Dan Francis Photography | Blog


March 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The following images are an ongoing personal project of mine: "Frozen Memories." I started the project a couple years ago and have recently picked up the project again. I have kept many things from my childhood.  I've carried them from my parents’ house, to my first apartment and now to the basement of my first home. It has come full circle now that my son plays with my childhood toys.

I’ve looked through photo albums, toy boxes, and bins with my name on it. These go back as far as August 11th in the year 1982. I hope to never be done with this project. I’ll keep freezing my memories for myself and family.  I hope you enjoy a brief look into my childhood and If you feel the need to do this for yourself, please do. It would be great to see other people do this around the world.


4th Birthday He-Man:

Above image shows me at my 4th Birthday holding Sy-Klone figure. I’m pretty sure my first movie that I went to was Masters of the Universe in 1987 (that or it was Batman in ‘89). Now, almost 30 years later, there will be a new live action He-Man movie that I will mostly likely take my son to see. (Which he will be 5ish when it comes out.) (Along with Star Wars.)

G.I. Joe:

I remember going to the store (probably Target) with my mom to buy this back in ‘91. It had the look of a National Geographic photographer. (If you look at the midsection, he has a camera attached to his vest along with binoculars around his neck.)


Hulk Hogan:

I grew up in the ‘80s, which meant all things awesome. That included Hulkamania. I was too young to remember the body slam of Andre at Wrestlemania III, but I have many other memories of a man who said, “To train: say your prayers and eat your vitamins.”  Fact: Hogan and I share a birthday.


My first comic book I ever bought was the “Death of Superman” issue. I heard it from friends in class and I remember seeing the newscast that they were going to kill off Superman. It was in 1992 and I was 9 years old. I remember going to our local store, Omni, and reserving it. The comic book included a 40” poster, an armband, an obituary clipping, some stamps and a tombstone card. They were all enclosed in a black bag with the Superman symbol in blood.  (This was all for $2.50.) As soon as I got the comic home, my parents told me that I shouldn’t open it since it might be worth something someday. (Probably should have bought two.)  Anyway, yeah, I opened it. Back then there were no internet spoilers so I had no idea what to expect. In the year 2006, on opening day of Superman Returns, I went to get a tattoo on my upper back. What I decided on was the Kryptonian symbol of HOPE.

Best Buds:

For around 25 years, I’ve been friends with Kiel Elliott. Our friendship was build on our mutual interests in comics, tv shows, wrestling, and movies. If you’ve seen the show The Goldbergs, the youngest son, Adam, pretty much was just like Kiel and me.   Kiel’s house was in the city which was a block from our school. It was surrounded by other friends’ houses. Since my house was out of the city limits, his home became my second house.  Almost every weekend we went to a movie, or rented games/movies at the local video store, and yes…played outside. He now lives in L.A. and is a Creative Director for Hazy Mills who produces such shows as “Grimm”, “Hollywood Game Night”, and previously “Hot in Cleveland.” I’ve flown out there a few times and was on set during one of his tapings. He usually flies back here once or twice a year as well.


The Band Bush:

In the ‘90s, a band called “Bush” released an album called Sixteen Stone. Believe it or not, there was a time when MTV played music videos. I remember waiting to see the 1994 video “Come Down” which was filmed through a fisheye lens. I later went to my first concert with my friends Kiel Elliott and Eric Smith. The concert also included the Goo Goo Dolls and No Doubt.


I wasn’t one to jump into games. My friends were bigger gamers than I was. But don’t get me wrong, when I was growing up, my two older brothers and I still had a Genesis, an original Nintendo with such games as Mario/Duck Hunt, Paper Boy, Bomberman, River City Ransom, Ninja Turtles, etc. I even scored a Gameboy for Christmas  in the early ‘90s. Playstation was my first game console that I owned for myself. I had it hooked up in my room and many hours were spent playing.

My High School Jacket Badge:

The badge was earned as a sophomore in high school after lettering in cross country (1998) and track (1999).  I became co-captain in cross country in ‘99 and 2000 along with All E.D.C.    In 2001, I became captain for track and field.

MVP award:

I earned Most Valuable Runner award during my senior year of cross country.  I typically placed in the top 15 in the races. One of my achievements that year was running 4 miles under 20 minutes.

Family Reunion Race in Minnesota (1992) to Australia Cross Country USA (2001)

In the Summer of 2001, I flew to Australia to compete in the Down Under Games: TEAM USA vs. Team Australia. It was my last race. It completed my journey from my first race when I was young and ran against my Grandpa’s brother, “The Great OZ.”


The Beatles:

My mom was an original fan from the ‘60s, she bought and kept the original Beatles’ Album: “Meet the Beatles” and recently handed it over to me. I have it framed in my house. When I grew up, I, of course, knew about the Beatles, but I never really listened until I was older. In the ‘90s my mom got the new Beatles anthology tape for Christmas. I remember listening to the interviews and the music, but again, never really listened until the the album “One” was released on CD and on the iPod quite a few years later. But, “Hey Jude” was an early favorite of mine along with “Let it Be” which I remember singing in elementary school.  In 2014, 50 years after the Beatles landed in America, Paul McCartney came to Fargo. So, I got my mom a ticket and she was able to experience her first Beatle concert with me.


So, that's a sneak peak of some of the items I have saved. I've got a box full of stuff that I can still freeze. Maybe more photos and stuff that happened after High School.

1 of 1: Limited Edition

February 05, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Photographer Introduces 1 of 1: A Concept That Brings Back the One-of-a-Kind Appeal of Fine-Art Photography


In this digital age, photography seems to have become everyone’s domain. Anybody with a smart phone is considered a photographer, and even professional, copyrighted photos might be shared hundreds of times via Facebook, Instagram and the Internet.

Now Fargo photographer Dan Francis is introducing “1 of 1,” a photo series that he hopes will bring back the unique appeal and special cache of fine-art photography.

“When you have a painting, it’s an original painting and that’s it,” Francis says. “You could repaint it, but it will never be exactly the same.” Prints can be made, but they are never as good or as valuable as the real thing. Likewise, the name of Francis’ project, “1 of 1,” plays off the concept of limited-edition printmaking or photography, in which prints are marked “1/50,” or “1 of 100.”

Francis plans to bring the same concept to a select portion of his own work. He will choose from his collection of unprinted fine-art images, print a photo using Hahnemühle Fine Art paper to the most exacting standards, then frame, matte, sign and number it, “1 of 1.” The image will then be permanently deleted from his computer. Anyone who purchases the photo will receive a certificate of authenticity that guarantees it has never been replicated and is the only existing image of its kind. In doing so, Francis hopes to preserve the artistry of certain handpicked images.

Francis says he was motivated to develop the “1 of 1” concept in an endeavor to push himself to create the best work possible. “There will be a select few images from my past work, but this endeavor will continue on throughout my life,” he says. “The goal is to think more conceptual photographs, print them on the finest paper available and then archive them. I still hold onto a favorite film photograph of my childhood, and it’s been with me for almost 30 years. It’s the only copy I have of that image. When you care about something and it’s one of a kind, you take care of it as best as possible.”

For Francis, the “1 of 1” concept is a way to preserve the quality and uniqueness of his chosen work. “It’s a way to bring a uniqueness back into photography again,” he says. “It’s just a way to choose the best of the best vs. just having a computer full of images you don’t print. It’s taking all those 0s and 1s and turning them into a real image.”

Born and raised in Fargo, N.D., Francis is a Certified Master Professional Photographer and college photography instructor. Francis has been honored as a Professional Photographers of America Silver-Level Photographer of the Year. His work appeared as the cover image for the B&W International magazine for fine art. In January of 2013 he was awarded the Highest Portrait Print honor of PPA as a Grand Image Award Nominee. Francis is also a five-time Kodak Gallery Award Winner for his fine-art images.

Dan Francis Photography (www.danfrancisphotography.com) is located in downtown Fargo, 10 8th Street, Suite 200.

“The prints are posterity, not the negatives.” - Brett Weston

Contact: Dan Francis, 701.238.7185



Moments to stop and realize what photographers are doing.

January 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment


I took this photograph on the California Coast just a couple hours after arriving at LAX. I love the Quote from the movie "One Hour Photo"

I've had this photo in a folder "To work on" for awhile. Its not an image that stands out with all my other street scenes, but for some reason I've been wanting to express something with it. I think this quote is perfect on why I even took the image to begin with. I feel he's smiling behind that camera. The way his cheeks are raised would confirm this. It's a simple moment that happened while I was on the beach in L.A. but it stopped me from moving on and made me notice. This picture of her could be framed and hanging on his wall at work or home. It could be something he stares at everyday and smiles at, or it could be simply in a folder on his computer titled: "Someday_print" Either way, don't forget the power of photography. Selah

My TOP 7 Runner-up Photographs in the last 10 years.

December 22, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

And the TOP 7 Runner-up Photographs are.


These are a few that I felt were worthy of showcasing. They just didn't make the cut of the Top 7These would be what you call the Nominations or runner-up photographs in the last ten years. There are a few that would have made this list, but for reasons to be later revealed in January I cannot.

Another teaser will be posted at the end of the blog as well.

Last weeks Teaser spelled out: "Who will own the one?"

In no particular order here are my top 7 runner-ups! 


"CLOUDSCAPE" 2006 (Framed and showing at the Uptown Gallery.)

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon 2006. Drove there with my Aunt who lives outside of Las Vegas. Beautiful day with some wonderful clouds as you can see.


: Runner-up 2 : 

"American Wild Horse" - 2010 (Framed and showing at the Uptown Gallery.)

"American Wild Horse"

Out photographing for the day at Medora, ND. Wild Horse in the Theodore National Park.


: Runner-up 3 : 

"Solitude" 2010 (Framed and showing at the Uptown Gallery.)

Photographed on the same day as the wild horse in Theodore Nat. Park - Medora, ND)


: Runner-up 4 : 

"Waiting" - 2009 (soon to be at the Uptown Gallery)


Photographed on the coast of Oregon driving down Coastal Highway 101


: Runner-up 3 : 

"Hometown Hero" 2013

Conceptual idea involving a HERO stopping a car that's being chased by police down Broadway in Fargo, ND.  Model: Than photographed in studio, car was photographed in junk yard while the police were photographed from a parade.


: Runner-up 2 :

"Newsie Troubles" 2012

Newsie Trouble

I photographed my nephew dressed as an old style news boy sitting outside our local Newspaper building "The Forum" Old Newspaper is an actual early 1900's newspaper. Before photo was taken, I put the clothes in a pile of mud and stepped on them to get the dirty look.


: Runner-up 1 : 

"The Keeper's Watch"

the Keeper's Watch

Photographed in Northern California just out of the Redwoods but still driving on the Coastal Highway 101 from Oregon. I love the fact that the man is standing right there where the eye leads you from the path. I had to flip this image as the bridge was actually on the right side, but needed to lead your eye from the bridge to the road to the lighthouse  (Flows left to right.)


Teaser 2

#1 of my top 7 images that I've created in the last 10 years.

December 15, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


Title: “The Traveler”

October 2011

Canon 7D, 70-200mm, 100mm @F/8, ISO 100


Score: Perfect 100, PPA North Central District 2012

Top ND Portrait 2012

Judges Choice Award at Northern Light Convention

Kodak Gallery Award

International Nominee for the Grand Image Award

  -Top 10 Portrait for the year of 2012 in the PPA International Competition.


And now…My number one print I’ve created in the last ten years.

The Traveler was created in October of 2011 in my studio. I asked my cousin, Matthew Burkholder, to model for my Steampunk theme. Matthew is the Son of the Keith, who modeled for my #5, "Lost In Translation" image.

(Steampunk: is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American Wild west Retro-futuristic.) - Wiki

Matthew was involved / lived to be in Theatre. He portrayed hundreds of different characters through his career in Fargo, Boston, NYC, and Alabama. He was my only choice for the Traveler. He showed up at my studio and was ready to try on the outfit I had purchased.

The Shoot:
I added a few additional items such as the winged gear sprocket (found on his left lapel.) I also took a watch and broke the front glass and that was placed on his left wrist.  There was also a pocket watch chain coming from a gear pin that is hovering on his right side. The double broken watches help signify the Traveler is out of time.

Having a little bit of gray in his goatee and hair shows that he’s been around for some time and has many stories to tell. He also has a scar on his neck that shows that he’s been through some tough fights in his travels.   The goggles were, of course, needed to finish off the look.

In the studio I had a yellowish-brown painted canvas background. Its texture looked Victorian enough, and I knew it would be in black and white so the color didn’t really matter. I had the chair a few feet from the background and asked him to simply lean back and look beyond. I had a single light feathered camera left.

Post Processing:

After the shoot, I did my usual culling of images and found the one pose that would work perfectly. I brought the image into NIK Silver EFEX, just like I did with the train image, the Vietnam wall, and the escalator image.  I got what was needed, a more contrast, selectively toned image and imported it into Photoshop.
The process in Photoshop was working with multiple layers and darkening all the lighter toned parts of the wardrobe.

I darkened the chrome on the goggles, I took off the shine on the gears and put the ascot / handkerchief on a separate layer to darken it way down since it was a brighter tan and it was competing with the face for the brightest part of the image. I added a bit of contrast on his neck scar so it would pop a bit more and be more noticeable. I also lightened (dodged) the broken watch area so that would show up a bit more. 

About Matthew:

Matthew took my odd vision and simply brought an emotion and uniqueness to it. He was the perfect casting choice and he had an academy award performance. It wasn’t my camera, lens, lighting that made this photo unique. He didn’t sit in a chair to get makeup done for hours; I don’t even think he combed his hair.
The performance is the way he sat in the chair, the way he knew how to bring the emotionless expression in his face.  It’s bringing an emotion to a viewer without saying a word on screen. A few months after this photograph, Matthew found out that a cancer he had beaten a few years back had returned. At the end of 2012, this time the cancer may have won the second battle, but the way he impacted his friends and family won the war. He will never be known as a person who gave up. His humor was there until the end; his positive attitude was unlike anything that could have been expected. To this day, I still have people coming up to me and telling me how much Matthew had an impact on their life as a theatre director, an instructor at MSUM, NDSU and Alabama University. He was a remarkable person and I’m so glad I got to show so many people this image of a unique man.

  at Matthew's hospital room.

“The Traveler”

The traveler is leaving. His time with us is up.

The energy within him is running out,
and we believe him to be within the stars, once where he had lived before.

Before he had arrived, he was once living within the stars,

he made his way here to this planet,  now he has returned home.

The traveler is leaving us.
We shall not see him in this form again, but we shall see him within us all.
Close your eyes, look up to the sky and look for him, for he is there.
He is there until he falls back down.


Also, now that the countdown is over... Here is a teaser for 2014.



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