25 Jun Brooke Holm
From clear white sights of polar terrain, to the deep colored coastline, and to the infinite ripples of desert dune. All of these majestic landscapes captured by the lens of Brooke Holm, turned into painting-like, magnificent artworks that are illustrated by the colors and textures of mother nature. Raised in Australia and now a New York based photographer, Brooke’s distinctive eye and minimalist aesthetic traverse from fine art works of ariel photography, to refined works of architectural, interior, and still life photography. Her work embodies not merely just a visual fascination, but more so a conscious reflection in nature, ecology, and humanity; highlighting the environmental awareness we all need to keep in mind.
Hello Brooke! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How was your upbringing like and what impacted you to work as a photographer?
I was born in California to an Australian mum and an American dad, but I moved to Australia (Brisbane) with my mum and 3 sisters when my parents split. I was 9 years old at the time and grew up quite quickly. My mum was a single mother of four girls so I had to step up and help look after the little two while she worked really hard. We were raised to be quite independent and self sufficient but we were a tight family unit and protected each other like a forcefield. I got into photography after I finished University and I was working at an advertising agency. They gave me a camera one day and asked me to go take pictures for them. They really liked the images so it became a regular thing. I wanted to get more of a grasp on the technical side of photography so I studied while working to gain a Cert IV in Photoimaging. When I finished that I moved to Melbourne and got a job working as a full time photographer at a stationery company. I also photographed anything and everything on the side and gradually had enough clients to quit my day job and go completely freelance.
Your work captures interior, architecture, still life, as well as fine art works of majestic landscapes. Why do you choose these subjects as your focus? and how did you begin aerial shooting?
I started off shooting anything and everything for anyone, so that included weddings, portraits, food, fashion, advertising, still life, interiors and landscapes. I figured out that shooting people wasn’t my thing and homed in on Interiors/Architecture, Still Life and Environmental work. These three things really do work together and my aesthetic carries across them all.
I always have had a connection to nature since I was little. I grew up playing outside in woods and creeks and hiking, building forts and climbing trees. We camped too so I spent a lot of time outdoors. My first aerial shoot was in New Zealand many years ago, also my first helicopter ride. The first time I went up there I was captivated. The perspective really hit me and I have been shooting this way ever since.
Where do you get your inspirations and what is your creative process like?
I’m inspired by a great number of things. Nature for one. Nothing has ever impressed me so much as the natural world we live in. There are places I have been that have left me completely speechless. It’s not a feeling I can really share or describe to people but I try to convey how I feel through my photography. I feel for and worry for our environment so it’s part of my mission to share our world with others – so they can connect with it too and hopefully be moved to play a part in protecting it. It will take all of us to succeed.
I’m inspired by a lot of photographers and architects, designers, scientists and artists. People that move the world and create wonderful things inspire me the most. I also am inspired greatly by Space and exploration and the desire to push humankind further than we ever thought possible. My creative process usually involves a lot of research and determination about a project I have in mind. Then I will execute it in the field and work with nature to get what I need. It mostly works out the way I intend but sometimes nature surprises you and you get something unexpected.
Can you share with us your most memorable shooting experience? Was there a destination that gave you the most unforgettable impression?
There have been a lot of them. But my first trip to Svalbard in the northernmost part of the world was particularly special to me. When I got there I just cried. I had read so much about this place and I had wanted to go there since I was a child when I read Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights book. I was there on a 10 day expedition and there was a time where I stood at the bough of the ship, I was told then and there that I was the northernmost person in the entire world. That sent shivers down my spine. I came up close to polar bears, walruses, arctic reindeer, whales and seals. These gorgeous creatures are so vulnerable and need an incredible amount of protection so we don’t see them go extinct because of us.
What made you moved from Australia to New York? How does New York benefit you from what you do?
I was always inspired by New York – as I visited quite a few times over the years. I made the leap when an opportunity arose to move here with my fiancé. We had the choice to stay or go and I said let’s go for it! Having a dual citizenship also helped me transition relatively easily. For my interiors and still life work, it’s the best place to be. There is access to so many creative inspiring people and it’s great to collaborate with people I’ve admired from afar for so long. I’ve now been here 2.5 years and have worked with people and companies I never thought possible. It’s also closer to the rest of the world which makes traveling a little more economical for my fine art projects.
What were the biggest challenges of being an independent photographer? How did you overcome those difficulties?
The biggest challenge but biggest reward is that you are your own boss. You have full control over your life and are not stuck behind a desk. That kind of work was never for me so when I dove into freelance photography I really found my calling. It’s hard not having the security of a guaranteed paycheck every week but the risk is so much more worth it. And it’s all just a big adventure after all. If it were too easy what would be the point? You just have to be more proactive and chase people you want to work with and keep on creating and being true to yourself and your work, always.
Do you have any other creative outlets besides photography?
Music. I have played the piano since I was 4 years old. I used to write a lot of music back when I had a piano at home but its taken a backseat now unfortunately. Every now and then I think about getting keyboard again so I can get back into it. I also have this dream of creating a watercolor children’s book. I have a lot of illustrations in my head to put somewhere.
How did you come to develop your own style and taste, in terms of personal aesthetic?
It developed over time, in the beginning my style was very different while I was experimenting. I think it is constantly evolving based on my evolution as an individual. I just do what feels right and try not to pay too much attention to what other people are doing – that just leads to self doubt. You just have to do you in such a saturated industry and only try to be better than yourself. There are always new things to learn so teaching myself new skills also changes my perspectives.
How do you wind yourself down after a hectic work day? Do you have any personal practice for inner peace?
My brain is always incredibly busy thinking of a million things that I can sometimes be a bit scattered. I’m trying to get better at Meditation because I’m told it really can help. I try my best to do regular exercise like pilates and swimming – and sometimes to wind down there is nothing better than a good TV show or movie. It really transports my mind somewhere else and I love studying the visuals in epic works of cinematography and storytelling. I’m trying to un-train myself from always picking my phone up in moments of quiet or boredom. Getting off the phone is a great way to relax. Picking up a book is so much more rewarding.
What do you like to read?
I’m a nerd. I love science fiction, fantasy, adventure.. I also love art books and books about people I’m inspired by.
Is there any character (fiction or non-fiction) in your past readings that reminds you of yourself?
Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire books (better known as Game of Thrones). She’s a rebellious badass and has flagrant disregard for anything society has told her she has to do or has to be. I see a lot of myself in her.
Can you share with us a quote or phrase that has inspired you deeply?
Look deeper into Nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein
Lastly, how would you like to be seen and remembered?
I could only hope to be seen or remembered as kind, caring, sharing and passionate about the things I believe in.
During our interview, Brooke shared with us her recently published art book Sand Sea from her photography series by the same name. Following her footsteps through each print, we are once again transported by her elevated vision and aesthetic; inspired us immensely with the innate passion and actions she took for our natural surroundings.
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