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New Series: “Fears & Fairytales”

Sometimes creating less is creating more. After looking deeply at my creation process and deciding to take a new road, this is where it has lead me. I have started two new series of images, one which I will write about here, and another that I am saving for a later date. The first of the two series that I am doing is called “Fears & Fairytales” which takes a look at fears that I personally have fought and that I think many others feel as well. It would not be a Brooke shot unless I put a twist on it, and to do that I thought carefully about what sets me apart in how I think and react to situations.

I fear many things. I have fears that are logical and irrational, and some that are both in one. I even have a tattoo on my arm that reads “Fear is the mind killer” which is an amazing quote from my favorite book Dune, which is actually much longer in the full text:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”Fear is something that I know intimately. I thought that my fears would suddenly disappear when I got older. When I was around 13 I thought that the time had come to grow up but my fears never left. When I was 18 and moved out of the house I thought surely that would be the year that my fears subsided. Here I am in my 20s and no closer to being rid of that fear. Instead, I have recently made a very interesting realization: I do not want to be rid of my fears. I simply want to understand them better.

The way that I deal with fear is to either cower from it or confront it. When confronting my fears, I find them often to be beautiful and magical, almost as though I exist with them in a more exotic reality. Perhaps that is, specifically, why I never let them leave me. Why embrace rationality when that tends to drive away the magic: the Fairytale.

In this new series I take a look at my personal fears in a way that I have never dealt with before. I want to use photography not to heal myself of the things that I fear, but to confront fear as a friend. I want to confront it as the frightened child that I still am but with the power of seeing life through the mind of an adult (though I hesitate to say that I have “grown up”). “Fears & Fairytales” is this innocent photographer’s way of looking fear in the face through the rabbit hole. Many of the images in this series will show, either literally or figuratively, a fearful situation, while the fairytale element comes at just the right moment, saving the subject from his or her fears.

In other words, the fear is the “bad guy” while the fairytale is the “knight in shining armor”.

For the making of the first image I got to work building a wing to use in the final picture. With a few hours time, cardboard, glue and leaves I had a wing. The next morning came the fog, and finally a finished picture.

“The Fear of Falling” is, in my eyes, the story of anyone who feels that they might fall at any moment. While I did not mean this to literally represent a fear of heights, I did intentionally use a cliff as the setting to enhance that aspect of the image. To try and fail, to stumble and fall, to have to pick yourself up when no one else can…that is the fear that goes deeper. The fear of falling is one that we all experience. To know success and lose it, to never have success but want it, to hold yourself to impossible standards…these are the feelings that plague me from time to time and they are the feelings that I wanted to deal with in the first installment of my new series.

The making of “The Fear of Falling” for my new series, “Fears & Fairytales”.

After I went out gathering leaves that had fallen outside of the apartment I stayed in for a week in San Francisco, I began blowing them dry in the bathroom. It had been very foggy that morning, and while it had not rained the leaves were wet as though it had.

The day before I gathered the supplies I would need to make my prop: a wing. I got cardboard and glue from a craft store, and scissors were the last ingredient. It felt like an old fashioned preschool project!

The project was very fun. I continually thought about how many other things I could have filled my day with, like emailing and catching up on business, and how nothing could have been better for my soul than to drink tea on the kitchen floor as I spent hours glueing leaves to cardboard.

I got up early the next morning, once my wing had finished drying atop the refrigerator, and set out for a park in San Francisco. It was cold and wet, but you couldn’t hear a complaint from me. I was excited and invigorated. It was pitch black out when I arrived at the park (I am chronically early) and so I waited in my car until I could see outside. Once I could, I took a 4-second long exposure of the trees in the fog. It perfectly captured how I felt…completely swept up with my surroundings. Beauty.

My husband was with me shooting behind the scenes pictures as I hid behind this rock to change into my dress. I could hear him telling me to be careful and to wrap up so I wouldn’t get sick, but as usual I was so caught up in my shoot that I barely processed it at the time. I was so happy that morning.

He tried to put the camera down to help me up, but I told him to keep shooting, especially if I fell. It would be a hilarious memory, I thought.

I had practiced the exact pose that I wanted the day before, and I used my “test shot” as the shot that I edited for the picture. I took 5 shots that morning and they all ended up in the final product.

{ 7 } Comments

  1. John Yates | October 23, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting these behind the scenes images. I love the story that goes into making your images!

  2. Diane Artz Furlong | October 23, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    This is so much fun! Understanding more about you and your process helps to illuminate your art.

  3. Maritza | October 23, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I love this.. it made my eyes blur a little.. brought some lost feeling up to the surface.. Thank you for sharing .. i love your work… your are beautiful and it shines through your work

  4. Nina Heiko | October 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Талант! Я восхищаюсь тобой, Брук! Прости, что не могу писать на английском… :)

  5. Maurizio | October 24, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I think that if there is anyone who can photograph the fairies, it’s you. :-)

  6. Carmine | October 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    This is magic! It stirs emotions and suggests introspection. “If you can’t be his enemy, you can be his friend”…

  7. Sue | November 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Your process is inspiring and beautiful.

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