a National Emerging Artist. Pictured: Event coordinator Calvin Gipson, Shani Compton (Cramer?s cousin), Duane Cramer, and his
By Dennis McMillan
Exquisite, openly and proudly gay San Francisco photographer Duane Cramer received the prestigious National Emerging Artist Award from Out magazine and Vox vodka at a special reception for him at Levende Lounge in the Mission on Aug. 25. Hundreds of Cramerâ€™s fans and models showed up to celebrate his fabulous work at the 5th annual Vox/Out Emerging Voices of Style + Design Award 2005 presentation.
As a preferred photographer of celebrities, notable artists, and models, Cramer has been compared to the late Herb Ritts because of his stunning black and white photographs and his charismatic personality. Cramer has captured the images of gay celebrities such as RuPaul, Reichen, Keith Boykin, Ari Gold, and Michelle Wolf, as well as notable supermodels Helena Christiansen and Brooke Shields, Rockmond Dunbar of Soul Food, Toni Morrison, Bill T. Jones, Maria Gracia, Cucinotta, and Congresspersons Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee. Recently the exhibition â€śA Look at Fashion Through Historic Family Photographsâ€ť of Cramerâ€™s images was shown in museums across the City.
At the request of Mayor Willie Brown he was commissioned to take the mayorâ€™s official portrait, which now hangs in San Francisco City Hall. It is Cramerâ€™s artistic eye behind the lens and his innate ability to quickly gain the trust of his subject that makes him the emerging photographer of choice. To view Cramerâ€™s work, schedule appointments, or arrange photo shoots, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or callÂ 487-9987.
Cramer gave a very short, very humble few words, thanking his family (both biological and extended) and friends for showing up to see him receive his award. â€śMy philosophy has been to do what you love and do what you do well, and photography is what my folks taught me,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™m so happy that my mother and father and relatives are here to celebrate this moment with me.â€ť
Since 2001, Out and VoxÂ® Vodka have celebrated fiercely talented gay men whose work has made an indelible mark on American style through the Vox/Out Voices of Style + Design Awards. This award honors openly gay artists and designers who are just beginning to establish a name for themselves. This yearâ€™s honoree was selected by local gay residents and past honorees, who joined together in hoping the award advances the honoreeâ€™s career. It may just be the big break Cramer is destined for!
â€śA wonderful way to commemorate this honor is when you make contact with publishers, producers, artist representatives, event planners, business leaders, and networkers to look for opportunities for Duane to be more than an emerging artist, but one that has achieved definitive success as an African-American artist that represents the best of San Francisco,â€ť said longtime Cramer supporter and friend Calvin Gipson.
â€śI am so excited to be here in honor of my friend Duane Cramer receiving this award for his outstanding achievement in photography,â€ť SF Commissioner of Veteran Affairs Veronika Cauley told Bay Times. â€śHe is a humanitarian. I am so honored that he is my friend, who has done wonderful work that expresses his creativity and his heart.â€ť She added, â€śI just met his mother, and she is so proud of her son.â€ť
â€śDuane is a San Francisco artist who I believe will reach the heights of what is the best of San Francisco,â€ť Gipson told Bay Times. â€śHe is just an extremely talented African American artist.
â€śI was one of the lucky recipients of a photo session with Duane, so itâ€™s really an honor and delight to see him get this award. He is truly an extraordinary photographer who is chronicling our community,â€ť former SF Supervisor and Democratic Party Chair Leslie Katz told Bay Times. â€śHe has one of the most incredible eyes that Iâ€™ve ever seen. Watching him in a photo session was like watching someone creating a masterpiece. He looks at something that an untrained eye would miss and manages to turn it into art. He is a wonderful contributor to our community.â€ť Katz revealed that her favorite photograph got taken when a meter maid had left her truck temporarily and Katz quickly hopped onto it, with Cramer draping the American flag over her shoulder and getting 10 shots in before the meter maid returned.