Renaissance man: Meet Brisbane photographer and producer Joel Devereux


Brisbane photographer and producer Joel Devereux
Photo: Joel Devereux

Whether creating an opulent visual feast through the lens of his camera or devising singular and eclectic stage productions, Brisbane photographer and artist Joel Devereux displays his proficiency over a range of fields. QN Magazine contributor Wanda D’Parke spokes to Joel about his artistic inspirations, his love of burlesque, and what photoshoots with celebrities are really like.

Dear Reader,

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe I photograph well. Never have, never will. Do I look up? Do I look down? Is my “sexy look” more Charles Manson than 70s porn-star?

Who should I turn to? Someone like Joel Devereux, that’s who.

Growing up in Brisbane as an only child of very nurturing parents, Joel found his artistic calling around the age of two, finger painting (or so he says) the classics.

“I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil,” he said.

“My art teacher Nyree took me under her wing and helped foster my abilities. She has become a lifelong friend.”

 

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With a Bachelor of Creative Industries completed in 2013, Joel quickly became one of Australia’s most respected and in-demand photographers.

His work is exhibited and collected nationally. In 2015, at the tender age of 22, Joel saw his debut solo exhibition HYDRA mounted at Brisbane’s Powerhouse.

In 2017, his follow-up exhibition at the Powerhouse’s MELT Festival, the sexy #FOODPORN, received great acclaim.

 

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There are only 20 copies of my 2019 #FOODP*RN Calendar left! Get yours: www.joeldevereux.com/store

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“I always feel self-conscious about exhibitions, and hate being in the space whilst others are there,” Joel said.

“I think with the daily social media and online content overload, the casual exhibition format is sadly losing gravity.”

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Many will recognise Joel’s work with local and international drag personalities, but he has also worked with names like Paris Hilton, Rhonda Burchmore, Mel B, Olympian Matthew Mitcham, DJ Havana Brown, and even The Naked Magicians.

I asked Joel if he had any juicy gossip or stories he could share.

“People are generally, and genuinely, more-or-less how they appear to the public,” he said.

“It is very rare for a celebrity to be rude or difficult. Good vibes only!”

So no secrets then I guess. It seems Joel’s lips are sealed… for now.

 

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Our Honcho Disko Mardi Gras looks ✨ such a fun night

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Joel’s talent as a photographer has been recognised with many accolades and awards.

“It is a nice feeling to be affirmed by your peers if I am being honest,” he said.

“However, when I create my work, I’m not thinking of awards It’s either to put food on the table or as a creative outlet.”

Photography is his mainstay, but Joel also has other “strings to his bow”. (I am not sure if he can even play the violin, but let’s not split hairs.)

“I have my finger in many pies. I just need to fully cook them all, if that makes sense,” he said.

 

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Finally met the legend that is @fembotxyz 😍

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Joel is also recognised and respected as a burlesque and drag producer/performer.

“Burlesque and drag are vehicles for expression.  I currently produce a drag/burlesque/game show called “RUMBLE” at Heya Bar and have toured nationally with my shows.”

Being the disposable-fashion-conscious socialite that I am, I always look forward to the annual Vanity Fair Hollywood edition.

I asked Joel who he would choose as his subjects if – or should I say when – he is offered that cover.

“I’m always a fan of Vanity Fair, shooting group composites is a specialty of mine,” he said.

“I would love to do a ‘Women in Comedy’ version, with the likes of Tina Fey, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, Nicole Byer… there are too many that I would want to shoot.”

With inspiration from the likes of performance artist Marina Abramovic and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, there is a lot more to come from this very talented Australian… me atop the Opera House in a Vivienne Westwood Basque, maybe?

“Why wouldn’t ya!”

To see more of Joel Devereux’s work check out his website here and his Instagram page here.

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