Commonwealth Games 2022

Commonealth Games 2022

Dexter with Olympian swimmer, Dylan Carter

Worlds Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi 2021

Dexter Photography – Dylan Carter Speed Portrait

Dexter’s 2023 book release ‘Spirit of the Carenage Coast’

Dexter’s 2006 book release “Urban Observations – I Witness”

Howard University Year Book

MVP of the Black National Swimming Championships in Lincoln, Pennsylvania (1986)

Newly appointed Head Swim Coach at Howard University with some of the female swimmers (1990)

Dexter with deceased American rapper Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle

Dexter Browne Photography Star Portraits

Dexter Photography – Leroy Clarke Portrait

Dexter Photography – Mayaro Beach

Dexter Photography – Kees Portrait

Dexter Browne (Class of 1984) attended Howard University on a full swimming scholarship and earned a BSc. in Civil Engineering.  After graduation, he was appointed Head Swim Coach, and simultaneously held this and a full-time engineering job. In 1994, his engineering practice would lead him to Houston, TX, where he purchased his first camera in 1997 and discovered the joy of photography. This quickly turned into a sideline business: shooting model portfolios for various agencies in Houston.  An engineering project in 1999 landed him a dream opportunity to relocate with his wife Lisa for a “micro-tunnelling” project in Los Angeles––a place they both imagined would provide grand opportunities for their creative desires. 

Their photography business would quickly amass a list of celebrity clients including stars such as Vanessa Williams, Rick James, Nipsey Hussle, Gabrielle Union, Ray Lewis, Katt Williams, Flava Flav, LisaRaye, Tyresse, Bill Duke, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Chico De Barge, Da Brat, Eva Pigford, Ray J, Niecy Nash, Jesse Jackson, John Singleton, and many more.

 Dexter relocated to Trinidad in 2007 with his wife and three daughters, and re-engaged with engineering and coaching. This eventually allowed for a body of personal photographic work to emerge. Dexter’s 25 years of photography has witnessed shifts from Model/Fashion work in Houston to Celebrity Portraiture in Los Angeles, to Street/Social Documentary in his birthplace Trinidad & Tobago. His first published book titled “Urban Observations – I Witness” can be seen here.

Dexter is the Head Coach at Flying Fish Swim Club and is currently the swimming coach of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic swimmer Dylan Carter (a Fatima alumnus).

 “At the core of my photographic endeavours is a desire to motivate, inspire, and educate the marginalised about the Power of Photography and its Practice.”- Dexter Browne.

(Don’t currently have an Instagram handle but I am on FB as Dexter Browne.)

 Q. Why did you select Fatima?

 My brother, Roger, passed for Fatima and brought home stories, including the Intercol win! I was hooked, and named it as my first choice.

 Q. How was your experience at Fatima (pleasant and/or non-pleasant; worst mischief, etc).

 My recollection of my Fatima days is a pleasant one.  There were some challenges, but all in all it made the institution and what it stood for an impactful experience for me when I consider what would follow.  I would have to credit Fatima with planting the seed-energy of a “Scholar Athlete”, which is a goal I constantly challenge youngsters to strive for as a Coach. Fatima was and remains a home to individuals, with its healthy emphasis on Sport as part of the overall education experience. 

 I remember going to Pantin’s office for ‘stoneing’ guavas in the river! He could not see us but he saw the stones! (Started bringing my fruit to school after that.)

 Q. Did you participate in any other sports in Fatima besides swimming?

Yes. I played football (soccer) up until ‘Colts’ but was strongly encouraged by my late great swim coach (Peter Samuel Sr) to make a choice when I was in Form 3. I chose swimming since I was already on the national team (and injuries were uncommon in the pool but abundant on the field!). Big thanks to Pete, and to Hayden Newallo––a Fatima Boy who would provide me the guidance and encouragement to become a Scholar Athlete.  He was the Head Coach of Flying Fish Swim Club when I received by swimming scholarship. Certainly could not have achieved it without them, and several others. And I would also like to thank Yohnnie Shambourger, Andre Cropper and Dr. Eric Howard (Howard Swim Coaches) for believing in me.

 Q. Who was your favourite teacher(s) and which teacher(s) did you give the most trouble?

 A big favourite was Mr. Alwin King who taught me Technical Drawing or “TD”. He made me very interested in the material, and encouraged me to go further because of his charisma and command of the material.  Mr. King would go on from there to become a distinguished alumni Architect of Howard University, some years before I would get there on a swimming scholarship.  Mr. Niles (Geography) also stands out because of his “no-nonsense” approach which I had grown used to from my Newtown Boys’ days.  Mr. Ramdass, Kuei Tung, Roach, Zackour, Charles and Joseph are/were classics!

 Note: Not sure whom I gave the “most” trouble to but I did find myself in the Dean’s Office a couple of times (some different Deans too!) I certainly was not the class nerd.

 Q. Have you been able to maintain friendships with your classmates since school? Any class reunions?

I have maintained some friendships since school. Sadly the two I was closest with have since passed on: R.I.P. David Borely and Clinton Bombart.  I was unable to attend the last official reunion because of a sporting commitment, but I relish the numerous reunions I experience everyday running into “old boys” everywhere like Kirk Carpenter, Zach Mouttet, and Burton Hinds – here and abroad.

 Q. What qualities and values did you take from Fatima that helped you in your career?

 I think the quality of tolerance and respect for others was something that the diverse student and teacher body offered to us all as a gift––a gift that would inform my interest   and matriculation in Engineering, Art, and Athletics where genuine connections matter more in today’s world.

 Fatima is a prestigious academic institution that has been home to several elite athletes in several sports, and this reality continues to inform how I mentor possibilities for the youth I work with, some of whom are attending Fatima now.

 Q. With your photography business, Dexter Browne Photography (, you took photographs and footage of literally hundreds of Black America’s movie, sporting, cultural and political heroes and elites. Many in relaxed moments, many at the start of their rise to stardom, many in their twilight. Are there any subjects that made big impressions on you? Any interesting stories to share?

 There are numerous stories to share, but a few that really stand out were:

  • Meeting and becoming a close friend of Rick James and his family. I grew up as a big fan of his music, then shot his last CD Cover (“Still Deeper”) while cooking curry chicken at his house one Sunday of many. Sadly, I did the slideshow for his funeral at his family’s request––it received a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd!
  • I did some portrait work for Vanessa Williams and Rick Foxx at their home in Marina Del Rey, and that was always epic. On the first shoot, Vanessa shouted, “Now I have a Trinidadian photographer as well!” She then revealed to me that curry became her favorite dish after visiting T&T once, and that she hired a Trinidadian chef from T&T to live and travel with her because of it.  We did have some good curry chicken that day…and the photos got me rehired later on. 
  • When Cash Money arrived for a shoot at Phatefx Studios, it was an entourage of six black suburban trucks that pulled up; men in black came out and took all of our phones, etc, away before the main truck with “Baby” arrived. A clearly different type of client. We got everything back at the end of the shoot when they were leaving.
  • Katt Williams and Flavor Flav both came to our house on separate occasions unannounced, spent the day and almost made us die laughing before they left. Kat had on his “pimp” suit and Flav had on his clock pendant all day––even during dinner!
  • My wife and I had dinner with Denzel Washington and when we were leaving he spoke in “pure Trini” to me! (Said he studied it during the dinner!) I was in shock; it made me turn around thinking it was my Trini friend who was pardners with Denzel in the restaurant and who was responsible for my introduction to Denzel.

 Q. Buttervision ( was started in 2000 as extension of the photography. Tell us about that.

 About a year after opening the photography studio in the rear portion of our property in LA, we decided to start documenting all of the content and culture that we were having access to as part of a “digital guerrilla” (for good) movement––in response to the lack of opportunities for the marginalized in media! We felt we could “build a chair from saw dust” and jump-start a grass roots TV network that represented the landscape speaking for itself…which could include itself as well.  I still believe that the marginalized can transform their pain and poverty into viable digital assets to emancipate themselves from unfairness and inequality.  I am currently working on completing the BUTTERVISION documentary I started in March 2000, and hope for it to realize all things we envisioned at its inception: perpetual revenue for the respective community stakeholders.

 Q. In 2021, famed Hip Hop biographer Rob Kenner released a book titled ‘The Marathon Don’t Stop’, which is a biography of renown American rapper Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey emerged from the West Coast hip hop scene in the mid-2000s and was popularly called the ‘Tupac Shakur’ of his generation. He was shot and killed in 2019. Hussle’s funeral was held in Staples Centre, home court of the Los Angeles Lakers. It reportedly attracted more than 21,000 fans. It is one of only three funerals held there––the others being for Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson.

 Rob’s book revealed that you were a critical mentor in the transformation of Nipsey, and it details the surrogate-father role you played in Nipsey’s life and the fact that many of the core parts of Nipsey’s ideology, catch phrases, and even earlier recordings came from you. He even lived under your roof for almost five years and recorded music under your Buttervision label. Tell us about your close relationship with him.

 Ermias Asghedom a.k.a. Nipsey Hussle was the first person to feel like a “son” to me because he was very young when we met, and our personalities meshed quickly as if we were somehow actually related. I wrote his first Bio, took him to his first Club (even though he was still underage). I saw him write and record his first mix tapes under my roof, and it would be safe to say that our relationship transcended the work we did together in many other ways.  I went with him to get his first car and the rims for it.

Ermias and then Nipsey is a true genius of the “word”––or “the genius with the broken English”, as he would explain to me.  Broken or not, it was always prolific. So I made a conscious decision to facilitate his path that I knew would land at a high place.

 He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a very talented athlete that could have excelled at any sport he chose.  But Nipsey was very, very focused about this desire to succeed and matter in the hip hop game.  It was indeed a pleasure and an honor to have a part in this young man’s life that would ultimately realize his personal wish, and much more.

 Nipsey emerged out of a desire that Lisa, my wife, and I had to give back to any working class and Black community we lived in. When we realised that we had been located to a neighbourhood in the middle of gang territory we did not ask to be re-located. Instead we leaned into it and created a retreat for the boys in our backyard that facilitated their talents. We asked them what they wanted and purchased what they asked for- a full studio with keyboards, drum machines, mikes, mixers, etc. We just asked them to leave the gang violence at the door and they would have to listen to my ‘conscious’ lectures. We merged the underground world of those gang boys and the overground world of Hollywood, models, and sports royalty. All sides met and mingled in our home. That intervention in underprivileged youth and gang life in LA changed the trajectory of that community, resulting in the production of multiple global talents and dozens of multi-millionaires- including Nipsey- who would then take the lessons he learnt in that backyard to transform entire neighbourhoods in LA and some would say Hip Hop culture and philosophy.

 Q. What was behind your decision to return to Trinidad?

A couple reasons converged and told us that it was the best decision to take a break from the life we knew and were a part of. There were mounting challenges inside the neighborhood, and I had three daughters to raise.  My Dad’s health was declining. And then there was a great offer from Junior Sammy Contractors that would eventually lead to a five-year stint involving mega projects and my return to engineering full time.

 Q. When you took over as Dylan Carter’s swimming coach in 2021, you had less than two months to prepare him for the FINA World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi in December 2021. During that time, you tweaked Dylan’s strokes and his times dropped. Dylan and you set a goal to go below 22 seconds in the 50-meter butterfly and he did, setting a new national record and copping a silver in the event’s Final. He also set a new national record in the 100-metre butterfly. Based on this success, what are the medium- and long-term goals for yourself and Dylan?

 Dylan and I only have short-term goals presently because a big part of our relationship is based on real-time considerations, with little speculation about the future.  We certainly hope for big things in the future, but we dial all of our attention on whatever is before us–– knowing that it is probably the best chance at future successes. And as Steve Jobs said:

“You could predict the future by inventing it.” So we concentrate on inventing in the present.  We were fortunate to set a new national record in the 50m Butterfly and the 100m Freestyle in addition to a personal best in the 50m Freestyle in the 2022 World Long Course Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

 Q. What should be done locally to improve swimming (infrastructure, coaching, support)?

Needed: the consistent allocation of healthy budgets to assist clubs with competing expenses, and to provide the equipment and knowledge that can scale current performances to international levels.  Sometimes having less equipment and money can serve as an inspiration and a catalyst for creativity. But less knowledge is rarely an asset to anyone.  Aggressive investing in the instances and examples of excellence is always a good start for positive returns. Success breeds success. We need to make the methods and stories of our successes universal for our entire national community of athletes – as aspirational stories and as technical pathways.

 Q. In February 2022, you launched your first ever book, ‘Spirit of the Carenage Coast’, which is a 250-page book of photographs. It is the brainchild of yourself and Trini multi-media artist Rubadiri Victor; and is one of four books you two will be releasing this year. After 25 years as a photographer, what inspired you to finally release a book, and what will the other books be about?

 I actually released a self-published book titled “Urban Observations – I Witness” back in 2006 in LA, but it was a limited series for $100. (Book is available for download here). 

This book––“Spirit of the Carenage Coast” ––is an attempt to do a couple of things:

 1. Provide a viable creative mechanism/blueprint for generating community wealth by including the community as a stakeholder and as an owner in the minted Blockchained assets, defined by Smart Contracts which delineate their commercial protocols over time. I imagine a day when all types of creatives and artisans can embark on marginalized communities with actions to leverage their creative talents and products, for the good of their community and themselves in ways that witness parallel successes.   I don’t believe that humans can continue to rate themselves on profit but rather on how that profit would eventually impact the community that gave it birth.

  1. Produce a fitting tribute to both my Dad Trevor Browne, and Rubadiri’s Dad Clivin Victor. My Dad was the creator of the 28-foot “Browne” pirogue he built in his boat yard where Capital Signal is now located.  He also built the 48-foot HullCraft vessels that are all still on the waters.
  2. To produce a fitting tribute to the community I came from and map its triumphs, challenges, and changes. The 4 books culminate with my almost-decade spent in LA with international celebrity photography (accompanied by documentation of gang life etc) so I wanted to start the 4 books by rooting it with a document of my home community and my origins.
  3. Keeping myself busy and creative during Covid-19 lockdowns––when one door shuts, others open.

 Note:  The release of the book was delayed to include the loss of the Military Museum in Carenage.

 The 4 books are called ‘The Undisturbed Culture’ series and are a document and living testament of my philosophy of the power of ‘letting the landscape and people speak for themselves’. The other books in the series are:

  • ‘STREET’ which documents the overground and underground of street life in Trinidad, Houston, LA, Budapest, and other streets of the world;
  • ‘HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL WOMEN’ which features pictures of many of the beautiful Hollywood starlets, supermodels, and sports stars I photographed in LA and Houston- but also includes an encyclopedia of images of beautiful Trinbago women as well; and
  • ‘UNDISTURBED L.A.’ which documents in photos that almost-decade I spent in LA. It contains extensive portfolios of the Hollywood and gang images I caught whilst there. I happened to be in LA at the start of one of the Golden Ages of Black American culture and captured (and facilitated) many of the transformative personalities at the start of their rise. This book will be a startling document when it comes out.

 Q. Civil engineer, photographer, swimming coach…three different worlds. How do you make them gel or overlap to achieve your goals?

 The combination of two or three at times offers unique perspectives for problem-solving. For instance, trying to get Dylan Carter faster in a short space of time benefited from an “engineered approach” that involved optimizing stroke mechanics and cadence for sprinting and involved matriculating technically in the laws of motion, propulsion and drag. So the engineer helped the coach to achieve a stroke execution that looks like art. 

I feel humans compartmentalize learning too much, and a renaissance approach to education and life may have many benefits to mankind still unknown.  It can be a curse at times when perspectives in one don’t gel with the perspectives of the others, but all in all the benefits have outweighed the cost.

 Q. Tell us about your family (wife, daughters).

My wife and I started dating at Howard U. I was 18, she was 17. After marriage in 1994, we lived in Washington, D.C., Houston, and then Los Angeles where we gave birth to three beautiful daughters––Lexi, Lena, and Lyla.  Lisa graduated with a Bfa in Fine Arts as a Graphic Designer and worked extensively with the entertainment industry, eventually pulling me into the “industry” during work for Rap-a-Lot Records in Houston.  They are all courageous Americans with a BIG heart for T&T.  All the kids were involved in gymnastics and then swimming at Flying Fish Swim Club, where they represented club and country. 

The oldest just finished her second year at Engineering school and the other two are completing their high school course work in the US.  They all attended Holy Name Prep and Secondary.  Recently Lyla, a Carifta finalist, became the first person from her high school in the US to qualify for the Virginia State Championships and swam very well there.  They are both expected to start College soon.

 Q. Favorite way to spend spare time? Any hobbies and/or guilty pleasures?

 Yes: I like shooting photos and fish. Plus, I like good beer!

 Q. The last good movie you saw?

“Apocalypto”––because it did not feel like a “movie” with the use of the native talent.  Interesting history lesson also.

 Q. Favorite type of roti? Slight, medium, heavy or none?

Slight in “town”. None in “south” …Dah roast pepper rough boi!

 Q. Proudest moment(s) of your life/career thus far? Any bucket list item(s) still to achieve?

In life, it would have to be the safe birth of my three daughters.  Career-wise, there are a couple since I live in more than one world:

 1. Passing for and graduating from Fatima College. I am still extremely proud of this, and the fact that my brother Roger and both his sons, Brandon and Mikel, went there also

2. Earning my degree in Civil Engineering and becoming the youngest Head Swim Coach in Howard’s history shortly thereafter, 1990. Being a member of the 2x Championship team at Howard and being the first HBCU (Historically Black College and University) to win a predominantly white conference––twice! ––was big. (The “Tri-State” conference would disband after that!).100 fly and backstroke Carifta Gold medals and a C.C.C.A.N. Bronze at age 12.

  1. Successful completion of many large and significant projects here and abroad in my capacity as a Project Manager/Construction Manager working for some great companies here and abroad.
  2. Photographing Rick James, Vanessa Williams, Ato Bolden, and Maurice Green­­––all of whom I hold with great esteem.
  3. Becoming the Head Coach of Flying Fish Swim Club where I learned to swim at age 8.
  4. Witnessing the rise and triumph of Nipsey Hussle (and others), knowing where we started.
  5. TTO winning the C.C.C.A.N Swimming Championships for the first time (Aruba) while on national coaching duties.
  6. Acting Head of Projects duties at the Sportt Company of TTO, during the commissioning of the national sporting facilities including the Velodrome and the Aquatic Centre (where I also currently train Dylan).
  7. Being selected by team Carter to work with Dylan and what would unfold thus far with his ISL wins and the silver medal record breaking performance at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi in 2021, National records and finalist at the World Long Course Championships. Fatima on Fatima!  This was a BIG one for both of us on many levels.

 Q. What does ‘Nitendo Vinces’ mean to you?

 Never give up a worthy struggle towards a worthy goal.  The work will always eventually bring the reward––even if it is does not happen on your shift.

 Q. Any closing remarks?

Big thanks to my Parents, Family, Schools, Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Teammates, Friends and Spiritual Advisors.

 Big thanks for the interview. And of course: Fatima forever!