On his website, fashion photographer Dean Isidro confesses, “When I was young, my mom went to cosmetology school. After graduating, she set up a chair and opened a little salon in our home near Santa Cruz. The idea of beauty, and the project of making people look pretty—as women were coming and going, in curlers and perms and blowouts—was a way of life as I was growing up.” An apt and touchingly poignant insight into his unique outlook as a photographer of both fashion and nature. “One day in 1976, my mom came inside after lying in the sun all day, and said ‘Take a picture of my tan.’… I wanted the picture to be as beautiful as she looked to me. Then I pressed the shutter.” This unwavering dedication to translating the inherent beauty of his subjects into photographs is a defining characteristic of his artistry.
Isidro’s charm and approachability as an individual shine through his work. His images are not mere snapshots; they are imbued with a layer of elegance and warmth. They leave an enduring impact on viewers, evoking a sense of comfort and radiating a gentle, luminous serenity that lingers in the hearts of those fortunate enough to experience his art.
The Connection to Beach and Sea landscapes
Dean Isidro’s profound connection to the sea and beach is evident in every frame he captures. Raised in the coastal town of Watsonville in Santa Cruz, California, his formative years were steeped in the golden sun and shimmering blue waters. This upbringing instilled in him a profound appreciation for coastal landscapes.
His fascination with the color indigo, cultivated through countless visits to boardwalks and beaches, plays a significant role in his photographic style. This keen attention to aesthetics and the emotional resonance of visual elements enriches his work, resulting in imagery that strikes a harmonious chord with viewers.
Isidro’s journey took him from the serene shores of California to the bustling streets of New York City in the early 90’s, where he honed his craft as an assistant to the renowned French fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon. This transition from languid beachside living to the vibrant and gritty big city life is evident in his work, where he masterfully captures the tension between these contrasting worlds, through his use of natural light and dreamlike color palettes in conjunction with an edgy, unapologetic approach to capturing models head-on.
Isidro’s commitment to documenting both the transient beauty of the natural world and the curated beauty of cosmopolitan society speaks to his dynamic worldview. His portfolio is a testament to his ability to seamlessly navigate and capture the essence of these distinct realms, yet his photographs of beach landscapes and ocean dwellers form a distinct category within his oeuvre that undoubtedly stem from his natural affinity for the subject as a muse. Photos such as “My Own Private Paradise,” “Kool Thang,” and “Surfer,” to name only a few, create a deep sense of bounding with the elements. The brevity of his photos of water, the facelessness of his models enmeshed in waves, and the dedication to depicting the energy of the water allow viewers to reconnect with the feeling of warmth, carelessness, and joy, layered with his unique sense of elegance and composition.
Dean Isidro’s photography, characterized by its enduring beauty and serene allure, continues to inspire and captivate audiences. His work is a testament to the timeless power of visual storytelling and its ability to evoke emotions that resonate deeply within the hearts of viewers.
Marie Audier D’Alessandris
Marie Audier D’Alessandris is the founder of The Selects Gallery founded in February 2018 in New York as a platform to discover, learn and acquire the fine art photographs of the best fashion photographers in the world.