Summer of Travel

This summer at the studio has brought me a multitude of experiences that have kept me moving in and out of town for jobs. I just finished shooting an extensive advertising campaign for Institute for Professional Development (IPD) that involved traveling to 4  university campuses and making portraits of a wide variety of students. Indiana Wesleyan University, Brenau University, Huston-Tillutson University and Judson University were the chosen campuses and required me to escape the Arizona heat by traveling to Indianapolis, Elgin, Austin and Atlanta for up to a week at a time.

During each trip Jamie Petersen, Creative Director, and I toured the campus and worked with the film production crew on scheduling the subjects for a photo portrait session. The focus of the campaign was to showcase extended education options and to attract new students from all age ranges. The photographs will be used in high traffic public spaces such as bus wraps, billboards and banners in shopping plazas.


My job was to narrate the story of what your experience could be like at each university through portraiture, which is a certain area that I have over 30 years of success in. Each location had a different vibe and it’s own charm that I focused on in my pictures. Below is a suite of images from my experience at Brenau University in Atlanta, where a father/daughter were the subjects showing both of them on campus at the same university in different ways. This project reminded me of my work with the National Guard Civilian/Soldier campaign last winter.

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MITEL Products & Merger

I had the opportunity to work with MITEL to create a wide range of photographs of their products, business communication solutions. MITEL is in the telephone business and specializes with integrating networks and phones to help offices communicate quicker and more effectively. This project involved several location scouts, a large crew and two separate days of shooting on-location and in the studio.


We created a business to business portfolio, product portfolio and some artistic shots for graphic applications. The scope of the project was large and reminded me of the type of projects I produced when I was carving out my name in Phoenix.

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Since the shoot, MITEL has merged with a competitor, Aastra, to hopefully corner the business communication market. I look forward to working with the newer version of this company in the near future.

Spanish Colonial Furniture Book

While photographing a private political event in Sedona last March, I met Jerry Hirsch, Chairman, The Lodestar Foundation. He was clad in a brown blazer with a long white ponytail and a turquoise bolo tie, which made his stand out amongst the international backdrop of the event. We had a great conversation and he mentioned he had a project that I would be interested in. Several months later we met to discuss his ideas about creating a book about his Spanish Colonial furniture collection. Jerry is my neighbor so we met at his home to look at the pieces he would like photographed. Jerry’s home is something like a very comfortable museum, containing artifacts from across the seas, beautiful tapestries and several outdoor garden areas with water and trellises.

Due to the preciousness and fragility of these handmade relics we decided to bring the studio to his home and photograph the furniture one by one. Our trusty intern, Laura Marks, was in charge of logging each piece’s caption including title, material, time period, location and provenance. She was also the designer that worked on the book layout and typesetting.

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Spanish Cupboard, 18th Century Mexican Door Panel & Hardware, Rituals GalleryThis book was a collaborative project that required several rounds of fact-checking with dealers, commissioning a historical essay, and writing a forward with Jerry to acquaint readers with the contents of his collection. Jerry’s ultimate goal for this hard cover, 80 page book is to use it as a portfolio of his collection to send to potential buyers and dealers.


I worked on a project like this one years ago with the Phoenix Art Museum, which was a book titled “The Art of Turned-Wood Bowls”. In those days, books like these were produced by McMurray Publishing and I did the photography portion. Now, I use the same program to develop the digital files and create a book layout in studio.


National Guard Civilian//Soldier Campaign

I was recently employed by the Army National Guard in Washington D.C. to make images for a new direct mail recruitment campaign. I flew to Ohio to meet Jeff and Dave, of Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens, for an intense 3 days of production because the most current recruits were in Cleveland. What I saw was such a diverse set of motivated young people with high aspirations and a willingness to help us with our project. We recruited about 10 soldiers to showcase their civilian interests and their role as a National Guard soldier.


These youth all have their own passions aside from being a soldier and I witnessed first hand the diversity of interest in this group. It was a pleasure to see them in action in uniform and civilian attire. This trip reminded me that balancing individuality and empathy is such a crucial part of maintaining and protecting a successful life.


The Bianco’s, Jackie O and the Painting

I got a call from Leonard Bianco, father of Marco and Chris of Pizzeria Bianco/Pane Bianco, about a painting I photographed for him years ago. Leonard had always been a painter and had worked in New York for decades with his family as professional wine label makers among other things. His craft brought him into contact with an colorful gamut of socialites in the Modern New York including the Kennedy Family. As an artist, he was awarded the opportunity to paint this portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy and daughter Catherine.

On the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s untimely death his painting has accrued a new cultural value as a symbol of elegance and timelessness in the face of political and familial hardship. The painting stands about 6 feet tall, which makes the figures nearly life-sized.

Leonard asked me to make fine art prints of this work to send to to interested parties for consideration of acquisition. I used my boutique printing company, Sonoran Print Editions, to complete the task and also picture what it must have been  like to be the painter with this duet as your subject matter. What an experience.


General Update: Veterans Day

Over the last year I have had the good fortune of photographing some highly decorated individuals from the United States Military, for which I am very proud.  General Petraeus, General Jack Keane and General Tommy Franks are among the many soldiers I have captured on camera through unique invitations to photograph private political meetings. Next week, I travel to Cleveland for a another military job with a group of Reservists.

I thought that I’d share a few portraits today as a Veterans Day salute from Vermillion Photo.

generalpetraeus©Dan VermillionGeneralKeane©Dan Vermillion-2 ©Dan Vermillion-3

Des Moine, Iowa

I had the opportunity to visit De Moine, Iowa this weekend and viewing the wonderful Pappajohn Sculpture Park that consists of 4.4 acres in Downtown’s Western Gateway now displaying 24 sculptures worth a combined $40 million. Local philanthropists and lifelong art collectors, John and Mary Papajohn donated their sculptures to the Des Moines Art Center to create a new public art space in partnership with the City of Des Moines. Des Moines Art Center was established in 1948 and has a large collection of contemporary art from 19th and 20th century artists.

One of the sculptures was by Keith Harring, who I had the opportunity of photographing in 1986 when he visited downtown Phoenix.



Heres a sculpture of “Nomade” by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.


General Franks and the Lauritzen Gardens

I had the chance to do a job for Institute of Personal Development, University of Phoenix this weekend for an on location shoot in Iowa which entailed the shooting of General Tommy Franks in Oskaloosa, Iowa, home of William Penn University.

Later that weekend I visited my family in Omaha and hung out in the Lauritzen Gardens. My parents, sisters/brother, nieces and nephews were all there to have a small family reunion and enjoy each other’s company.

Check out my flickr for photos my Dad and nephews at the River and my Family at the Lauritzen Gardens.


Feature: Arizona Business Today Interview

I have been a National Bank of Arizona member for 19 years as a small business owner and as an individual. They’re the reason I was able to purchase my downtown studio and continue to sculpt out a career in photography. Recently I was asked to interview with Arizona Business Today to talk about the relationship between my business and my bank as part of an ongoing series profiling Phoenix businesses. Thank You National Bank of Arizona for being a faithful financial associate and a supporter of the Arizona community.

Check out the article.

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Keith Haring in Phoenix


The search in Dan’s archives was not without reward this week. I was poking around the piles of negatives when I uncovered something quite unexpected but also equally as exciting – I recognized someone! Keith Haring’s visit to Phoenix in 1986 was documented by Dan in a crowded room filled with children and adults down the street from his studio at Phoenix Art Museum.

Keith Haring is the father of street art and one of the biggest icons in art of the 21st century. He also is somewhat of an urban legend around Phoenix because he was known to make murals in downtown Phoenix, which have since been destroyed.

Haring traveled to Phoenix to conduct a drawing workshop at the Phoenix Art Museum with children and Dan had the amazing opportunity to record Haring interacting and making a collaborative work of art with his young audience.  Although this event seemed so simple in 1986 it has great significance to Phoenix, especially since the he passed away only 4 years later from AIDS.

Click Here to read more about his trip to Phoenix from Downtown Phoenix Journal