Valentine’s Day: From A Man’s Eye


Derek Blanks
Derek Blanks may not look familiar, but his work as a photographer is known to the masses. He’s the man behind the “Alter Ego” photography project. Derek is responsible for to capturing the best shots of celebrities like Kelly Rowland, Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé. It’s time to take him from behind the scenes and put him front and center. He’s been married for 10 years, so his perspective on Valentine’s Day is a knowledgeable one. Let’s see how he does in the spotlight of love.

Do you and your wife celebrate Valentine’s Day?
We do. I try to celebrate every holiday because of my work ethic. I work a lot, so what ever she wants to do that will make her feel special, I try to make sure I do that.

You’ve been married for 10 years. That’s a lot of Valentine’s Days.
Yes. It is. A lot of times I have to push myself to be creative. I try to keep it fresh.

So what’s Valentine’s Day like for you?
The most memorable would be when my wife and I first started dating, I kept note of a lot of things we did. So for Valentine’s Day, I did a soundtrack and I called it something like, “Our Love.” But the soundtrack was images of us together, but it was laid out like a CD. The packaging was photos of us from over the time we met. She loved it, and she still has it to this day.

I can’t lie. I made a CD of love songs for an ex-boyfriend, but I didn’t finesse it like you. I just put it in a bag of Hershey Kisses.
I realized that it’s more valuable when you put the initiative in it. Of course, handbags are nice, but when you make something by hand and put your all in it just to show the love, it goes a lot further.

Has your wife done anything special for you on Valentine’s Day because a lot of men can’t say that a woman has?
That’s why I love my wife. She’s independent, but she doesn’t make everything all about her. I remember I came home, and she had rose pedals everywhere. She had white chocolate covered strawberries and white chocolate is my favorite. She had dinner, and she even made this huge Rice Krispie treat that was shaped in a heart. It was really nice because even though it was for me, it was something that we both could enjoy.

What would be the perfect Valentine’s Day for you and your wife?
The perfect Valentine’s Day would be a day when I would turn off my phone and all of my electronics. We could to an island or a resort where can just exile ourselves from modern technologies and just concentrate on us. Make it day just about our relationship. I know she would love that, and I think that would be most appreciated than any gift I can give.

BONUS! Verse Simmonds dishes on what he thinks could be the perfect V-Day!