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Spotlight: Kurt Schwerdt

December 2021
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Spotlight focuses on Creative Commission members with stories to tell. Next up, we hear from Brisbane-based Kurt Schwerdt. Primarily working in photography and filmmaking but also design and creative direction. Over to you, Kurt...

I started my journey three years ago, sneaking into shows with my camera and fake passes. Fast forward to now, and I have just started working with Universal Music in Australia, capturing live shows on tour. I'm a self-taught and self-managed artist with no tertiary education. I created my own style and paved my own way through the industry throughout Australia, shooting some of the country's biggest artists and festivals.

The best part about my job is capturing moments in history, timeless iconic images. Being around with a camera in the music industry is so rewarding, you're documenting an artist's timeline at that very moment. Whether there are 50 people in the crowd or 50,000, you're still documenting history.

This year I completed one of my first high-level music videos, MAWiE - Snakes & Roses, using techniques I've been holding onto for a while. I'm grateful to be able to work with my close friends on this project and create something I am extremely proud of. The video was also featured on Acclaim magazine, my first magazine feature.

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COVID in Australia has been very hot and cold. One weekend I was at a social distanced music festival. The next, I was locked down for two weeks, stuck to the four walls of my apartment. I used this time to work on myself, which can be difficult when you're so busy with work constantly.

I finally had the time to sit with myself and go through what my goals are, where I want to be, and appreciate what I have. I think that process fuelled my creativity in a sense. I was on a clean slate, ready to be the best creative I could be, and I believe 2021 was that year for me, given the ups and downs.

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Creative Inspiration

Kanye's Donda rollout was one of the most unique rollouts I have seen, it kept bringing me back in each listening party and wanting more every listen. Everything about it was enjoyable and a breath of fresh air. Plus, it's Kanye, how could you not love it. 

Luis Campbell, who is a close friend and frequent collaborator of mine. His use of film and abstract compositions is a big influence on my work and a huge inspiration.

Danny Gevirtz, a film maker and YouTuber who provides priceless information and insights on his process. An incredible storyteller and this year I wouldn't have survived COVID without his library of videos.