Über Dean West

Born in a small town of rural Australia in 1983, Dean’s love for photography began in the high school darkroom before continuing his study at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In Dean’s graduating year, he claimed Gold and Silver distinctions along with the runner up award for prints in the annual Australian Professional Photographers association awards. West has spent the past 3 years travelling the globe exhibiting at the world’s most prestigious art fairs. Included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers at Cannes, and winner of the IV International Arte Laguna Prize in Venice, Italy.

The quality of my new portfolio is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The precision of the printing, the seamless binding and the overall look and feel is truly a work of art. I’m proud to showcase my work in such a product.
Dean, it is difficult to find a category for your artwork. Although you use the digital photo camera, your pictures have something surrealistic and remind of art pieces of Giorgio de Chirico or Salvador Dali. How do you label your work yourself? 
My work has been labeled many things before- surreal, hyper-real, and painterly to name a few. I see myself as a conceptual photographer who has a strong focus on creating imagery with distinct, aesthetic qualities. 

Your creations captivate the viewer because of the unnaturally pushed precision of the picture elements and their subliminal symbolism. Is there a deeper message, an intention you want to bring to the viewer?
Each image that is produced, whether it be for an exhibition or a commercial client, has it’s own message or symbolism within. Every element in each photograph is there for a reason.  

You have only recently passed the age of 33. Despite of your youth, you have won prestigious international art awards and are ranked amongst the best emerging photographers in the world. What did you do to reach the top so early? Is it just talent? Please tell us about your secret of success.
I feel very lucky that I was able to find my passion for photography at a very young age. This ensured that every decision I made along the way, was always heading in one direction- to be regarded as one of the best photographers in the world. Have I made it yet, I don’t think so but I hope to be there one day. I was also fortunate enough to work with some great photographers early on. Combining that experience, along with my art history background and a desire to work hard, has all led me to where I am today. 

Dean, what are your current projects and what is planned for the years to come?
Alongside of my commercial work, I currently have several art productions in progress for upcoming exhibitions. One is a continuation of my 2015-2020 series where I recreate personal experiences. The other is an interior, still life project which is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I wanted to push myself in 2017 so I’m attempting projects that challenge my creative skill sets. I look forward to sharing these throughout 2017.

You are a so called digital native and have obviously acquired an outstanding level in digital image processing. And yet, you have ordered a handcrafted photobook as your portfolio made with genuine Kodak photopaper processed in the traditional silver halide way. Is this an anachronism? Do you see a future for printed photos?
My photographs, whether they be for a gallery wall or a commercial billboard, are always printed in some way or another. Every step along the way requires precision from pre-production to the printed finale. Many of my artworks are also printed on Kodak paper so producing a handcrafted photobook at this caliber was the perfect outcome to showcase my work. I believe a photograph is an object, and for that reason alone, believe the future for printed photography is alive and well.

With your artwork you have proven to be a perfectionist. We are proud that we were assigned to make your portfolio. What is your opinion as to the image quality and the handcrafted finish?

The quality of my new portfolio is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The precision of the printing, the seamless binding and the overall look and feel is truly a work of art. I’m proud to showcase my work in such a product.
Dean, warm thanks for the interview and all the best to you!
deanwest.com / cakefactory.com

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