We had the good fortune of connecting with Darren Roberts and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Darren, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?

I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather in Lubbock. They had three children of their own, so raising another one wasn’t really all that new to them. My mother wasn’t in the picture for the first part of my life due to some ill placed choices, so they adopted me when I was around 18 months old. They spoiled me rotten like all grandparents do, but they also taught me amazing values and made me a hell of a cook. They made sure I was raised in an environment that was loving, open for communication, and also made sure I was true to who I was, or as much as I would let myself. I was a very… exuberant child. I had a lot of quirks and made a lot of strange noises, most of which I have carried on into adulthood. I’m strange, there’s no doubt of that, and I’m 100% positive I have passed some of that strangeness along to my son.

I am the proud father to a wonderful, precocious, very free spirited six year old who is the absolute love of my life. His mother and I got married after college and had him after a stressful year of trying. Just as we gave up, there he was. I can remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. I definitely got in trouble for posting a photo of him before his mother could even see him, but I was too elated. He did give us a few scares. He developed febrile seizures which we later had diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy. After a few years on anti-convulsants and seeing a child neurologist, he has been seizure free for many years. Being my son, he is a very strange little dude. He likes to make noises, likes to pester the cats (also a huge cat person like myself), and loves to run around the house like a banshie screaming his favorite song lyrics he knows at the time. And I try to ensure he can have the freedom to do such. He has bright blue tinsel/hair accessories. Paints his nails just like I do. He paints whenever he wants, and we have at least three canvass hanging on the wall currently. He loves following me around when I have him along on a shoot, holding up his little iPhone taking photos along with dad. He is also remarkably kind.

Sadly, sometimes, life doesn’t always work out like the movies. My wife and I had our troubles, mainly due to the fact I hadn’t been true to myself for most of my life. I came out in 2020 and after a long hard process we decided to get a divorce. She has been, and will always be my very best friend and we are the best co-parents I think that can exist. She has allowed me to continue to be my truest self, and we will always consider our marriage and friendship a great victory. I felt that by being dishonest with my son and wife, I was not capable of being the best version of myself for my son. I didn’t want him growing up and feeling like his idea of what is right was a total fantasy. I wanted him to know that even though things don’t always work out, to quote my late father in law, “it’s all going to be okay.” I hope that I have cultivated an environment that will let him know even though you might be weird, and not really fit the mold we have all been taught is ‘right’, you can still be loved and thrive in life. I wanted him to know wherever life takes him, he knows someone is in his corner fighting for him and will always be there with unconditional, non-judgmental love.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started taking photos my Sophomore year of high school. Old school dark room, film developing, and printing, and to this day is by favorite method to photography. I kept up throughout high school and took a few art classes in college. After leaving school, I kept working on my craft on my own. I learned all that I could and implemented that into how I photograph. I love how cameras work and how a few setting changes can make huge differences. It’s a little like a science. You have to know what you’re doing at the right moment, otherwise, you might have a very upset bride/family member. While I do love weddings, I have a soft spot for family/lifestyle work as well. I love seeing my little families grow up in photos and I feel so blessed to be able to help capture a small part of someone’s history. I truly see each of my clients like family. While shooting, I enjoy keeping myself almost hidden and capturing the little things. I believe the best moments to capture are the ones happening in the background when everyone isn’t paying attention. I want people to know that they can come to me for any need, without fear. I want anyone, no matter who they are, to feel they are beautiful, and they have a safe space to be comfortable in their own skin. I have had my photograph taken professionally twice, once for this interview. During the shoot, I asked my friend what he believes we do that best helps make people feel at ease. We were in agreement, it’s our ability to be real with people and to allow others to be comfortable instead of making them pose in uncomfortable positions that don’t work. I feel strongly about not editing out things like scars and blemishes. Yes, I will take out things within reason, but I have always felt I have no right to edit the story of you, just document your journey along the way. My style is a bit more documentary, and while I want to say my style is dark and brooding, I have just as many light and whimsical photographs as well. You get the best of both worlds with me.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would probably start with food and ultimately end with food. We both like to eat, and that’s saying something because she is vegan. She has opened my eyes to many new things in life, and while I am not vegan, I do enjoy new things now and then. We would probably go to the new vegan restaurant I found the other day, Vegan Food House. They have fun ways of throwing new ingredients into everyday things you want to enjoy. I recently tried the Nashville hot ‘chicken’ sandwich, but with oyster mushrooms as the ‘meat.’ I would probably take us to a museum, the DMA or the Perot are two of my favorites. We would go around picking out things we would have in our own houses one day. Usually we have the exact same taste. She is literally a female version of me, so we are still finishing each others sentences even after all of these years. I would take her to my favorite Mexican vegan spot, El Palote Panaderia. They not only have amazing Mexican food, but also Pan Dulce (or Mexican sweet bread) that is quite delicious. Another one of our favorites is DaLat for Vietnamese food. She introduced me to Pho and I have loved it since and have even made it once before. Axe throwing has become a new favorite activity of mine, so would probably go to Whiskey Hatchet for a little aggression relief. From there, we would probably try to see some old coworker friends and meander around downtown catching up and living our best lives. We also really enjoy nature so we would probably then head to a local nature preserve. We are both in the veterinary field, so we usually always talk about work. New things we have seen, cases we enjoyed and of course, BFF banter. More food, Cris and Jon, a Vietnamese/Mexican fusion spot a little behind where Valley View Mall used to be located. A friend introduced to this hidden gem and I frequent it often. Tacos, noodles, egg rolls, kimchi Fries to name a few of the amazing things. And you can’t forget coffee. La La Land Kind Cafe has become by little slice of caffeinated heaven. They have a drink called the Butterfly Latte which is Pea Flower and Espresso which oddly states like Fruity Pebbles. And, their avocado toast is beyond delicious.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

First to my son. You are literally the reason I get up in the morning. My life is a much brighter place because of you. You are so sweet and brilliant I can not wait for you to change the world. Never, ever change. Always be the artistic, kind, and loving little man you have become. You have and always will be the best thing I’ve ever done with me life.

My ex-wife Hannah. She has been my best friend since junior year of high school. She is the mother of my child and for that I will always be grateful. She is the kindest person I have ever met, but she is also fiery, passionate and brilliant beyond what I am able to put into words. She has supported my in all of my crazy endeavors over the years, and has never allowed me to give up on photography because she knows deep down how much it means to me. I strive to have an ounce of her kindness most days. She truly makes the world a better place. Thank you for always having my back and I am thrilled to see what this next chapter will bring! Hannah owns Orr Reed Wrecking Company, a business she inherited from her father after his death in 2013. She, her mother, little brother and staff turn what some call junk into treasures to be reused in homes around Dallas.

My boyfriend, Anthony. He had helped me be comfortable with who I really am. I feel better in my own skin because of your unwillingness to let me feel bad about myself. You push me to be a greater version of myself every day. You are amazing at your craft and I I appreciate the drive you instill in me. I love being able to share my life with you and I am so excited to see where this next part of our journey takes us.

My friends. For always putting up with me and making sure I have plenty of subjects to shoot when I need content. For putting up with my endless sarcastic retorts and being able to fire right back. Zachary for helping me with editing, being the very best second shooter and being an overall amazing friend: I love you to death! Nathan for helping me get through some really tough times and vice versa. I love you and will always be thankful for our friendship. Jade for being there in college, staying up all night with bubble wands and driving to the middle of nowhere for Daft Punk appreciation adventures. I will always cherish our old and new memories! Melissa. You are so strong and you are so kind. I love everything you have accomplished and continue to accomplish no matter what life throws at you. Christy and Cassie. I do not have words for the love I have for you both. I love how close how we became over the years and I hope we get more random adventures this year! Karley, my BFFL, my other half. I may not be able to bother you all the time seeing as you’re in Seattle, but I think of you daily and I love you for being so kind to me on several dark days in my life. Thank you for making it your mission to make me like you all those years ago at work, I love you! SBM (inside joke).

My Metro Paws Animal Hospital Family, where I have called home for the past ten years. Dr. Deresz, you are the older brother I didn’t ask for and I love you for it. We get along SO well and I am grateful for everything you have taught me over the years and I am glad we are friends. AND we get to be fathers together! Dr. Gates, I have absolutely adore you from the time you screamed “BYE BESTIE!” at the top of your lungs when we left work the first week. You have become one of my best friends and I will always cherish our friendship. Dr. Campbell for making me laugh so much at work. We get along really well, you throw the sarcasm right back at me full force and you constantly continue to teach me new things. Amanda for always being there with kindness, a work ethic unlike anything I have ever seen, and always keeping me grounded when I get my head in the clouds for a little too long. You will always have a very special place in my heart. Rachel for being my work wife for literally YEARS. We have laughed together, cried together and grown together. Even though we don’t work together anymore, I am thankful for the many years we did have, and I still get to see you! My other teammates (Alma, Marty, Essence, Michelle, Lally, Deann, Jeniffer, to name a few), we couldn’t be the best without you all. And finally, Dr. Lavender and Dr. Sarpong. You are the most brilliant veterinarians I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. You have been beyond kind to my family over the years, gave me a job when I had zero experience, and allowed me to work my way up to surgical technician. I am, and will forever be thankful for the chance you gave me all those years ago, and I am so glad to be a part of this family.

Website: www.darrenlroberts.com

Instagram: @photoshock_88

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darrenlrobertsphotography

Image Credits
For photos of myself: Zachary Wilson – ZWStudios – Website: zip.pb.studio/ (IG: zwstudios) all other photographs: Darren L. Roberts Photography www.darrenlroberts.com

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