Joel Devereux calls for more support of local queer artists

Brisbane producer and photographer Joel Devereux in a black jacket and white shirt on a neutral grey background
Image: Joel Devereux

In our regular monthly feature with local artists, photographer and producer Joel Devereux answers questions about himself, his craft and calls for more support of local queer artists.

I discovered photography…

After accidentally falling into it. I used to be more of a drawer and painter, and I started exploring mixed media works in my teens. I needed to document sculptures I’d made for my studies, so I bought a little starter camera (a Nikon D90 which I loved) to have a go at capturing works myself.

I started producing Burlesque shows in Fortitude Valley in 2013 alongside Lillian Lace (that show, Vanguard Burlesque, is still running to this day), and we needed poster images so I put my hand up to photograph. 

I would describe my style as….

Creative portraiture. I don’t like to overthink it or box myself in. My style of hero shot is typically always a centralised figure in some glamour lighting. I like putting people with their character front and centre. The only thing I really don’t want to shoot is weddings. Not my bag.


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The biggest myth about photography is…

It’s about the camera you have. There is a whole industry out there of men of a certain age buying the biggest and most expensive cameras, having no idea or motivation to learn how to use it, then reselling them to budding students at half the price. This is how I obtained most of my gear in the early days.

You can create some very compelling imagery on some very cheap gear. My first lens (a nifty 50mm) cost me $125 14 years ago and I’m still thrilled with the photos it captured. Even phones take some great shots now. I’ve never understood photographers who get mad at iPhone photographers and if it’s because they’re threatened. Don’t be bitter, be better. 

Famous subjects

The most famous person I’ve photographed is…

Paris Hilton. And she was an absolute delight. She was in town to promote her latest perfume through South-East Asia and the club I worked for booked her to DJ. She was only booked for an hour but (after being a little late) performed for over two hours and even treated us by singing Stars Are Blind and a few others.

She’s a good-time gal! As a long-time Simple Life fan, it was definitely one of the highlights of my nightlife photography career. 

My dream person/s to shoot would be…

I’d have to say Dita Von Teese. It’s been the same answer ever since I started getting into burlesque and then photography, so it seems like the perfect marriage of both of those interests.

I’ve even had friends work alongside her on tours around the world so maybe one day I’ll get that opportunity. I’m not really one for idols or fandom, but it would be a pretty full-circle moment for me. 

Taking pics

Having my own picture taken is…

A rare treat when it’s right. I’m not often in front of the lens and I very much prefer being behind it nowadays.

If I know I’m going to be photographed I like to give people something fun to look at so I’ll put together an outfit or bring out a classic piece of mine.


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A post shared by Joel Devereux (@devereuxxo)

The secret of taking a great photo of someone is…

Making them feel at ease. I say being photographed can often feel like being sung Happy Birthday too. You can start to overthink your face and hand positions and get in your head about it because there are a lot of variables out of your hands. I think acknowledging both photographer and subject are here for the same mutual goal helps. 

The best thing you can do when getting your photograph professionally taken is…

Fake it ’til you make it. The irony that pretending to model actually looks pretty convincing in a still photograph. There was that one video that went viral of a model in China cycling through fashion poses which I swear gets referenced to me on every second photo shoot I do. Anytime someone brings it up I tell them to imitate it and you usually get some pretty decent shots out of it. 

The scene

The Brisbane scene is….

In a transition phase. A difficult question to answer right now given the state of the wider entertainment industry as it finds ways to respond to the global cost of living crisis. I can only speak as a producer in this space which has been my position for the past 11 years or so.

We have a lot of talent and innovation here, but it’s no secret that the local arts scenes are struggling in the landscape right now, amongst big-ticket acts and international tours post-pandemic taking up most of people’s disposable income. 

We aren’t able to access mid-week hospitality and entertainment like we could when I was coming up through the scene, and sadly there aren’t as many well-paying gigs as they’re used to be.

I feel Brisbane also struggles from competition fatigue, and whilst it’s a great platform to discover and highlight new performers who may not have regular gigs, not every show in the city should be using this method as a way of escaping paying talent.

I love our scene here, I owe my entire career in entertainment to it, but I’m concerned for its future if audiences aren’t in a position to support our craft. Our jobs are real and we deserve to be paid for it. 


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A post shared by Joel Devereux (@devereuxxo)

The next big artist on the scene in Queensland is…. 

too hard to choose! But I will have to say Micah Rustichelli, who’s a dear friend of mine and is really shaking up the indie performance scene at the moment. I really appreciate Micah’s versatility as a visual artist and I enjoy not always knowing what’s in store next.

I like people who keep you guessing. It’s a skill I admire and need to work on myself.  I will also shout out another friend, the wonderfully talented Sahara Beck. I recently had the pleasure of photographing the cover of her album All Attention On Your Emotions, and it’s just a beautiful body of work that everyone should have a listen to. 

You can follow Joel and his work on Instagram @devereuxxo or visit

Read next:

Archie Arsenic calls for more accessible queer spaces

Get to know First Nations queen Chocolate Boxx

Spill the tea with Brisbane drag star Maxi-Bon

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Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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