Photographer Danny Damian Finds TikTok Fame Featuring Local Muses

Danny Damien, photographer
Photo by Danny Damian

You might not know Danny Damian, but you might know his work if you spend any time on TikTok. The photographer, who joined the popular app in January, makes videos on his page, dannydamianphoto, in which he approaches strangers and asks if he can take their photo. The result is a portrait that captures the personalities of local and visiting New Orleanians. In just three months, Damian’s account has amassed over 242,000 followers and 10.1 million likes.

Damian is from Carbondale, Illinois, and moved to New Orleans three years ago to obtain a psychology degree from the University of New Orleans and eventually go on to medical school. Raised in a small town, Damian was seeking adventure.

“New Orleans was thrilling to me and I knew I had to move there,” Damian said. “I was motivated to move because I grew up in a small town where nothing really happens.”

girl reading on grass
Photo by Danny Damian

Before pursuing psychology, Damian had worked in the creative field. He produced a show on PBS, made music, and dabbled in photography. He had chosen the path to medical school because it was “safe.”

Damian explained, “The farther I got in school the more unhappy and bored I was. I took a chance and decided to focus on doing something creative.”

He took to TikTok to focus on his photography and get the word out about his work. As far as his process, Damian goes out during the “golden hour” before sunset, when the light is best for photography. 

“I usually go to Jackson Square because it’s like a cheat code,” he said. “People are there to take photos. It’s a beautiful location and all of the street performers and artists there are prepared to interact with someone who is doing something different.”

Damian wanders all over New Orleans taking pictures of the people who make the city run and add unique character to his portraits. Cedric, the doorman at Hotel Monteleone, is one of his favorite subjects. Damian now considers him a friend.

He explained, “He is in my most viewed video, which also happens to be one my first videos ever. Cedric is very charming and you can get a sense of his sweet personality. A lot of people know him and recognize him from the video.”

Cedric, doorman at Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
Photo by Danny Damian

Damian admits that his videos started as a way to advertise his photography but have become a fun hobby to show off his art.

“For two weeks straight, I went out every day and had a new video every day,” he said. “My viewership quadrupled. I had seen similar videos online that included three elements: the interaction, the quality of the photo, and the overall presentation of the video as a whole. I thought that I could better execute all three of those elements. I stick to a very specific structure and approach it as a short film, rather than a social media clip, since that’s my background.”

As Damian continues with the project, he hopes to photograph more locals and workers in the French Quarter, especially since he worked as a waiter and manager for a year and a half at The Pelican Club.

More than a social media star, Danny is a full-time photographer. If you would like to book a session with him, you can find more information on his website

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