While on my most recent photo shoot to a cemetery I really tried to push my photographic artistry to a new level. I recently watched fine art photographer Brooke Shaden’s class on CreativeLive and I was so blown away and awestruck by her imaginative art and talent! Her work inspired me to try to reach beyond the realms of “photographic reality” and into a world of fantasy and make-believe, so that’s what I had in mind when I set out to the cemetery for the shoot.
I found it challenging to make the departure from realism into a world of my imagination and fantasy. I felt slightly uncomfortable and certainly creatively “stretched” as my friend and I acted out some of the poses. But I was determined not to be deterred by the onlookers in the cars whizzing by or the vigilant church caretaker whose graveyard grounds we were quite literally frolicking on at times. I tried to block out my feelings of self-consciousness and not allow it to pull me from my focus on fantasy.
But the reality of it was that while it felt strange playing around in this make-believe world of our imaginations, it was also a lot of fun and, on a certain level, freeing. Gone are the constraints of the real world when shooting for fantasy, and that is quite liberating! Nothing I create will never be quite like Brooke Shaden’s. Her work is so beyond the realms of my imagination and it has a darkness to it that sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable. But I love her work because as she so aptly describes it, it makes you feel! You simply cannot look at her work and not feel something. She has inspired me to go beyond the realms of reality, to think more creatively, and to try new things with my photographic art. I am determined one day to create a “Brook Shadenesque” image of my own. Why? Not because I want to create work just like Brooke’s. I want to do it because I know it will be yet another avenue of growth along my photographic journey. I believe in the process I will learn things not only about photography, but also about myself. And I believe that the more of myself I am able to put into my photography, the more I will be able to convey feelings and emotion to my audience, and thus take my photographic art to a whole new level.