Dave Swindells captured the spirit of the Ibiza rave in 1989
Dave Swindells first traveled to Ibiza in June 1989 to work for Time Out's now-defunct 20/20 magazine. Swindells had spent his life in clubs and kept hearing that the Balearic Island was the place to be. "I knew it was special because I had heard so much about the island from Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Nicky Holloway when they did their 1988 Ibiza-inspired 'Balearic Beats' nights Shoom and Spectrum and the trip. " he says CR.
“The Balearic beats were absorbed into the entire acid house tidal wave that I wrote about (and photographed) every week as the nightlife editor at Time Out. I knew it was special because 1989 was the last season when big Ibizan clubs like Ku and Amnesia could work without a roof over the dance floor. I was determined to take pictures that showed that there was nothing between the dancers and the stars (or palm trees) above. "
Above: Pacha Fan Fun, Above: Adamski and friends at Ku. All images of Ibiza 89 by Dave Swindells, published by Idea Books
Of the recordings that Swindells made during a week on the island, only a small selection was used in the last piece. To give the eight reels of film that the photographer has broadcast the right look, Idea Books has just released Ibiza 89, which offers readers 144 pages of pastel-colored, high-contrast nightlife. From the swinging arms of the dance groups to the relaxed chats the next morning, Swindells manage to capture the lively spirit and joy of Ibiza on the verge of a new decade.
“I was surprised to find some great shots that I had previously overlooked that I was able to take in Ibiza'89, along with other club shots and previously unpublished photos taken on the beaches and around the island show little of life beyond the dance floor, ”explains the photographer. The book also includes the original companion article by Alix Sharkey (then co-editor of i-D), as Swindells describes "Fantastically powerful and lively report". Not only does Sharkey's essay provide context, it also ensures that the book is not just “nostalgic” and that an authentic picture of the place is captured.
Podium dancer at Ku
During his time in Ibiza, Swindell used long exposure flash photography to “capture the ambient light,” but he was also interested in capturing the expanse of these venues with a mini tripod. "Most of the time, my approach was to shoot on a wide-angle lens and get as close to the subjects and the action as possible and hope the magic happened!" Says Swindells.
Aside from the images in the book, Swindell's Instagram is full of shots of amazing nightlife photography. What makes the perfect clubbing image? Apparently, it's as easy as photographing what's in front of you. “This is an obvious statement, but it's easy to go to a party with prejudice about the type of photo or people you want to photograph, rather than dealing with the characters or situations and photographing them as they occur ", he says.
“The mistake I made was trying to snap a picture that represented a party in a photo. Occasionally (that's what I felt like) I achieved this, but when it did happen it was the result of trying to capture the personalities, energy, and atmosphere of the event – or just to capture a fleeting moment between a couple enjoying it maybe I didn't notice anything around her because there aren't really rules that need to be followed. "
Arms up in AmnesiaCafe del Mar in the sun
One of the main attractions of the conquest of Ibiza at the time was the fact that these open-air parties under the stars should be a thing of the past. Documentation of music venues and clubs is a major concern of Swindells to this day, especially since the pandemic has made it clear how important these spaces are.
“The internet was amazing and transformative during the pandemic, but it cannot replace live performances and especially the experience of sharing events with others. Documentation is less important than it used to be, as smartphones are ubiquitous. The documentation of event locations shows not only how they have developed, but also what we are missing, ”says the photographer.
“As for protecting these spaces, it is alarming that the importance of these social and creative centers has been overlooked for months, and the venues have had to prove their viability and importance to the Arts Council in order to be eligible for scholarships. As a result, the ability to fill out forms and tick the correct boxes has, in many cases, exceeded the skills required to run venues successfully – some of the best clubs and music venues are now trying to crowdfund their survival. "
Steaming couple, Pacha
Swindells believes that if these venues go away, we will all lose, and for him, it's not just the familiar locations that need saving. “We need small and medium-sized venues where new talent can emerge and improve their capabilities – and to give creative teams opportunities for lighting, staging, sound, design, etc.,” he says. "It's hard to tell whether the government is purposely ignorant about this, or whether it just did it for the creative arts."
Ibiza 89 captures some of the lively euphorias lost in 2020. For Swindells, he hopes people will get a feel for the freedom of these types of places. "In the case of Amnesia in particular, there was also a sense of amazement that such a club could function without a VIP area and all of the superclub peculiarities," he says. "That changed a long time ago in Amnesia, but how great it was when some people managed to jump over the wall to celebrate with Boy George, Fat Tony and the continental royalty!"
Ibiza '89 by Dave Swindells, published by Idea, is available now. instagram.com/dave_swindells