Mountain Arts Network Spotlight: Dean Lent - From Cinematography to Photography - Mountain News : News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

Mountain Arts Network Spotlight: Dean Lent - From Cinematography to Photography

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 12:28 pm

Dean Lent has been a photographer for about 10 years now and has had his photos displayed in the Mountain Arts Network for about two years.

Lent said everything started when he was nine-years-old and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time.

“I always liked movies as a kid,” Lent said. “When I saw 2001, I was like ‘holy shit.’ I was a kid. I didn’t really understand it… but the visuals made me crazy and I became obsessed with Stanley Kubrick.”

Lent went to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. While there, he and a friend got positions as production assistants on Paris, Texas. After that, they got together $5,000 to make their own independent film, Border Radio.

“It became this semi-cult film,” Lent said about Border Radio.

That film led Lent to filming and directing music videos before his friend got funding to make the indie film Gas Food Lodging. From there, Lent moved to TV, working on shows such as The Tyra Banks Show and The Steve Harvey Show.

While working on The Lyra Banks show, Lent started taking photos with his flip phone. He said they were really rough and edgy and looked terrible. He got an app called Picasa and started experimenting with that to make his photos look better.

“I started taking pictures of other things besides my apartment,” Lent said. “I started doing street photography in New York City with my cell phone. Eventually, I got a showing at this little gallery. No one showed up, because it was Christmas time, but things always start slow.”

Later, he got into another gallery in Manhatten but then moved to Chicago to work on The Steve Harvey Show.

Lent said that almost all of his photography from New York and Chicago “was street [photography] and kind of minimalist and really raw, edgy, and strange. Sometimes abstract.” Eventually, he started experimenting with textures and oversaturated colors too.

After 25 years as a cinematographer, Lent came into an inheritance and decided to retire to Lake Arrowhead. Once here, he said he got into the Mountain Arts Gallery very quickly.

“I went to get some waffles and went next door,” Lent said about his first encounter with the local gallery.

Lent said he was asking about the gallery, showed them some pictures from his phone and got into the gallery right away.

“It happened really, really fast,” Lent said.

Lent said his original style of photography wasn’t as popular up here though, so he made some changes.

“I shifted to travel, weird, roadside attractions. Less edgy, more pastoral,” Lent said about his newer style. “I always try to put some kind of twist into it because everyone can take a picture of the Grand Canyon. I always try to reframe it to give it my signature and make it interesting to me.”

Lent said he has two favorite parts of photography. The first is getting the photo he pictures in his mind.

“You’ll go to a place, move the camera around, and take a few pictures,” Lent said. You’re getting close and then you get it and your whole body goes ‘yummy.’”

The other best part of photography for Lent is when he takes a series of photos and thinks he knows which one is the best of the bunch, but “you’ll get back home and realize that [another photo] was the best picture.”

For Lent, creating a photo isn’t just about snapping it on the camera though. He’s used traditional film in the past but embraces digital photography and the tools it brings to the table.

“I was always frustrated with film because I had this thing in my head…. [The prints] were cool, but I always wanted to go further,” Lent said. “When digital came out, what I could do after taking the picture was twice as much as taking the picture.”

That level of control has affirmed digital as Lent’s go-to for photography.

“It’s all digital now,” Lent said. “I wouldn’t touch a film camera.”

For more information about the Mountain Arts Gallery, visit To view more of Lent’s work, visit

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.