Who makes our cool products look so hot? 5 minutes with photographer Dean Van Dis

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The start of DVDP (Dean Van Dis Photography): When I finished college, I worked freelance in other studios as a shooter. That was the process. Essentially I worked for myself. I like the freedom, the diversity of work, meeting different people all the time (including furniture designer Patricia Urquiola) and working in different settings.

Working with izzy+: When I moved back from Portland (Oregon) to Grand Rapids, I started an izzy project working out of a studio through a local creative firm. When I quoted an 8-day project for izzy, I rented my own space. That was the first 100% Dean Van Dis Photo (DVDP) project.

Long-term relationships: It’s cool I still work with izzy. Some of my success is based on that kind of repeat client business. DVDP has an easy way of doing things. It’s honest. It’s a good experience. It’s our West Michigan work ethic.

I wanted to be… An architect. I am completely inspired by architecture and furniture design. It’s amazing to be in my hometown and be in these amazing places and take photos of these amazing products.

What I don’t want to do: Not be active. Not be stimulated. Not be inspired.

Seeing the world: Photography has allowed me to travel and experience different cultures. When I went to China, I was able to do the normal tourist things like see the Great Wall. I also went to rural areas, where we met local people. I saw that the joy of a child is the same no matter where they live in the world.

Photography has… Changed my life. I’m excited because it started from nothing and it’s so successful now. I love that I’m quoting and billing projects, shooting in studio and on location, and mentoring talented people. Every aspect of it is awesome. Photography allows me to work with so many people. It’s a natural thing. It’s what I am.