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TPS 2021 – 5 quick questions with pro photographer Brooke Shaden

TPS 2021 – 5 quick questions with pro photographer Brooke Shaden
Brooke Shaden talks on The Photography Show's Super Stage on Sunday 07 March (Image credit: Brooke Shaden)

Brooke Shaden is a conceptual fine art photographer whose passion is storytelling. And as one of the headliners at The Photography Show: Spring Shoots virtual event, taking place 06-07 March, she will be telling the story of that storytelling. 

She is known for photographing herself and becoming the characters of dreams inspired by a childhood of intense imagination and fear – being both creator and actor, Brooke controls her darkness and confronts those fears. 

Brooke started her photographic journey in 2008, relishing the opportunity to create in solitude and take on character roles herself. Her works are themed, often gravitating toward death and rebirth or beauty and decay. 

While Brooke's images come from a personal place of exploration, the goal in creating them is not only to satisfy herself; her greatest wish is to show others a part of themselves. Art is a mirror for the creator and the observer. 

Joining fellow Super Stage superstar speakers such as Rankin, this Sunday at 14:00 GMT Brooke will share how to critique your own work technically, conceptually and creatively, to develop your style and uniqueness. 

You can register FREE for The Photography Show: Spring Shoots, and purchase tickets to see the Super Stage speaker sessions. In the meantime, find out more about Brooke and her work ahead of her Spring Shoots appearance… 

'Quiet the Night', by Brooke Shaden  (Image credit: Brooke Shaden)

5 quick questions with Brooke Shaden 

1. How did you discover that photography was the format for you to manifest your creativity and tell stories?  

I started out as a filmmaker, but quickly discovered that film required many people on set to make a single vision come to life. I wanted full control over my stories, so I turned to photography as a way to work entirely by myself.  

2. Why is photography, and art in general, so important? 

Art is one of the only things throughout history that endures. It frames how we see the world and our cultures, and helps people navigate a world that largely suppresses the emotions we all have. Art is story, and story is how we preserve and understand this particular moment in our lives or in history. 

Conceptual fine art photographer Brooke Shaden, a Super Stage speaker at The Photography Show 2020

3. Do you have a similar process that you work through to produce your images? 

I always conceptualize first. My process begins with a theme, and I work from that singular theme to figure out all secondary elements, including wardrobe, location, colors, composition etc. 

I draw a sketch and write a couple of paragraphs about the meaning behind the image. Once I the conceptualization is finished, I move on to shooting, which usually occurs by myself (as I am a self-portrait artist). It takes about 5-15 minutes on average. I work minimally, so it's just me, my tripod, and my camera! 

Finally I move on to editing, which always begins with the compositing. After the images are stitched together, I work on changing the lighting and color dynamics of the image, and end it with a texture. 

Editing can take anywhere from 2-5 hours on average for a single image, but depending on the complexity, can range up to 50 hours.

TPS 2020 5 Qs Brooke Shaden image 4

'Crystalline' by Brooke Shaden  (Image credit: Brooke Shaden)

4. Do you have a particular experience from one of your shoots that has become a favourite personal memory?

In 2015 I travelled to Iceland and knew I wanted to create a self-portrait. At midnight I arrived at a glacier lagoon and jumped in the water for a self-portrait in a beautiful blue satin dress. I was absolutely frozen, but it was a memory I will never forget. 

5. What do you think you would be doing if you weren't a photographer? 

I would be a writer, and I currently do that in my spare time. I'm working on a young adult fantasy novel. 

'Spirit' by Super Stage speaker Brooke Shaden  (Image credit: Brooke Shaden)

Register FREE for The Photography Show Spring Shoots

Read more: 

This is everything you should see at The Photography Show virtual event
Canon announces speaker lineup for The Photography Show virtual festival!
Rankin interview: pandemic portraits, film vs digital, and David Bowie in a wolf mask