Celebrating an Old Soul: Todd Danforth’s Journey

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When ShoutoutLA interviewed Todd Danforth, he told this story: 

As a child, I remember a particular photo album my Grandmother kept safely stashed away in her closet. The album felt special compared to all the others, with its peacock printed technicolor cover, each page a collage of black and white photographs from her wedding day in 1949. [It had the] kind of black and white photographs that appear metallic at different angles -- microscopic silver particles suspended in time. I was enchanted with this album, seeing my Grandmother in her gown of light taffeta, lace neckline and sleeves, long train, and finger-tip length veil. And her prayer book with streamers of baby’s breath and sweet pea. With each turn of the page, I was taken back to my grandparents’ beginning, before they had children and before they started their lives together.”

After reading his words, my mind created an indelible image of a small boy, reaching gingerly for his Grandmother’s wedding album and soaking in each detail. My heart swelled as I imagined his Grandmother’s pride, watching him tenderly and reverently turn the pages, soaking in the beauty and enchantment of each image. She knew he was an old soul. 

Those magical moments set the course for the talents Todd would later share with the world. It was his love for his family and his desire to maintain a legacy that consumed him and shaped his life path. 

While Todd’s passion for photography began early, it crystalized when he started studying photography in college. He began to chronicle his family in what he calls an “ever-evolving long term documentary project.” Blending his love of photography with artful storytelling came naturally, so he followed those passions and launched Todd Danforth Photography in his home state of Massachusetts while still attending Art School. 

Todd loved what he was doing, and his business was steadily growing, but something seemed off. Despite his family’s acceptance of his queer identity, he couldn’t escape the small, unspoken ways he kept a part of himself hidden from much of the world.

Here he was, witnessing history firsthand as Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage. Other states followed suit in a steady build-up to 2015 when the United States Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land. 

Despite these landmark changes, Todd feared if he embraced his identity in business and used his art to highlight same-sex marriages, he might ultimately lose clients. And yet, he had to ask himself if he wanted to work with people who didn’t respect and accept him for who he is. How could he do his best work if he was obscuring a part of himself?

That’s when he decided to move his business to California. If he was going to do his best work, he couldn’t concern himself with what other people were thinking. He knew he wanted to celebrate himself as an LGBTQ+ business professional, and California was the perfect place to reimagine Todd Danforth Photography. And he’s never looked back. What he’s learned during his journey of enlightenment puts Todd in the ideal position to be a role model and mentor for other LGBTQ+ business owners. 

And a funny thing happened while Todd was celebrating and honoring his authentic self: he met Adam Neal, and they fell in love. Together Todd and Adam are the owners and photographers who design and execute the magic at Todd Danforth Photography. 

And the best news yet? 

They’re planning their own wedding. 

And you can be sure they will document it in all its glory for future generations.


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