As the producer of “Celebrate Hunt County” since 2019, veteran photographer and filmmaker DeAnna Byrd brings the lives of local folks into the spotlight.
Byrd’s interviews focus on people and their stories. She has presented videos of performing artists—singers, dancers, musicians and bands, as well as visual artists—painters, sculptors, fiber artists, muralists and jewelry designers.
She chronicles inspirational accounts from pastors who preach from the pulpit and those who deliver their message at a laundromat or at a marina.
Some minister by providing food and assistance for the homeless and the needy. Byrd’s short features encompass all manner of interesting people from bull riders, bus drivers and race car drivers to beekeepers, fishing guides and circus performers.
“Celebrate Hunt County” also records events such as the Bois D’Arc Bash, the Downtown Stroll, Bras for the Cause and the Fourth of July Parade on Park Street.
“I absolutely love my job!” Byrd said recently. “I feel blessed to produce ‘Celebrate Hunt County’ and showcase the people who are so beautiful and wonderfully made. It isn’t always an easy task to produce new episodes each week, and sometimes I have to make sacrifices in my life. But the reward is well worth it, and I see my role as a way to share truth.
“I do everything from scheduling interviews, then interview for story content, schedule and shoot the B-Roll/Action Shots (alongside my second shooter, Tiffany Lynn). I edit each episode as well.
“Derek Price, who owns the Celebrate Media Group, reviews my work and posts the episode on social media each Thursday.”
Byrd became interested in photography during her childhood.
“I was probably 11 or 12 when I started having a camera on my hip just about everywhere I went,” she said. “I was known as the person who was always taking pictures. Eventually, I expanded to film. I love to give someone else a glimpse of something that I see.”
Byrd’s children are 15-year-old Danicha and 13-year-old Dean.
“When my kids were toddlers, I took many pictures of them,” she said. “I then had people coming to me asking if they could pay me to take pictures of their children.
“I am passionate about photography and film. They bring another level of life by allowing others to see things through my eyes.”
In addition to working on “Celebrate Hunt County,” Byrd has owned a company called Divine Designs for 14 years.
“We do all kinds of things from logos, videos and commercials. We help a business to redo its image on social media and to create events,” she said. “Still, Divine Designs’s principal focus has always been on weddings. Last weekend, we did three weddings. During the pandemic things were slow, but brides have rescheduled and the wedding industry is booming now.”
Instead of merely filming the wedding ceremony, Byrd creates a special visual remembrance.
“It’s one day in people’s lives that can be very hectic,” she said. “Sometimes everything does not go as the bride and groom had planned, but I try to go in there and capture the beauty and all of those perfect moments. I piece them together so that the couple can have a cinematic memory of the day.
“My wedding experience is extensive. When I lived in Dallas, I managed two wedding facilities, the Alexander mansion in Garland and Chandler’s Garden Weddings and Special Events in Carrollton. Because of my background as an event coordinator, Byron Taylor hired me to be an event coordinator and director of events for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. I did that on a part-time basis while I was also working on ‘Celebrate Hunt County.’ The work at the Chamber was awesome; I definitely have a heart for event organizing and making things come together.”
Although she is a self-proclaimed “busy bee,” Byrd has yet another business called “One” or “One by Divine Design.”
“This is my personal ministry, and it’s not bound to just Hunt County, ” she said. “I’ve been to Arizona and Kansas to film. We did an episode and also shot a music video with a Christian musical artist and missionary who serves in Nicaragua. The music video is titled ‘Glory Into Me.’”
Byrd serves as the vice-president of Public Relations for the Quinlan ISD Education Foundation and is a member of Altrusa in Greenville.
As she continues to meet and talk to the various folks who appear in “Celebrate Hunt County,” Byrd remains optimistic about her job.
“I genuinely love to get to know these people,” she said. “While viewers get a taste of their stories for the two or three minutes that our films last, I get to have a 45-minute interview where they share their thoughts with me. I appreciate it when people open up to me.
“It’s difficult to narrow down any favorites because I care about them all, but I want to mention Laura Dunn because she has impacted my family greatly. Laura and her husband own a circus, and she has taken my teenage daughter Danicha under her wing and has begun to mentor her. Danicha is learning aerial silks from her. I never would have imagined that doing an episode about Laura would have completely turned my daughter’s life around. Laura’s heart is made of gold.”
“Celebrate Hunt County” offers Byrd the chance to grow within the community and to get to know individuals and also their families.
“I am thrilled that I have become close to some of these folks,” she said. “These relationships are priceless; I am even included in family events. I’m welcomed into their environment as if I’m one of them.”