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@Work: D&D Studio

Nov. 26, 2007 — As people walk into D&D Studio in Christiansted, each is greeted warmly by photographer Ted Davis. Davis said many special relationships on St. Croix have begun at the photography studio.
"We take pride in making the studio a welcoming, warm and fun place," Davis said.
Davis, originally from Trinidad, knows the colors of the Caribbean — the hot pinks, brilliant turquoise and lush green in photos at Davis and his partner Sam Dike's studio.
"I push the button on the camera and Sam pushes the button on the calculator," Davis said about the partnership.
Davis first took an interest in photography when his dad gave him a camera at the age of nine. While in college at the University of Texas, Davis began to get paid for commercial photojournalism.
After college, Davis moved to California. He spent 20 years in Hollywood working in front of and behind cameras. As an actor, he landed parts on "Seinfield," "Doc Hollywood," "Just Shoot Me," "Married With Children" and "West Wing." Davis also did a stint as the royal photographer for the Sultan of Brunei.
Eleven of his photos were published in the November Caribbean Travel magazine in a story featuring St. Croix. "People are stopping in the studio after having read the magazine," Dike said.
Two weeks ago Davis and Dike participated in the International Caribbean Art Fair in New York City. Davis said it was a great show and they sold a lot of prints. "When you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere," Davis said, with a nod to Frank Sinatra.
In August 2004, Dike, also a real-estate agent, got a call from a friend who landed a job in St. Croix asking Dike to help with house hunting. "It was love at first sight, when we saw St. Croix" Davis said.
Davis and Dike had been thinking about a move up the California coast but instead moved to St. Croix in 2005. "We chose St. Croix because of its small town feel, a big change of pace from Los Angeles," Davis said. "It is perfect here, America in the Caribbean."
The partners opened the studio at 55 Company Street in July of 2006. "The location is perfect, we get a good steady flow of locals and tourists," Dike said.
Davis compares the studio to going to the movies because the displays are changing all the time. There are five other local photographers with consignment work at the studio: Brenda Brown Taylor, Barbara Cooper, Elly Anderson, C.T.R., Ray Miles and Chris Smith. "With the number of photographers on display there is something for everyone," Davis said.
Davis is always working on new processes to get a new look. He does a lot of unique art using scanners, different color lights and color negatives. Different types of cameras and backgrounds, such as black velvet, make something as simple as a mango jump out at you, he said.
Davis recounted in a recent interview how he waited more than an hour for a soldier crab to make a move for the perfect shot. "I explore and have fun with everything I see," Davis said.
Davis, using archival papers and inks to ensure print permanence and quality, individually prints the pieces. The matting and framing is done by Dike.
"I have repeat business with people who are starting to collect my work," Davis said. "It's a flattering experience."
The studio is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To see Davis' prints and information go to www.teddavisphotography.com.
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