Back in December 2015, I was asked to do some album art for an artist-musician friend of mine, Dustin Swinney. I say "artist-musician" because Dustin brings his own particular obsessions to the table with him: music that "comes from a very soulful place" inspired by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Al Green and Aretha Franklin, [and often mixed with] Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, and Led Zeppelin" plus a painterly aesthetic that strikes me as a drag-influenced queered Cindy Sherman. He asked because he likes my work–but equally because he believes in supporting other queer makers.
While Dustin's album isn’t out yet–and the pictures will no doubt see some healthy change when modified for the cover art–I’m excited to finally share some favorites from our shooting session.
Dustin's own sharpened aesthetic sensibility brought a particular energy, cool, and weirdness to the pictures–no doubt elevated by a shared desire to queer things up a bit. They're very different from my norm, though intimacy wasn't really Dustin's goal. In truth, Dustin has a look made for fashion! These pictures certainly borrow from fashion tropes.
While this was my first time photographing Dustin, it isn't my first time working with him. I interviewed Dustin for Backwords Blog in May of 2015 for another of his musical ventures, Sophont; you can read the interview here. It's been an ongoing delight to work alongside him, in collaboration and (sometimes) crisscrossing interest.
It was an added pleasure, too, to return to Buck East Studio–where I worked with Liam Y on the Grecae series. Buck East has incredible natural light, bracing privacy, tons of space, and an ever-changing cast of furniture/backdrops that make each job there unique. Ugh, I love it there!
I hope you all enjoy these pictures of Dustin Michael Swinney!