Ever wonder what it’s like to be an artist?
Today we have a behind-the-scenes interview with a fashionable artist: Brooke Shaden!
1. So, you were raised in PA, what brought you to LA?
I graduated from college in Philadelphia in December 2008 and decided then to pick up my still camera. I went about creating self portraits, and soon after moved to Los Angeles to pursue film making. It wasn’t long after the move that I decided to do photography instead of film making, and have been living in LA ever since creating art!
2. Where do you get inspiration for some of the looks in your photos?
I am constantly inspired by timeless wardrobes. I love something that looks like it could be from any time period and helps to tell a story. I am inspired by long flowing gowns and the way that wind catches in fabric.
3. What’s your favorite time period?
I love the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of painters, they inspire me so much!
4. Do you have an amazing dress and prop collection?
I like to think so! Though, admittedly, I have ruined most of them by dragging them through the mud or slopping them around in creeks. I have probably 20 or so dresses that I use on photo shoots and take with me to workshops, all of various styles but all of them timeless as well.
5. What is your fascination with water?
Aside from my name being Brooke . . . I am fascinated with the way that water is a foreign element for the most part. We as humans are not naturally water creatures, and so water seems to be a place where a new world can easily be formed. I like how fluid it is, the way that it can softly pour over skin and hide body parts that are in the water. It has so many meanings associated with it, like life and death.
6. How long does it take you to prepare for a shoot?
I spend at least a few hours per photo conceptualizing and planning all of the details. I always know what I am going to shoot before I pick up my camera, so half of my entire process is spent planning while the shooting takes about 10 minutes.
7. What do you splurge on for your photo shoots?
Usually my big splurges come from props! I recently purchased a giant octopus for a photo, something that I had been wanting for a very long time but never had the guts to buy. I will splurge on a dress if I think it can be versatile enough, too.
8. One thing that is very unique about your photography is that you use solely a square format. Why the square?
To me, the square format allows for the viewer to see into a whole new world instead of a photograph. Suddenly the traditional photographic frame is gone, and instead of focusing on the medium the concept can shine through even brighter.
9. You also have a background in film and English, do you still write or film?
I have not yet jumped back into film, but I know that I will someday. I don’t feel that it is right quite yet because I don’t have the means to properly translate my ideas. I am infatuated with photography still, but I am sure that sometime, maybe soon, I will get the itch to make my images move. As for writing, I keep my blog updated very regularly with essays and musings. I love writing about photography and philosophies on photography. I am also writing a book which I hope to publish in 2012 all about inspiration and creating new worlds.
10. Tell us about your upcoming workshop in New York.
My workshops for the fall are numerous, as I will be teaching in New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Texas. The New York workshop is an 8 hour day full of hands on shooting and editing a levitation photograph. Each workshopper leaves with their own creation from the day. I go through my process, start to finish, on how to shoot and edit a levitation image. I teach how to make people fly!