Former San Jacinto College department chair and Houston photographer Dalton DeHart was presented the distinguished 2020 LGBTQ Community Vision Award by The Montrose Center.
"To me, this award validates what I have dedicated my life to," DeHart said. "I'm thrilled to be recognized for the contributions I have made and continue to make."
DeHart, who retired from San Jac in 2006, has taken more than 1 million photos of community gatherings and has used about 20 different cameras in the process.
"I started taking photos on the sidelines of Deer Park football games years ago," DeHart said. "I enjoyed it so much that I began taking photos at all of the student events on the San Jac campus, and then someone encouraged me to join the EPAH to volunteer as well."
The Executive and Professional Association of Houston is an LGBTQ social and networking organization. In short order, DeHart was taking photos for this organization, the Montrose Softball League, AIDS Foundation Houston, and many other LGBTQ community organizations.
Over the years, DeHart has amassed a huge archive of photos documenting the LGBTQ community in Houston. That's why in 2015 he formed the Dalton DeHart Photographic Foundation. The nonprofit's fundraising efforts have allowed him to digitize more than 300,000 photos taken with film and build a website to share the photos free of charge. In all, daltondehart.com will soon have over 750,000 searchable photos available to the public.
DeHart's event images include everyone who makes community social events possible, from the hosts and major donors to the servers and janitors. Every person in attendance and behind the scenes is equally important to him.
Over the years, DeHart has become a highly respected photographer. He has received numerous awards from the organizations he has photographed events for, including being named a Pride Houston Grand Marshal in 2008 and receiving the Kindred Spirits Community Treasure Award in 2014, the Diana Foundation Award in 2015, the Houston Transgender Unity Commitee's Transgender Archive Award in 2015, and several OutSmart Gayest & Greatest Favorite Male Community Photographer awards.
The LGBTQ Community Vision Award, a high honor, has been presented to only seven other high-profile Houston activists and public servants. DeHart will be in the company of people like former Houston mayor Annise Parker, representative Garnet Coleman, Ray Hill, and Tommie Ross.
"Every year we honor a pillar of our community, someone who is one in a million and doing the work to advocate for our community," said Meleah Jones, community project specialist for the Montrose Center. "Dalton DeHart fits that description. He brings people together and makes everyone around him feel important. We could think of no one better to honor with this year's LGBTQ Community Vision Award."
DeHart was presented the award at the center's Out for Good virtual holiday gala on Thursday, Dec. 3. To learn more about The Montrose Center, visit montrosecenter.org.