Brooke Shaden took up photography in December 08 when she graduated from Temple University with degrees in film and English. Brooke's goal in photography is to make beautiful the things that others find disturbing. She works in square format with a heavy emphasis on post processing. She uses the female form, rather than the female identity (i.e.: rarely showing faces in her photographs), and thus comments on female stereotyping. The square frame itself has been turned into a mirror of our own lives, one that emboldens the distressing and disturbing while juxtaposing that with beauty and depth. Her photography questions the definition of what it means to be alive.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
I am completely taken with anything dark, I love dark art and the idea of dark fairytales. I like to make disturbing things appear beautiful, it is an interesting line to blur. I am also inspired by paintings of all sorts, I love the classics and pre-raphaelite painters. Mostly I take inspiration in seeing the world differently, in trying to create a new world through art.
Most memorable shoot so far and why?
I have so many images that took a lot of time and sometimes pain and really odd stuff to create, but this image I look back on with the most fondness. I shot it with my husband standing watch and a group of tourists watching who thought that I was part of the staff at this old abandoned western town, like part of a show. They were all taking pictures and videotaping. I found it to be so much fun, to achieve this effect in-camera and really just play with movement and a new surrounding. I took this on January 2nd of this year and I remember feeling like this image was a representation of the start of an amazing year.
What would be a dream project for you?
My dream is to be able to build a set on the bottom of a pool and shoot underwater (preferably a lake or ocean even!).
Challenges of what you do?
The biggest challenge is most definitely coming up with the money (or justifying spending money) on props and prints. It is essential for some of my shots to buy a certain outfit, especially because I try to make my photos look timeless so I am always searching for old props. A lot of people ask me if it is a challenge to do so many of my shots alone, and it is, but that is a fun challenge.
Other artists we should know about....?
- Oh, so many: Daria Endresen,
- Miss Aniela aka Natalie Dybisz,
- Rossina Bossio,
- Chris Bennett,
- Kirsty Mitchell,
Anything else you'd like to share with us?
It is my greatest wish that those people looking at my images can feel the atmosphere I am creating and get lost in it for a moment as well. This world that I am creating is unique in that everything is truly alive.