Scheduled to teach:
Brooke Shaden (www.brookeshaden.com) studied filmmaking and English in college and graduated with those two degrees as she discovered photography for the first time. Channeling a love for storytelling and a desire to create visually into a still camera, she began creating self-portraits that were both atmospheric and other-worldly. Self-portraiture blossomed into a career as a fine art photographer, and today she works as a visual storyteller creating surreal, whimsical and often dark works with a camera and Photoshop. Her images have been awarded with a number of fine art and conceptual awards as well as solo and group shows with gallery representation. As of March 2017 she became a Sony Artisan of Imagery.
Along with fine art photography, Brooke is also a writer. She runs a popular blog called Promoting Passion and published a book with Focal Press called Inspiration in Photography. Her focus is in building community and instilling the message that life is more fulfilling if you see yourself as the main character of your life. By sharing this message she has also become a motivational speaker, urging people to create with their deepest passion. She runs a yearly convention called Promoting Passion that illustrates that message through a series of workshops and lectures.
In addition to her career as an artist and writer, Brooke is also a devoted philanthropist. After traveling to India in 2013, she started teaching self-expression through photography to survivors of human trafficking in Kolkata. There she opened a photography school called The Light Space in 2015 to give a creative and sustainable career option for underprivileged communities.
Brooke Shaden Portfolio
LACP Interviews Brooke Shaden
LACP asks Brooke Shaden questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Brooke Shaden: I am a fine art photographer specializing in surreal and dark self-portraiture.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
LC: I have been shooting for 8 years.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
LC: I am self-taught in photography but have a background in filmmaking and English.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
LC: I still don’t know if I want to dedicate my life to photography, but right now it is the single most fulfilling way of creating. I do know that I want to dedicate my life to storytelling, no matter what medium that might take in the future.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
LC: I have not because I feel there are still so many stories that want to be told visually. As you evolve as a person different ways of communicating with a camera become available to you. I can’t imagine ever giving up entirely.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
LC: Photography is one of those rare experiences that allows you to see in a different way. I think that pursuing it as a career opens up a new life that you may never have seen previously. It is always a struggle to choose a career that is uncertain and essentially creative, but it is so rewarding that the word sacrifice never felt applicable.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
LC: I went from being someone with no inkling of what I was capable of to discovering the power and purpose I can have as someone who expresses her opinions. I never thought anyone would want to hear what I have to say, but photography has let me glimpse the power a story can have on someone else. I discovered myself as a creator and as a character, both very important roles in my life.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
LC: Creating is often seen as a selfish endeavor because it satisfies something inside often before thinking about how it effects others. I can see nothing less selfish than the act of creating because when you express your truest self, you encourage others by example to do the same. I want to help people to express themselves in their most authentic way through art in the hope that what they create will inspire someone else to do the same.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
LC: Find what you want to say – what your core message is – the thing you feel needs to be expressed before you die. Once you have an inkling of what that might be, create it. Create it over and over until it is clear. Techniques will come and go but the message of what you are doing will remain. That is what sets one person apart from another. It is what makes us human, and art is an expression of that.