Originally cutting his teeth in the media pits of Brisbane’s music scene
in his late teens, Dean Swindell’s photographic craft has since matured
into its own definitive style, eloquently conveying food, architecture,
and lifestyle subjects.
While he’s drawn to shooting visually chaotic situations, Dean’s output
is clean and tidy, maintaining a certain intimacy. His core intention
through his work is to always create from a considered place,
regardless of the subject matter. Taking a moment to think about the
subject he’s conveying, and why he’s doing it, has thus far brought him
together with like-minded clients who appreciate quality from a
consciously creative process.
Distinctive memories from Dean’s childhood play an undeniable role in
his unique aesthetic. Living across Mt. Isa, Bundaberg, and Brisbane,
Dean developed a fascination with the characteristically harsh, rapidly
changing light available.
He describes Bundaberg as a sepia-toned landscape with absolutely
nothing to do, where from his home he would see the monolithic
smoke stacks of Bundaberg Rum factory, across 2km of dry cane
fields, spitting sharp ribbons of rum ash. It’s the vision of these ribbons
of soot, falling like snow, which he and the local kids would play in, that
has imprinted on his creative vision an aptitude to find beauty in the
mundane and uncelebrated; leveraging notions of nostalgia to
transform these into visually delightful material.
Preferring to work with the light that’s naturally available, Dean feels
deep resonance with Matthew Condon’s understanding of Brisbane’s
light, acknowledging, “this palette of gentle pinks and oranges at dawn
and dusk, the blast white of midday in summer, the lemon
luminescence of mid-morning and mid-afternoon...”
This is the spectrum Dean embraces in his work, with the intention of
pointing out what people perhaps haven’t seen in situations familiar to
them; the individual and easily missed moments rather than the larger
It’s this way of seeing that allows Dean to efficiently uncover the
beauty and essence of any subject, be that a place, a person, a
creation or a creator of any type. He shines a limelight on this in a way
that’s both raw and illuminatory of its finest, most distinctive features.
A recent collaboration saw Dean bring this capacity to the role of
Creative Director in a complete rebranding for luxury rainforest retreat
Songbirds on Tamborine Mountain. He looks forward to moving into
this next exciting phase of his career, focusing more on contributing
his well-honed eye to creatively direct brand aesthetics.
Having progressed from shooting purely musical subjects, the
messiness, chaotic pace, and capturing what happens organically
rather than contriving, all remain a formative part of his approach.
Music photojournalism is still a foundational influence, essential to
Dean’s cinematographic output.
Dean is a capturer of mood, light, personality, and place. He focuses
on properties of nostalgia to convey feelings which can’t easily be
articulated with words. Armed with this approach, his future
professional pursuits focus on working through challenges that come
with helping clients figure out who they are, what matters most about
that, and why this matters.