Born in Los Angeles, Danny grew up in a dual cultural environment between the United States and Turkey. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Therapy. Since graduating from Berklee in 2008, he has been living in Istanbul, working with child growth and development, psychiatric health, and trauma rehabilitation for refugees. He has facilitated workshops across Turkey at various universities, symposiums and festivals, and is a internationally published co-author. Danny is one of the pioneers of Music Therapy in Turkey, and is well-known for his work across Istanbul and other cities.
In his clinical work, Danny uses his extensive musical knowledge across a wide range of instruments, including the guitar, percussion, piano, drums, harmonica, vocals, ney, saz and oud. He is fascinated by the effects of music on human behavior, and aims to build positive relationships through musical interactions. He is inspired by those he works with, as he sees again each day the powerful impacts music can have.
Out of all the different activities and techniques Danny employs during his sessions, he is fondest of songwriting with participants. He has written literally hundreds of songs with clients both young and old, addressing myriad topics relating to the human experience. Some songs are happy, some are sad, but no matter their emotional impact, the process of building a song together with a group is one of the most wholesome experiences that one can have. In a world seemingly much divided, we find out that we are notreally all that different.
The songs I’ve put up are all old, and have very little chance of ever going on an album. So in the hope that they will be heard by someone, somewhere, here they are! Keep in mind that I am currently working on a whole new crop of songs, and will be putting together an album with them soon. So you’ll just have to wait for when they’re ready!
As a musician, I find great beauty in musical instruments. The time, effort and resources that have gone into the building of each instrument is unique. No two guitars are ever the same- though they may come from the same type of wood, they will never be the exact same wood. The sound produced by each instrument is therefore unique. And as a friend of mine, who happens to be a carpenter, once told me, “Wood is unforgiving.” That comment has always stayed with me, and I try to reflect that when taking photos of instruments.
Enough about music- let’s go back to around 2009, when I took an interest in photography. I purchased a budget DSLR, and began studying and practicing using books and the internet to guide me. The technical side was not as straight forward as I expected. For example, I was shocked to learn that in order to get a good photo of the moon, the shot must be underexposed, as the moon is actually a very bright object in the dark night sky. Difficult shooting scenarios like these required specialized techniques, and I began learning all about exposure compensation, High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography and more.
After I felt more comfortable with the technical aspects of the camera, I focused on learning composition. I bought a book on the subject, and it taught me some very basic but powerful techniques. A particularly important technique for me was the rule of thirds. While not always applicable, it remains to this day a primary reference when shooting/cropping my photos. I believe its effectiveness is a result of creating a contrast between the main subject (placed in one of the thirds) and the space throughout the rest of the photo. When done right, it instantly creates a highly artistic quality about the photograph.
After learning how to operate the camera and create some decent compositions, it was time to learn about the editing process. Back when I first started, I used iPhoto, and eventually upgraded to the now discontinued Aperture. I have since been using Adobe Lightroom, although I have not ventured into the madness that is Photoshop. I prefer to take a beautiful picture, and enhance it where necessary.
I particularly enjoy nature photography, capturing landscapes and wildlife, but I also do portraits on the rare occasion. I am lucky to travel around often, but perhaps more importantly, see beauty in the things around me. The world can, and indeed should be, viewed through both the micro-verse and macro-verse; the size of everything is proportionate to that of the next object, and photography has a unique ability to play with that balance.
Although I prefer to take nature photography, including landscapes and wildlife, every once in a while I get a lucky portrait shot of people. Now, I don’t particularly enjoy taking photos of people because I find it intrusive taking photos of others, even though it has become the norm now. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of respect for subject matter. For instance, in an ideal world, a photographer would ask his/her subjects before taking a photo. Sadly however, the legal and moral obligations are virtually non-existent, and every other person has become an unpaid member of the paparazzi.
Now, perhaps the single most important aspect of photography, and in life for that matter, is the power of inspiration. Inspiration is that abstract energy which has influenced everything from the creation of masterpieces to the falling of empires. It truly is one of the most mysterious elements in the universe, and those who learn how to harness it reap huge benefits for their trade. There are moments when I am walking, and I just see something that makes me stop and say to myself, “This is a beautiful moment. It must be captured!” If I have a camera handy at the moment, I take the opportunity. The same goes for music, as great musical ideas are fleeting and must be caught.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you have enjoyed the tour! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write them below and I’ll make an effort to get back to you! For more, follow me on Instagram!