Drew Swantak '09 Gets Creative At Thrillist

Drew Swantak ‘09 is the Photography Director at Thrillist, a popular online media website covering food, drink, travel, and entertainment.

“What I like about working at Thrillist is that I never get bored,” said Drew. “Our daily schedule varies. Thinking of new ideas is a constant. Everything we touch involves creativity. I’m always working on something different- and for me that works really well.”

My most recent project, a feature entitled “Best New Restaurants of 2018: The Hottest Restaurants on the Scene,” which features photos and video of entrees from restaurants all across America, is a great example of the vast skill set needed to pull off my job. To create this feature, I had to schedule photo shoots, develop promotional materials for the video series, and supervise a team of photographers, and collaborate with editorial, product, and advertorial teams.

“The amount of troubleshooting and collaboration that is necessary to produce a feature is often overlooked when you are first starting a project,” said Drew. “I think it’s important for people to have their own personal workflow. Moravian Academy provided me the backbone for my work ethic.”
Drew’s discovered his talent and passion for photography while taking several classes with Mrs. Nancy Frankenfield at Moravian Academy. Thanks to her encouragement, Drew signed up for the Main Media Workshop summer program Northampton Community College for two consecutive summers. This solidified his love of the medium and led him to pursue the advertising photography program at Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduation, Drew joined the Thrillist team as a Photo Editor in 2014 and worked his way up to Photography Director.

For his career success, Drew cited the importance of the mandatory senior post-term internship project at Moravian, which provided him the opportunity to work at a photography agency in New York.

“Because of that jumpstart in high school,” said Drew, “I was able to get internships the following year. I felt ahead of everyone in college. Take advantage of those opportunities and ask lots of questions. It’s actually very important to do that - or you won’t learn.”

This article appeared in the Winter 2019 Moravian Academy Journal's "After Moravian: Creative Paths" section on page 30.

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