Self Portrait Composite Imagery Techniques

One of the things that draws people to the arts is the opportunity to transcend day to day life. Fine art photographer Brooke Shaden is no exception. Using herself as the subject, she captivates her viewers in fantasy worlds expressed purely through her images. Featured in a recent installment of B&H’s Women of Influence series, the ambitious young artist dives into the details of her journey as an artist:

Shaden didn’t always consider herself a photographer. In fact, for quite some time, she focused all of her efforts into writing. She says the ability to bring anything her imagination dreamed up to life was incredibly appealing. Eventually, her love of writing led her to pursue a career in filmmaking. As time went on, however, she found that it wasn’t the greatest fit; creating a single piece of work took an incredible amount of time, and having to collaborate with so many people left her feeling that she had little control over her own vision.

Some time after graduating from college, she tried her hand at photography as a medium. Living alone and being incredibly shy, she used the resources she had available to her to learn the basics—namely, herself. In time, she found that utilizing herself as a subject was an empowering experience. Without outside pressures commenting on what her work should or shouldn’t be, she confidently cultivated a voice of her own.

Brooke Shaden portrait

The images she makes today garner attention from people around the world. This was her intention in making her portraits. With her background in filmmaking, she strategically tries to tell complete stories in a single frame that can resonate with as many people as possible. Her images often feature dichotomies of forces working against one another, which in her words are physical representations of the conflicts each of us encounter. Soft and surreal, her images have appeal on a purely aesthetic level for their wonder and whimsy that isn’t afraid to break rules.

Brooke Shaden portrait

Having just presented her first solo show in New York City, Shaden is moving forward swimmingly in her career. As she progresses, she hopes to focus on more cohesive bodies of work that push boundaries and challenge her creatively (even if that means making herself a little bit uncomfortable).

Brooke Shaden portrait

So, as a successful photographer, what does Braden think it takes to get ahead of the game? Nothing more than a unique perspective: so long as a person understands why they create and what sort of message they’d like to spread through their work, everything else that stands in the way of greatness can be overcome with patience and a little bit of creativity.

Brooke Shaden portrait

“When you’re creating art, you’re creating a space for yourself where you can express anything, where you can be anyone, and I was alone doing that…so, by putting myself in the frame, I was giving myself that space to create and say anything.”

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