Derek Reinhardt, a prominent member of the Denver arts community, passed away early on the morning of July 25. He had created his own photography business, For Love of Still, and co-founded Welcome to the D.O.P.E. Game; he also did humanitarian work with Clean Water Around the World. He was creative, talented and driven. Here's what he wrote to accompany the self-portrait above:
We all have to make choices every day. Some days they are large and most days they're fairly simple. My problem is I think too much about things and it tends to look like I'm 'unhappy' or 'mad.' For the most part I am a happy person and if I'm standoffish It's normally because I'm trying to pull everything together. So yes I am fine and just because I'm not talking to you doesn't mean I'm mad or sad or anything else. I'm an introvert and just like handling some things on my own.
We asked Reinhardt's creative colleague and best friend, Jeremy Pape, to share some memories.
Westword: Welcome to the D.O.P.E. Game — tell me about this movement and Derek's involvement.
Jeremy Pape: A band of brothers dedicated to making art and promoting love and positivity. D.O.P.E. stands for "Don't Oppress Positive Energy." Derek was my roommate when Turner Jackson and I met, thus beginning the slow build of the dope game. Derek was always my go-to for making things work. I'd dream shit up and he'd make it a reality. For one of our first events, I made a video I felt like the city needed to see, so Derek helped me get a generator and projector, and we would ride around town at club let-outs and project the video outside on the sides of buildings for the world to see. That was D, down for everything and just wanted to see the world a better place.
List any/all humanitarian work Derek was involved in and how that fit into his creative work.
Derek was Jason Coates's right-hand man in Clean Water Around the World. He, again, saw Jason's vision and made it work. They went to both the Philippines and Haiti and planned to go to Ghana in the near future. Along with being the tradesman/handyman on both trips, Derek captured both adventures through gorgeous photos. His passion for life and adventure made him such an interesting photographer to follow.
What was Derek's creative vision or even his life vision? How did D see the world?
Derek just wanted to be a full-time photographer. I'm so glad he was able to realize that dream before he had to go. Derek was a realist to the core. He knew that life was a rocky road but strived to push the beauty in it. He, being from Commerce City, truly was a rose growing through the concrete. Just a fighter, learner, lover and all-around insanely bright light to all those around him. He just made things work. That was D.
Derek was loving and compassionate. Always pushing the ones around him as much as he pushed himself. He was selfless. Always giving without any expectation of anything in return.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"Photo of me with the girls at the orphanage. I can't even begin to explain the emotions this photo brings up."