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For the love of…

We all know the feeling of getting negative feedback on a picture. You spend lots of time creating something, you’re proud of it, you show it off, and then BOOM…”I don’t like it” or “I don’t get it” or “I don’t something something something”. It is only fair after all that we get a range of feedback to our work. If I shared something every day and always heard glowing things about it I would know I haven’t pushed hard enough. After all, a positive comment means that much more pitted against a negative comment. I want to stir emotions in the viewer every time I create an image, and I don’t always want it to be a good emotion. In fact, I am often looking for a disturbed reaction. That is something that my earlier work had more of admittedly, but I want to talk about my new photo that is a throwback to the shock value that was ever-present in the past.

I created my new photo as I create most: I started with an idea, I expanded on that idea, I got excited and drew sketches. I waited for a month until I went out and created the photo. I wanted it to be perfect, or in other words, how I imagined it. When I shot the picture I was thrilled – I thought the images in camera were beautiful, the kind that make you say “OooOOooh, nice light”. But of course that wasn’t what I was going for, it was simply a nice thing to feel while shooting. The model loved the images in camera too: the final product? Not as much. I started showing the picture to the usual suspects before releasing it. This included a couple of my best internet friends, the model, a couple more “real life” friends (:P)…the response? Bad.

A behind the scenes photo before the crazy editing began :) Note the 2 flies in this picture - they were everywhere!

Doing some hair flipping while out shooting that day.

No one liked the picture. In fact, I found a simple lack of words to describe what was disliked, which lead me to believe it was a general distaste for the entire image. At first I was confused. First, I had not seen it as being very different from my other pictures. Second, I loved it! I expected at least one person to have a positive reaction. But the fact of the matter was that literally no one liked the picture. I spent about 3 seconds being bummed about it. I nearly felt as though I had failed in some way. But then reason struck…or more so, passion struck. I remembered why I create in the first place, and that is always for me.

I started to deconstruct the image from an outsider’s point of view. Sure it makes sense to me, after all it came from within. I wanted it to be very alien; I wanted the scene to have a science fiction flare. I loved the strange body poses, as if hovering over the earth with some strange intent. The nudity was something that was a must for me. I wanted the girls to appear as creatures, naked and forced to show all, a more raw type of human. But what would someone else think of all this? Aliens, science fiction, nudity…overall strangeness. It isn’t a soft picture in any way, and it isn’t meant to be.

It got me thinking about what I want to put out into the world, and this is exactly it. I want to make people feel discomfort. Why should all art be comfortable? I want to push the boundaries of what people think they should feel while looking at art, and what they actually feel. This might not be the most pleasing picture to take in, but this has ME written all over it, and for that I am proud.

Taken while shooting another picture that day.

The breathtaking sunset that we got to see from atop the mountain we hiked (and then hike down in the dark).

{ 13 } Comments

  1. Chris Lane | January 8, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Good for you for sticking to your idea Brooke. You aren’t supposed to please everyone. Sometimes you need to just do what you want to do. And even more kudos for putting out something that everyone (pre-publish at least) hated. That takes some extreme courage and I commend you on that.
    As for the image, in my opinion I think it’s fine. I think some of the edges where the girl is cut out are a little hard, but the idea and the composition look good. It is definitely an interesting and thought provoking image, and it sounds like thats what you were going for. So, you succeeded!
    Cheers

  2. Megan Van Groll | January 8, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    My first impression: “Oh, that’s f***ing creepy as hell.” In a good way. I think it’s awesome. Good for you for sticking to your creative vision. There are certainly enough “pretty” photographers out there.

  3. Nancy Holder | January 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ll comment here instead of Facebook because these are my own private thoughts about your photo. I love it! The nudity doesn’t bother me for I think the human body is beautiful. This has an other-world feeling to me. The lighting is beautiful especially because of the shadows it creates. Is she sad as she floats there? Is she at peace? Is she waiting for someone or something? Is she suspended between two worlds? Beautiful work as always. You rock, Girl!

  4. Dave | January 8, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the issue is that the girl is sharp and the background is soft. I looks different from your other stuff in that she doesn’t seem to be of the place she is floating in. Most of your other work, the subject is part of the world she’s seen in. My first impression is this is more “look what I can do in photoshop” than your usual work that I don’t get that impression at all.

    That being said, it’s your work. You love it. Them that don’t… oh well…

  5. Beata Rydén | January 9, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I think that your thoughts about this photo is so important to all artists! I believe that the most important thing is that you create something that is truly YOU. I don´t know if I´ve found the true ME in my pictures yet, but that´s what I strive for with every new photograph. But sometimes I feel uncertain if a photo is really me, or if I´m too influenced by other photographers that I love. My goal is to create images that nobody else can create, and that is what you´re constantly doing Brooke. (And I tottaly love this new photo of yours, I like the position of the bodies very much) Love from Beata

  6. Carl Hensley | January 10, 2012 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    “I want to make people feel discomfort.” Please expand on that statement Brooke. “To make beautiful what others find disturbing” I understand.

  7. Khadi | January 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I think that when viewers look upon this image, they are not sure what to feel. Then they try to search for their correct emotion on the face of the model, but it so happens that each face is expressionless and hidden from us. It adds to the confusion. I appreciate all the tension going on in this picture… threefold. Love the idea and its execution.

  8. Erin | January 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion, you’re an artist of the highest kind – someone who is pushing our universal consciousness forward – by feeding our souls with images and concepts that we may not even yet be ready to receive or acknowledge as beautiful.

    And I’m grateful for the ways you allow your personal, artistic integrity to play a role in the creations you bring to light.

  9. Angie | January 17, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I think if there was only one girl, it would seem like she was rising from the earth, or being placed on earth from some other place, but with three girls, I’m not sure how to interpret it.
    But, I’m glad you posted it for you.

  10. Annie | February 5, 2012 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Firstly let me just add, I am also a strong believer of constructive criticism.. I agree with you Brooke where you say “a positive comment means that much more pitted against a negative comment”. So here it is.. my first thoughts was..hhmm gosh really? She’s all naked. Now hear me out. I’ve been a follower of yours for a good while, so I’m all for nudity. I’m an artist myself, so I get it. What I mean by “She’s all naked” or even ToOO naked.. is that it looks too polished, like too clean and neat… there isn’t that raw, scratchy, dishevelled sense that is a trait of most of your other works. I didn’t feel the image conveyed the whole “alien” aspect you’re aiming at… to me it looks human, it simply looks like a naked female body (a perfect body at that, might I add, but..) awkwardly positioned over a field of grass. All I see is naked. Naked.. naked.. naked. I don’t know how to read it. Its different to your other nudes, I can’t even put it into words, I hope I’m making sense.. Your right, and I also agree with Chris Lane, don’t be swayed by other people’s opinions, art is art, there will always be people who like it or hate it.. but this one, I just don’t get it. It seems to me (with all do respects) that you shot the model naked for the mere sake of having her naked.. I love you Brooke, and always love your work!! But like any artwork, some speak strongly to me, others I’m not as moved. Thats all.
    peace out ;) xx

  11. Annie | February 5, 2012 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    haha.. I’ve just read over the other comments! I agree with Dave.. I think he has eloquently put what I was also meaning to say.. the model doesn’t seem to gell with her surroundings, she’s just thrown in there, if you get me.

    OK.. that is all x remember love. I mean it all in love.. love!! Keep up the good work!! xx

  12. Bryan Thompson | March 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Brooke, hey there, just back from AD and was trying to tag an image, which led me here somehow! I wanted to let you know, my first thought when I saw this was that I did in fact like it. I guess I am more open to boundaries being pushed, who knows why really. I did enjoy seeing that you stuck to your guns and did the image for you first. See you in KC I hope.

  13. Ian Komac | March 14, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I think it’s amazing you still support your idea! Personally, I don’t think it has to do with the concept, people are used to a lot these days. But Dave said it all, she just doesn’t ‘fit’ in the background. Her outlining is to sharp for my taste and the light, it just doesn’t feel right. But that doesn’t take away the fact that you’re an amazing photographer and you have incredible photoshop skills ;)

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