This week I wanted to talk about something that has been close to my heart these last few months. I did a blog about it before so I won’t go into huge detail, but the subject of losing the people closest to you has been in the forefront of my creation process lately. I have been invested in photographing the people I love in ways that I feel embody who they are.

I had a health scare with my mom towards the end of last year, and it was a sad but necessary reminder of the fragility of life. I am grateful that I have had this long with her, and truly any moment could be the last. The same goes for everyone, and perhaps that is why I have been increasingly interested in making connections that really mean something rather than letting people flit past me without a true understanding of who they are.

When my mom landed in the hospital last year, it was a shock while at the same time being something that we knew could happen. She is the strongest person I know, yet also has Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and her health has always been fragile. I didn’t even know she was in the hospital. She didn’t want me to know because she didn’t want me to worry. That’s just who my mom is…a mom through and through, someone who puts other before herself and never wants anyone to worry.

But worry I did, and that worry lead me to this photo series: photographing the people closest to me before they passWhen my mom came to visit in December we did a photo shoot together. Not a far-fetched idea considering my mom is insanely photogenic and loves the camera. My dad assisted, throwing her dress and hair in the air for me, while my mom twirled and danced and ran from the camera, coy and energetic. It was a time I will never forget, and if I do lose her sooner than I feel ready for (but then again, that is the way with everyone), I am so glad I have this image and the memory of creating it to represent who she is to me.

Thank you, mom, for who you are and what you have given me. It is far more priceless than this photograph, but for now, it is all I could think of to give. Sometimes even the smallest gestures speak volumes about the heart.

Do you photograph the people you love, or document their lives in some way? We are storytellers, and I feel now more than ever it is my job to tell the stories of those around me, even if it is in my own twisted voice. Do you have any unique experiences with love and loss? If nothing else, I am inspired to think about the abilities we have with our creativity in new ways.

 

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:25 am

    Gina Miller - Beautiful Brooke! Love it.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:34 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you Gina xoReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Maryanne - simply beautiful.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:35 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Maryanne!ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Kristin V - I love that you are sharing this with us. Through your fear of loss and vulnerability you were able not only to create this beautiful art celebrating your mom, but you also created a wonderful memory to be cherished. What a gift.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:35 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you Kristin – I can only hope that sharing something personal inspires someone else to consider the time we have together and cherish it. I know I needed a reminder xoxoReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:37 am

    Carla Paton - Beautiful. I bet your mum loves the photographs. Illness is a hard thing, and as we grow up we notice even more how important spending time with the people we love becomes.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:38 am

      brookeshaden - That is, I have to say, the wonderful thing about growing up 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:39 am

    Mary Angelini - Wow, that is so deep Brooke. I am sorry that you and your family are going through this. I absolutely love the picture you made of your mom, she is very beautiful and photogenic as you said but your image makes her more so!

    I am not close with my mom at all and actually we rarely speak anymore, something I have come to terms with it. However, my daughter who is now in college has opened up to me recently about her fears of losing me. Just hearing her talk like that, imagining her having to get through the next decade or more of her life without me rips my heart out. Tears are welling up now just thinking about it.

    Since she’s gone off to college I try to make the most of the times we are together and, unlike your mom, she loathes having her pictures taken. However, maybe seeing the bigger picture – that it’s more about the time together than the activity, she finally indulged me and let me photograph her.

    We had a fabulous time and I now have great images of her that sustain me in between the time we are together. The rest of my family are far flung across the globe, quite literally, but now that I have discovered my passion for people portraits, I am planning on ways I can get to see and photograph them, if for no other reason than to bring them closer to me and bridge the distance apart.

    Thank you as always for opening yourself up to all of us and sharing your beautiful story! inspiring as always 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:41 am

      brookeshaden - Mary, that is so beautiful. I am so glad that you are using your camera to make those connections which are so very important…but of course it isn’t really the camera, it is your big heart and love xoReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Tara Denny - Whoops, That one had me in tears. Oh my, Brooke. You have a gift, and a powerful one at that. To move people to tears and inspire them with a single image. You create more than art, you create hope and dreams, and love. Now, excuse me for a minute, I have to go call everyone I love. BRB.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:42 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Tara that means so much to me, thank you for being a positive force in my life. And yes! I love that – call everyone, time can be short but so meaningful 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Amani - Brooke, it is so amazing how you can turn negative feelings into beautiful and meaningful pictures. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have that kind if scare. And I truly hope that your mother gets better.

    I don’t claim to know what it’s like to lose a loved one, the way you’re talking about it. But I have lost someone who I loved ever since I was a kid. I built up dreams and hopes around that person. And about a year and a half ago, it turned out that everything I believed in was a lie. That person betrayed me in a way that made me feel like the person I knew and loved died, and there’s a stranger standing infront of me. I don’t know if I dealt with it the right way, but i didn’t know what else to do. To this day, I’m not sure if I’ve accepted what happened and it still hurts. I’m not just saying this Brooke but what you gave me during the workshop was exactly what I needed, and I didn’t even know it at the time. But after losing hope completely, you sparked something in me that made me want to fight my demons. Thank you so much.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 8:44 am

      brookeshaden - Amani, you have proved to be one of the strongest people I have ever come across and I don’t even think you know it. You have had a profound impact on my life just by being open and honest and loving. Thank you so much for that. And I am so sorry to hear about that loss…yes, that can be just as huge as death, and in many ways the same. It will get better though, and I hope that you find something within yourself that can fill the empty space. Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:49 am

    Joshua Pheneger - I wish I had thought to do this with my mother and sister, it is such a beautiful and loving sentimentand and a remarkable way to preserve your memories of your loved ones.

    I lost my sister suddenly several years ago, and my mother just as suddenly at the end of last October. I wasn’t prepared to lose either of them, and I have few physical reminders of them, but they are a part of me and they will never truly be gone.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 9:03 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Josh I am so sorry to hear that, truly. My heart breaks.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Ana - What a beautiful creation! I share your feelings about doing something before it’s too late, but only because of my regrets. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer I was unable (out of fear) to take photos of her. I wasted so many opportunities and regret it to this day. I have many other things that remind me of her but very few photos. She was my best friend and we had this amazing bond and it’s been three years that she’s been gone.
    Because of that I decided to take lots of photos of my dog when she was diagnosed with cancer. We had nine months together after the diagnosis and there are so many photos of her and of the two of us. This past Friday my beloved Bella (aka The Fuzz) crossed over to be with my mom. My apartment is painfully empty but at least I have all these beautiful memories of her in my photographs. Some people will think that a dog is not the same as a human, and I respect that, but for me she was my world – I have no children and no family in the country and she was just about all I had. We were together for 14 years and we shared many good times and bad. There is a special bond between some people and their pets and I was lucky to share that with The Fuzz. I am even luckier to have had the courage to express and document that love while she was here.
    Thank you for this blog post – it was perfectly timed.
    AnaReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 10:22 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Ana, I feel you so much. My cat died a year and a half ago now and I felt just the same. I wouldn’t really speak of it to anyone because I knew no one would understand how great that sort of a loss can be. It still hurts. I am so glad you have those memories, and so sorry about the ones that were missed. It takes a strong person to realize though that there is still time with others and those moments can be documented. I commend you and your bravery!ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 12:22 pm

      Joshua Pheneger - Thank you, while it hurts to lose someone – it also shows us what, and who, is important to us. I am doing my best to make sure I honor them and not take for granted those who are still with me.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 10:40 am

    Rocio Martinez - Okay, before I even start watching the video I want to say that I want to cry. My throat is in knots and my heart is sore. As you may or may not have seen me publish, my grandfather passed away last Monday. I was told about the news two days after. He lived in my home country of Puerto Rico and luckily, I was able to visit him one last time this past October. I am still deeply saddened and in total disbelief. I was not ready for that to happen. He was the one that would last to 100. His death was the first event that inspired me to create an image expressing my feelings. I had never done that before. If you ever wish to see it – it’s here: http://wp.me/p3UZdC-3G

    I also want to say that I sort of understand what you are going through. My grandmother had exactly the same diseases as your mother and she died of that at an early age. When she was diagnosed with that, the doctor told her she would only live a couple more years and that was when she was about 20 years old. She died at age 72. Because of her love and faith, she was able to enjoy more time on this earth with us. The last couple of years of her life she spent at my mother’s home, bedridden. Yet, we had her. However, we were not ready for that either. There is always a hope that things will get better. That things will change. That miracles will happen.

    Okay, now I’m off to watch the video.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 10:48 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Rocio I am so sorry to hear that 🙁 How terrible, as all passings are, but when it is unexpected..My heart breaks for you.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2014 - 12:05 pm

      Rocio Martinez - Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 10:52 am

    Rocio Martinez - Your mother is an incredibly beautiful woman. That image is perfect. It depicts the beauty of her spirit!

    The video is amazing. It’s filled with beauty and soul. Your feelings and love for your mother really shine through.

    I, too, worry about losing my mother and my father. They are both young at age but have gone through so much and have so many physical things going on that it’s always scary. My mom has atrial fibrillation and she get’s really tough episodes all the time. It’s really scary. My father has diabetes among other things. He is a physician and the worst part is that he knows for a fact that he will lose his legs in a few years. How scary and sad is that?

    I wish all the good luck in the world to your family and especially our mother. It’s definitely important to imprint their spirits before they pass. I believe that those that pass are still with us, yet we cannot touch or see them. Do like I once did with my grandmother. I laid by her side and held her hand. I felt the warmth of her body and promised myself I would never forget that moment and that it would always be imprinted in my mind. It’s been 5 years and I haven’t forgotten her warmth, nor her hands, nor that moment.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 11:41 am

    Avital - You are an inspiration to me Brooke! I feel like I know you
    thank you for everything you do, for every word, thought, and for being such a kind beautiful person!ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:17 am

      brookeshaden - Thank YOU so much, you’ve brightened my day 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 12:10 pm

    Menna Hossam - This is beyond beautiful! I just wanted you to know that you TRULY inspire me and that I wish I could be as half good as you are 🙂 <3ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:18 am

      brookeshaden - Menna, thank you! But remember that you can be better than that – you can be as good as you allow yourself to be <3ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 12:11 pm

    Margherita Introna - Oh Brooke, I cannot even begin to explain how much I have been touched by your series “Before they pass…” Your work always seems to have a profound effect on me, but this series goes so much deeper for me. On 14 February 2013 I lost my father suddenly. There was no chance for goodbyes. The shock was unbearable. Six months later my brother died in my arms from a brain tumour – and even though the time between diagnoses and his passing was just a mere 6 weeks, it gave us time together that I will forever treasure. As hard as it was to see him like that and as scared as I was to see him die, it was such an honour to have been there. I am crying so much now as I type through my tears… but one thing I want to share with you is that in his last few days as I sat by his side and held his hand and cared for him, I took a few snaps with my cellphone of us together and of our hands… I have never shown these to anyone and nobody knew I took them. I can barely look at them still, but for me who sees life in images… these images are so close to my heart and I know I will need to cling onto them when I am ready <3

    May you still have many beautiful memories with your mother and family. This series and the insight it has brought you will be of much comfort to you… take the time and treasure it. Sending you much love and light… <3 xxReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:19 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Margherita, you have *me* in tears. I am so sad for you but so glad to know you have some images to cherish. Thank you for sharing – in that strange way that death can inspire, you have inspired me – to do more, shoot more, cherish more….love more. Thank you for being you, and you are in my thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    Alicia Raft - Oh Brooke, this was so emotional! Besides being gorgeous, this image and video have heart and soul.

    I’m really proud of you starting this project. I think it’s amazing how like your mother you are. You both seem selfless and full of love. You radiate positive energy and just seeing this brightened my day!

    Hope that today brings you many smiles. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:20 am

      brookeshaden - Alicia, thank you so much. You’ve brought tears to my eyes <3ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    Denise - Brooke, your Mother’s Light and graceful Spirit is reflected so purely in this beautiful image. The photography you so artfully create, inspires us not only to express ourselves as the photographer, but coax out the dreams and fantasies of others before our lens. I have found that moments shared during photography can sometimes eclipse the purpose, as well as the final image, when one’s essence is willingly revealed.

    The Love and Security you offered your parents, which created this opportunity for their soulful expression, is a gift that shows your strength and gentleness combined. So great of you to share this moment, the video of your thoughts, and encourage others to create an image of those they love. I lost my Mother two years ago. I remember whispering to her before she passed… “Find a way to talk with me”. And she has, in a way that makes me laugh and find comfort in knowing she is just an ‘inner smile’ away. May your Mother dance long upon this earth and forever in the comfort of your heart.

    P.S. I was able to photograph a special moment when my Mother’s Spirit brightly pierced through the stormy haze of Alzheimer’s … and I am so thankful.ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:21 am

      brookeshaden - Denise, that is such a beautiful story that aches and inspires. Thank you so much for sharing, I will not soon forget it.ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 11:04 am

      Denise Neale Jensen - Oops, left my second reply under Chandra’s post by accident – please see below.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 10:46 pm

    Chandra Achberger - I have no words. (okay I have a few) Simply WONDERFUL! Every single second is a gift.ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:22 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Chandra xoxoReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 10:58 am

      Denise Neale Jensen - Thank you Brooke. An image of fighting through jumbled layers of one’s mind to connect with someone – even if for just a moment, is a project I’d like to explore.ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 2:18 am

    Ashley - I cried while watching this, I’ve often wanted to photograph those I love especially my parents but have always been too reserved to do so and this reminds me of why I felt so passionately to do so.ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 8:23 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much for writing Ashley – I hope that you can share a moment with them through your lens, and if not, that you have beautiful memories xoxoxReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    Jacs - I photographed my fathers decline from Parkinson’s and Dementia prior to his health. It was one of the most important times in my life. I’m glad you are doing this project now.ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 7:02 pm

    Karen Johnson - What a beautiful, beautiful image, story and tribute to your Mom!ReplyCancel

  • January 15, 2014 - 10:06 am

    mindy wilson - Brooke, you are so right-on about making connections that really mean something. It’s been six months since Ron’s son Andrew died and we still talk about him daily and see reminders of him in so many places. He’s still a such a big part of our lives but we miss his voice, his laugh and the way he saw the world and especially his big spirit of love and gratitude. He’s taught me so much about how to live in this world. And so have you. If you have a minute watch this video and meet Andrew. Love, Mindy
    http://vimeo.com/72395808ReplyCancel

    • January 15, 2014 - 10:33 am

      brookeshaden - I absolutely love it Mindy – brought tears to my eyes <3ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 7:14 am

    Lisa Lizarraga - I ask myself on a yearly basis: “If i were to die tomorrow what would i regret?” that question helps me to put so much in perspective. I now spend almost all my time pursuing my passions and loving the ones i love. I have finally learned what is most important in my life and what is not. At this point in my life there is finally a good answer to my question…nothing.ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Mickael Fjaere - so beautiful Brooke, I always tell my mom how I feel and how much I love her, I also do some tributes to her time to time… life is so unpredictable and fragile… just cried watching this… thanks for sharing… Its so important to show how we feel, both ways… you are truly an inspiration, not just as an artiste, but has a person… A big hug, MickaelReplyCancel

  • October 3, 2018 - 8:59 pm

    Linda - Thank you for this reminderReplyCancel

My new year has been hectic. On January 2nd I drove to Los Angeles, prepped for a retreat I was hosting, and attended a gallery show. The next 3 days I taught the retreat. The day after that I filmed an educational DVD. That night I took a redeye to NYC, shot the whole next day, and then flew home the next morning. Now I’m home and looking back on my first week of the new year and I feel two things:

I am grateful, and I am stressed.

I value calm. I value being centered and balanced. Being busy is great because it is often a sign of life moving forward. But sometimes we put too much value on being busy. I am guilty of this. I send out a tweet listing all the things I have to do. I let others know that my life is constantly moving…and why? To compensate for something? To make my life seem bigger than it is?

I don’t value being busy in this way. I don’t like doing things for the sake of doing them. I am most inspired when I am home with my other half. I am most calm when I can sit and think and write and shoot and edit. I am most inspired when I’m not rushing around airports or scheduling the next thing in my week.

I think that we put too much emphasis on how busy we are, but not on how productive we are. Have you ever heard someone list all the things they had to do in their day? Often it will start with: Well I got out of bed at 6 o’clock, and then I put clothes on, and then I drove to the coffee shop and ordered coffee for my coworkers, and then I had to be at work by 8…

And all of that listing to say that someone drank coffee and went to work.

I am guilty of this. I hear people talk like this. And that is okay – we are all feeling stressed at some point and we all need someone to say that they understand, or that you’re doing a great job. But at what point do we start to place real value in those lists, to the point that having a lot to do is more valuable than the things you’re actually doing? At what point does our stock in being busy outweigh the actual living of life?

One of my goals for this year is to not be as busy. It might mean I make less money. That is something I would have to accept. It might mean that I make fewer “industry connections”, but does that really matter? I’m not one for networking, I’m one for living. Being busy is great, but to a certain point. Everyone has their own idea of how busy is too busy, and now more than ever I know my limits.

If I looked back on my life would I be able to say that I lived it exactly as I dreamed? No, probably not. And not because I am unhappy in any way, but simply I feel the need to be home more. I feel the need to spend more valuable time with my loved ones, and treasure that time in the moment. We all put emphasis on different things that are important to us. Being busy should never be something we put emphasis on, but instead it should be about the things that keep us busy – our passions – that we feel most connected to.

What are your thoughts on being busy? Are you too busy or not busy enough? What is something that you think you could use more of in your life to feel more fulfilled?

 

  • January 12, 2014 - 8:49 am

    Natalia Pek - I always find my life is not as busy as I expected. I really do wish to be more busy than I’m now and be more productive, however, i don’t really know what comes ahead. Plans changed and other things happened.

    Well, anyways, I still grateful for what I did now and will keep developing myself to a better one 😀ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 8:52 am

      brookeshaden - I love your spirit Natalia! To let things happen and take it as it comes.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 8:50 am

    Tara Denny - I understand. I am not a busy person and I keep it that way, because once my schedule fills up, no matter what it is with, I start to feel like my time is being stolen from me. I keep my life pared down to the necessities, work, family, art. If I have to keep appointments and run errands, it stresses me out. This is how I know I could never live your life, glamorous as it sounds. I’d go mad. 🙂

    Love the image Brooke, and love the inspiration!
    TaraReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 8:51 am

      brookeshaden - Tara, I feel just the same way – As though sometimes time is being stolen. And you know what? The biggest thing in my life combating that right now is this blog. I get to sit here and read comments that make me swell with joy and know that this is my peaceful place, so thank you for writing <3ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:04 am

    Lieke Anna - I think it’s also because people think that if you are busy, you are succesfull. Succes is not based on how busy you are, but may be seen that way by others. If you have a day without plans or meetings, does that mean that you have no succes? Absolutely not, of course not! And I think that it’s more to do with what people from the outside see as succes, it does not equal being busy áll the time. I am sometimes super busy, but in my head, planning all the ideas, shoots and edits. Ordering your thoughts, that’s also being busy.
    But of course it is good to be busy, but the thing is to not let it get to you. Take the time you need, don’t rush it, that is a lesson I’ve learned in the past year. You can’t do áll the things on your list in one week, you’ll have to plan and stop it from overwhelming you. Well that’s kind of my thoughts on being busy. I love the way you address these kinds of things that all of us can relate to and we can help eachother out with how we think and see these things, <3!ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:06 am

      brookeshaden - I love your thoughts Lieke – they mirror mine at the moment, trying to internalize all of these things and take them to heart 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:06 am

    Gary Blinn - Love the image above. Just normal life with work and family is often hectic. With yoga and meditation I can ground myself. I find just being me for 15 or 20 minutes can put life in perspective.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:08 am

      brookeshaden - Gary I love that – “just being me” – what a great thing to do that we surprisingly forget about.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Julie Ray - Brooke, this really speaks to me. Over a year ago, I left a good paying job because I was so unhappy there. In doing so I had to sell my beloved BMW, cut down on shopping sprees, and focus more on what makes me happy. Although I would love to be a little more busier in my photography business, I know that it will fall in place one day. As long as I have my camera, any other material things just aren’t important to me anymore.
    xoxoxo JulieReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:12 am

      brookeshaden - I hear that Julie, for sure. You do seem happy and I am so glad for that. It can be so hard to leave what you know behind – good for you for being so brave!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:11 am

    Russ Turner - Thank you for the insightful post. Love the image too! The issue of busy versus downtime has been at the forefront of my life for many years: There was a time when life was difficult even though I wasn’t busy at all. A dear friend advised that instead of focusing on the things that weren’t working, concentrate on putting my energy into the world and see what comes back. It was good advice and many wonderful things have flowed from keeping that perspective.

    I do find it to be a constant struggle to find the right balance. Sometimes I’m not busy enough and feel that I’m wasting time and then I over-schedule and find myself too busy without a moment to myself. I think the key for me (and my challenge) is making sure that when I’m busy, I’m doing things that are rewarding, positive and uplifiting. That way even if I am constantly on the go, and don’t have a moment to sit and reflect and recharge, my energy is being spent in a good way and will ultimately flow back.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:13 am

      brookeshaden - I completely identify with you Russ – I am learning the same lesson, that when I am busy (which I am always grateful for), I need to be doing the types of things that keep me feeling positive and fulfilled. Thank you so much for writing, I appreciate it a lot!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:16 am

    Charlotte Key - My problem is I’m plenty busy but not productive enough! I am a perfectionist and if an image I create doesn’t meet my “standards”, I abandon it and start over. I need to relax more and take my time, otherwise it isn’t any fun.
    I’ve been concerned about you Brooke, that you are working too much and stretching yourself thin. We all love you and your work.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:18 am

      brookeshaden - I hear that Charlotte! And wow thank you for saying that! I had no idea that anyone noticed, which might sound silly, but still…I appreciate it so. I am extremely happy literally all the time so I’m good, just need to spend more time at home feeling centered 🙂 I’ve got a couple trips coming up that I get to have a lot of fun on, so I’m pretty excited about the future.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:21 am

    Rukmini Poddar - your point of being productive over being busy…is profound. Thank you for writing this and sharing your insight. I really love what you have to say and it’s something I definitely need to hear. It’s actually such a gift to be busy with what I love..every day. But I need to see it that way and not allow myself to become overwhelmed by it. And also not allow myself to always bring it up publically with people in order to compensate and make my life seem more exciting than it is.

    feel the peace, but also live in the heat of the moment and focus on how i can further improve my productivity…:) These are great meditations for the new year. Thank you, Brooke!ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:23 am

      brookeshaden - I completely understand everything of what you said and yes, great to be busy with what you love, but always good to remember to stay centered.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:26 am

    Delphine Millet - I am always worried about not doing enough. When I shot one photo by week, I wanted to shoot 2 and then when I shot 2, I wanted 3. And then I want to do something different, I want to expose my work … To being busy is to have the impression of doing something with my life. But every time I’m alone, I doubt. Where do I go? What am I doing with my life? Why it takes so long? I am not enjoying the travel, by being busy I focus on the end of the road. We have the impression that when everything will be done, we will be happy but no, we will find something else wrong which needs to be fix or done.

    You post reminds me the important : to do what I love to do and stop worrying about what others would think.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:28 am

      brookeshaden - You have no idea how much I agree with this. It doesn’t matter if we cross everything off of our to-do list…we will find more to fill it.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Kate Barry - I hit the pause button about 3 months ago by quitting my full time job in retail. It’s been the most interesting time of my life and I’m learning so much about myself every day. I still have a distance to go yet but it’s all part of life’s journey. I’m so pleased that I see your blog and the community you have built up because I feel like it speaks directly to me and is a beacon of light showing me that I’m on the right path and that I’m not the only person who feels like this! Thank you 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:34 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Kate wow, how amazing of you!! To be on this journey of finding yourself. I always have to remind myself to do the same, no matter what is going on: to take time daily to remember that this is all a journey and we can make the most of it. Thank you for your kind words – they are cherished.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:40 am

    Alexandra - I want to get out of the house! There’s no “thinking” here…too much noise…LOLReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:50 am

    Bettye Rainwater - I think the human spirit has such a strong natural tendency for ONWARD & UPWARD – do more, do better. Do more. It can be hard to step back from that and reflect on what we really *want* from life – AND to understand that what we want will continue to change as we go through life.

    I think the greatest year of my life was when a job suddenly up and ended, leaving me jobless. I spent the next two years getting by by the skin of my teeth BUT – had all the free ME time I’d always dreamed of. And that was wonderful. I’m still paying the price financially (ha), and yet I still feel that was the greatest time in my life.

    Now I’m WORKING towards getting back to a similar place (mucho debt dictates that I must work for the man for now)…but…yeah. That year I had time to THINK. and DREAM. and REFLECT. and TRY. Things I don’t have or make the time for now. I struggle w unplugging and having thoughtful time. But I struggle Onward & Upward 🙂 and I hope that someday I’ll find the balance.

    I hope you do, too.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 9:52 am

      brookeshaden - That is so wonderful that you had that time to reflect, and that now you know yourself better than ever. How inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Vanessa Powell - I think lately for me, busy has been under the microscope for a while. My life is compartmentalized in little boxes of doing. There’s all these pieces of my creative and ‘real’ life that seem to not want to mesh and being busy sometimes feels like running from corner to corner of my life straightening up the boxes so that nothing tips or, heaven forbid, falls and then they all come crashing along.

    It’s one of my goals as well, Brooke, to be less ‘busy’ and more productive and reflective. I feel like when I am too busy, trying to hold on to too much, that my art suffers, and I suffer. My heart can see what it wants to see and I am stifled, frustrated and moody. That’s no way to live a life, and it’s certainly no way to encourage creativity.

    I’ll be slowing down this year, and beyond. Savoring and paying attention. As usual, your inspiration comes at a wonderful time.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 10:09 am

      brookeshaden - Yes I understand that all too well. We can encourage each other this year, periodically checking in to make sure we aren’t doing too much…and perhaps even knocking a few less needed boxes over from time to time 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:11 am

    Amani - That is such a beautiful picture! I don’t think I’ve seen it before. I love it.

    I’m wondering – you mention that being at home is what you need at the moment, but I also know that sharing your work and interacting with people makes you happy (and also keeps you busy), so does that mean you’ll be doing less of one thing that makes you happy to be able to do more of what makes you.. happier?
    If that doesn’t make sense at all, just ignore me haha.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m too busy, and other times I feel like I’m not doing what I want to be doing. I’d never quit my job, but it does come in the way of something I’m more passionate about (photography). That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it though. There are days when I wake up and think, I’d much rather go out and shoot than go to work. But I try to make up for that by shooting later in the day or in the weekends. I think I just need to find some sort of balance, which I know is attainable, but I’m still struggling with it – because one of my other passions is reading. So between work, shooting, and editing, it’s hard to fit in reading time. Also, I really need to get back to exercising. Oh god, typing all that made me anxious! hahaReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 11:04 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Amani! Hehe I hear what you’re saying. I adore all of it…and that is why it is such a hard choice to make. I love interactions. But I need fewer yet more meaningful interactions. So I’ll be traveling less, but trying to make sure that my time spent out and about is more rewarding for everyone involved. This is one of the main reasons why I put short workshops on hold this year and am only hosting retreats – it allows for more time to connect, so that my trips are spent more meaningfully.

      Don’t be anxious!! Celebrate the fact that you understand what your passions are. Not everyone does. You will find the time, just like you do for photography. I have all the faith in the world when it comes to you.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Tawna Brown - Where do I even begin? I relate 100% to this busy-ness. That has been my life for many years, and I’m not so sure i’m very proud of it. I’m always on the go, full-time job and trying to expand my photography business on the side (which would be during most of my “free time”). I’m always traveling, for work and pleasure… Traveling and photography are two of my greatest passions, so as soon as one trip is finished, i am thinking about the next…. And when I come back from a trip, I usually have tons of images to review and edit… And I spend all of this time doing that, and what do I do with them? For the most part, nothing except post a selection on Facebook. All that time just to post on Facebook, when a random handful of people might actually take the time to look at them and comment. (I know FB is not the way to go…and I’ve been wanting to build a website and start a blog as well, and even though I think about these to-do list items all the time, I keep getting distracted with a million other “little” things.

    So it’s also about choices….what I choose to “invest/spend” my time on… I would rather “invest” than “spend” time, as it is a valuable, non-renewable resource. Once it is gone, it is gone. I can’t get a 2nd job to “earn” extra spending time. I need to focus my attention on priorities and not get distracted by “busy-work” (work that really gets me no where, and is a time-spender). And in order to do this, I need to really know what my priorities are. But…this requires me to slow down and think differently, and I don’t know how to slow down.

    Just the mere “thinking” makes me busy, it preoccupies me from other things. I am a walking to-do list. I will go from the kitchen to the front door, and the to-do list is running in my mind; it is going non-stop. I have to-do list notes on the kitchen counter, on my computer screen, in my calendar and written on my hand. I guess feel a sense of accomplishment when I can cross things off my list; I can actually see it on paper…but what if those things are taking away from the more important things that i want to accomplish? That’s what is happening.

    The more important things sometimes are bigger to-do items (like building a website)….and I don’t even know where to start…so instead of moving forward with that task/project, as long as I have other things on my to-do list in the meantime (and i always will), I will shelve the website (the important thing) and wash the floors, or go to the store to pick up paper towel, or take the recycables out. I will do this, because I can see the results of my efforts much more quickly…I can see things crossed off my list. While the website and blog still remain….

    I could write forever on this subject. But I should stop now and pour my cup of coffee. Thank you for getting me to think about this, as it reinforces for me that time is ticking away, and I’d rather be investing that time than spending it during this one and only precious life I have to live. I want to feel full at the end, not empty. I want to make it count. (PS- I’d love to be at your France workshop! Maybe you’ll have another like that one??)

    Wishing you a wonderful, productive, fulfilling Sunday!ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 11:01 am

      brookeshaden - Tawna, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. They were very insightful and really made me think. I am guilty of the same things.

      When you do finish that website of yours (I’m cheering you on!!) show us all here..I know I’d love to see!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 11:24 am

    David Cortez - As someone who feels like they started late in the game, I understand what it means to feel busy. I wonder now, if being busy is being productive, and if I’m even going in the right direction. I often find myself contemplating that direction and the speed at which I’m operating. I feel like I’m always playing catch up. I think that at a young age, we are taught that hard work equals success; that not being busy is being lethargic. We are children of clay, molded by our parents and society to believe what we are told and what we observe. Breaking the mold is not an easy task unless we’re vigilant.

    There’s always something left to do, isn’t there? We wake up and see our world around us and feel driven to do more. That unfinished task, that unrealized goal, the can haunt us if we think too much on them. Robert Browning once said, “A man’s (or woman’s) reach should exceed his grasp.” I think we’re forever reaching and being busy doesn’t mean we will ever catch up, nor should it. What makes a person great is not keeping busy but mastering (inasmuch as possible) those endeavors which become priority when we realize we are happiest when doing them. I think.

    I have to tell myself sometimes, that I can’t do everything. That will not fulfill my life, but rather, getting really good at something and having the time to enjoy with my wife and my family, will. I think you’re on to something.

    I met you in Laguna at your gallery, you seemed like a genuinely sweet and amazing person. Soon as the gallery filled up though I did notice it got a little stressful. I understand now why you love shooting in nature so much. It’s therapeutic, calming, and when anyone is at ease, they seem to perform much better.

    Thank you for the inspiration, best wishes,
    David.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 11:28 am

      brookeshaden - David, thank you so much for these thoughts. It was amazing getting to meet you the other week. Thank you for being there. Yes, I believe that we all need to be in touch with what our passions are, and realize fully how to live out those passions in a happy way.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Faran Khan - I think you are right when you said we usually pretend that we are more busy than we actually are.But weighing the productive output against the time we keep ourselves busy determines the prime reason of that particular time spent, which ultimately defines us who we are, and what are our priorities. Definitely if those are the things that gives us inner peace and satisfaction then its worth time spending for.ReplyCancel

    • January 12, 2014 - 11:29 am

      brookeshaden - Yes Faran I agree with you – how we spend our time is how we are perceived, and so this debate of being busy vs. being calm can be one that ultimately makes us feel our worth.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    Tony - Your blogs are like therapy, asking the obvious questions that most of us have to think about.
    I have learnt to appreciate ‘me time’ and make sure I have enough of it.
    You have such a wise head on young shoulders, I now use the phrase ‘Work to Live’ rather than ‘Live to Work’. I too enjoy being outside in the fresh air and nature as relaxation. Getting the work / life balance correct is very tricky. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 12:39 pm

    Paulo Carvalho - Well! If I am not doing anything, I get stressed. But if I have to do immense things in one day, then also get stressed. So, I always look for the balance between the job, being with family and friends, to practice my hobbies and sleep. I do not dispense, a few good hours of sleep. Sleeping is my time to reenergize. It is certain that I could occupy most of my time making money with all the projects I have in mind. But for me the most important is also to be with those we love and have time for other things. For me happiness is like a cooking recipe. All the good recipes need good ingredients and to me, photography, to practice mountain bike, running, cooking and being with friends and family are my ingredients for happiness. And that is how I occupy myself 24 hours a day.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 2:00 pm

    Margherita Introna - Thank you for this post Brooke <3 It puts in words my thoughts and feelings in a profound way. Last year was a painfully sad year for me as I lost my father and six months later my brother, but 2013 also taught me that life is fragile and life is too short. It has made me take a good long look at my life and made me realize that I must change my focus. I have a very good job that I really enjoy… but it comes with so much stress and too often I have felt I am running on empty. I such an emotional person that I take the stress so much to heart and they weigh so heavy on me. I am so tired of feeling this constant stress on myself. I need to do those things that feed my soul. Yes, this will mean less money perhaps, but what is the point of money if one does not have the time or energy to enjoy what it can bring… It is strange as I was just speaking to my mom today about many of these thoughts… And my plan is that within the next 2 years, I plan to resign and do photography full time. I wish with all my heart I could do it immediately, but there are complications and priorities that hold this back… but my heart has made the decision and I know now it is the right one <3ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 3:27 pm

    Dominic Panico - I grew up with a busy family. My mother spends her life working so she can make a better life for her children and I think growing up watching this has caused myself to not feel “fulfilled” unless I always have busyness in my life.

    I don’t agree with this way of living and I battle myself everyday to just feel successful by just enjoying a simple day off. I go to school full time, work at a studio full time and run my own photography/videography business on the side. Some days I hate how much I am running around, but when I think about it, I question if I will fall back into that slump of not feeling accomplished If I am not running around like a mad man.

    Again, I don’t agree with this because the whole point of living is to experience the world, love, and share it with people. Not only working (being busy) so you can get that quick feeling of accomplishment that will just fade in a couple days. It is hard to snap out of that mentality, but a goal I am working towards in 2014.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    Vanessa - I also got to the point where work and daily busy-life was overwhelming any form of creative expression, so I pushed back and took more time for me. For me, it was an issue of balance. In 2013, I swung too far left, and convinced myself that the time I was being lazy and accomplishing nothing was actually much needed rest. It really tuned out to be equally frustrating as the busy/spinning my wheels mentality had been. Personally, I need structure to maintain productivity, or either of those extremes can occur. This year I’m focusing on creative productivity and balance for my photography, baking, and some writing on the side. I’d like to keep each element alive and productive, because they all make me happy, but I’m definitely going to have to prioritize and stay on top of that to maintain it! It’s a challenge, but I look forward to tackling it, growing as an artist, and having a happy life for it all!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    Brian - I used to be busy at what I wanted to busy at; now I’m just busy. I wish I could be busy again at what I want to be busy at. That, of course, is photography.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 4:20 pm

    Kim - Hello dear Brooke,
    I feel like I am on a roundabout that I want to get off. It has not always been like this for me.
    I lived for 14 years ‘on the road’ where I lived each moment as it came. The importance then was pretty much the same as now keeping warm, feeding our family (not always relations), being healthy and happy. But before we took hours, fetching and chopping wood. Going on the water run to fill butts. Working on farms to earn money as needed by choice. Cooking what we had bought or found. We travelled through some really hard times but; time was spent with others, talking, laughing, dancing and generally feeling free just to be.
    As the children grew older it became necessary to remain in one place and henceforth, for ease and hot water I now live in a house. But I find now I am driven by the cost of living. I love being busy, working, helping others. What I do not like is that I feel these days I am going round and round without getting anywhere. I feel unstimulated so I seek out more to do or fill my time with. But I rarely draw (which I love) or run barefoot (which I love too) even just ‘be me’. In essence I don’t feel free.
    I think that years ago I would have ‘tatted down’ and moved on to pastures new. I wish life was just more ‘simple’.
    ps: I am still dancing like a crazy person at every opportunity <3ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 5:34 pm

    Brian - Beautiful image by the way. Love it.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 7:24 pm

    Rocio Martinez - WOW. I had never seen that image. It’s stunning. Your work surprises me every single time…even though I shouldn’t be surprised by now! HAHA.

    I think that I have a little bit of both worlds. I’ve been out of college for almost 4 years. I loved school and I loved being busy and always learning new things. I had different jobs off and on but I haven’t worked in a “real” job for about two years. I’ve mostly been a stay at home wife. My husband works A LOT…so much so that he is at work almost every weekend; so, I’m usually alone at home or visiting my mother. She lives about 2 minutes away from us. I am with my mom a lot. I usually help her at her house and help her watch my nephew about three times a week. I’m over at her house 4 or 5 days per week and the rest of the time I’m home. Since I started photography, I’ve spent a lot of my free time studying photography and lately, trying to build up my business.

    For the last 6 or 7 months though, I’ve had my mind on the fine art photography group. It’s become such an amazing community that most of my days are spent doing things for the group and researching to build the organization that I have previously told you about. It’s ridiculous because I am ALWAYS online…even while doing chores, even while with my mother, even while watching tv or playing video games with my husband. The group keeps me so busy that I don’t even pay enough attention to building my business. It has become my full time job and my life. It’s absolutely overwhelming. My family has noticed and have even told me that I need to do something to start making some money from this.

    Sometimes, I feel bored because I do nothing else…but I am busy all the time. I just wish that I could travel more and like you talked about in your previous post…have more one on one human connections. Hopefully, the organization will end up leading me towards that.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 5:29 am

    Beata Rydén - I can just say that I´m thinking a lot about balance this year. My main goal is to find balance during this year. Not working too much or too little, but finding the perfect balance between work, social time, alone time, exercise, rest and so on. I hope that I will make it 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 7:50 am

    Michelle Baisa - You always make me think, Brooke. I love that. I, too, am busy. I make myself busier than I need to be. I have what I think is often that wife/mother’s idea that I must get everything on my to-do list done. Today. That, unfortunately, often bumps out my creative time. One of my goals this year is to NOT allow my creativity to be pushed to the back burner. I absolutely need to balance the things important to me and that includes my photography. It gives me joy which I know will invade the other areas of my life making living ALL of it that much more wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Joshua Pheneger - I feel as though the world is a monster who feeds on my free time, devouring every second that I can spare towards furthering my art.

    It is extremely frustrating to only want to create beautiful images, yet get bogged down with the details of what needs to be done at work, what needs to be made for dinner, when were the bathrooms last cleaned, where do I need to be and when, and for whom?

    Yet when I do have those spare moments I tend to waste them. I hide behind my fears, I make excuses, I lie to myself and say that I can’t do it alone. I think I make myself busy on purpose, so I have more time to avoid the things that scare me. Yet another thing that I need more time to change.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    Tell a Story | Decent Exposure - […] Less lawn mowing, more adventures. Metaphorically and literally. See Brooke Shaden’s recent blog on busy-ness. Don’ confuse being busy with accomplishing anything worthwhile. I have a theory that every […]ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 2:09 am

    Ashley - I am a very busy person, but sadly it’s a busy in a way I feel is not good for me. Instead of being busy working on my passions, making my life what I want it to be, and spending it with the people I love; my life is filled with rushing around a job I sometimes enjoy and bills I can not afford. This year I wish to change my hectic busy into a busy for me.ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 11:39 am

    Crackle - Ahhh ms ancient soul in young physical form! You have found the golden bullet!! Nail on the head. The retreat home to Nz last year gave me peace and space the lifestyle here in the USA is definitely driven by the focus of productive over contemplative I find. Rush rish means busy means productive and contributing. As this has seeped back into our lives I am craving the peace, famy time and creative thoughts I began to feel returning. A renewal of energy and inspiration can only happen for me when I carve this space back out and it’s harder and harder when I look at the list of have tos and need tos so what I do is literally this year I blocking off time for peace. I block out time for family and I am getting up thirty minutes earlier to have time to write.
    Thank you for so clearly expressing thoughts that I share. Love your light and I believe your year will be richer in all the important things for pursuing this. And from that you will find the financial coffers fuller as your soul will be to xoxReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 1:39 pm

    Tara Eveland - I just now had the chance to read this post, I was BUSY this weekend, but not in the ‘usual’ way my family remembers of last year. BUSY on the weekends for me has meant for the last 2 years, taking studio work and spending 8-12 hours a day in studio or office, all weekend long, working on other families shoots.
    Not that I don’t love that, but I told my family, and myself, when I embarked on my inspiration journey as I call it, that I was going to spend 2014 being less ‘busy’. So, I’ve limited myself to 2 clients a MONTH now, and this past weekend was spent out of town at a childrens museum, a mall, the park, and all with MY family. It was just awesome.
    I am so happy you are the one that inspired this journey of mine, I am so happy to be shooting ‘stock’ after ‘stock’ in my studio that is for my own use. My daughter is loving it as she is my model for most of my new series ‘cracks’, and I am also teaching her some photography along the way. We also cleaned and rearranged the studio to better suit MY goals for this year and what I want to shoot.
    I am only into January and praying every night that I am the winner of the essay contest and given help and a spot to come to your creative live class and that chance to spend time picking your brain and just talking with you, getting to know you from more than just a computer, or a webcast (which was awesome of you and lyndsy to do by the way, the interaction personally was something I really enjoyed! and laughed when you almost blew away at the end)
    But yes, I can totally relate to this post. Last year I was always on Facebook updating my clients on the ‘lineup’ of edits, when the custom albums would be done, constantly marketing myself and trying to get referrals, and the relief from that and the joy in creating for myself is so amazing.
    so im busy making memories with my children this year, and busy on my inspiration journey 🙂 lovin it! best wishes as always God bless you, and please slow down girl! I really want to meet you but it cant be healthy with the schedule you’re keeping!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 6:59 am

    Lisa Lizarraga - I think i am finally in the perfect place in my life. I have the things and loved ones i want surrounding me and i am pursuing my passions on a daily basis. I love a simple life filled with what fills the soul, i am such a fortunate person. Gratitude is mine everyday. I wish this feeling for you all.ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Yu - Dear Brooke, thank you for sharing this. I cannot agree more. I have lived very busy some years of frequent travels and long hours of work. It brought me a ‘success’ in terms of social recognition and financial rewards, but not calmness and peace in mind. I realized a big (financial) success does not mean much if I do not have small success at home; having time and energy to cook for myself and loved ones, keeping my temple (home) clean and tidy, and having fun with friends. These personal activities keep me grounded and balanced…

    The challenge is that we do need to pay our bills while we pursuit our dream life, and that the world is full of busy people who admire business. I think it takes strong faith to follow our inner voice and let go of fear for not being busy.

    Calmness and peace of mind will be attained if we are free from our plans and ambitions. I have one day or half-day a week free from everyone/everything. I spend time only for myself without plans/phones. Such a mini-retreat will get me grounded and inspired again.

    Love,
    YuReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2014 - 12:21 am

    Andrew Pelt - I just want to tell you that I am new to blogging and site-building and really savored your web-site. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You absolutely come with great well written articles. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your website.ReplyCancel

The other day I blogged about the power of connecting with people, and I realized after writing it that I could do even more to facilitate those connections. Meeting people in person is amazing. It is intimate and heartfelt and so often it leads to bigger and better things…even if that bigger and better thing is a simple smile.

But let’s get to know each other here. I want you to answer 3 questions with as much heart as you can – with honesty and conviction.

What is your worst quality?

What is your best quality?

Why do I bother asking? Many reasons. I want to get to know people. I want to feel like I know more than what their pictures look like or what they ate for breakfast. I want to be aware of my best and worst qualities so that I might fix the ones that are bad and utilize the good. I want to meet people in person and online and put my best quality forward.

Personal growth comes from understanding who you are and who you want to be, and making changes for the better.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

I believe that we can embrace one another and grow and change. I am willing to bet that so many of our bad qualities intersect, and even in the negative we can identify positivity.

My worst quality: My inability to handle stress and how I take that out on others.

My best quality: My ability to see life as an ever-changing adventure with a positive spin.

5 words: Introverted, inspired, creative, motivated, nervous.

Celebrate the BEST in you! Do not deny the worst – understand it, and move past it. The sooner you know who you are, the sooner you can become who you want to be. 

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:50 am

    stephanie - My worst quality:
    the way i talk to people i love. “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it” constantly working on this one.

    My best quality:
    ability to adapt to change.

    5 words:
    creative. passionate. honest. silly. perfectionist.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:52 am

      brookeshaden - Stephanie, I so identify with you. Specifically, your worst quality. Isn’t it amazing how we can be so lovely to strangers but when it comes to people we are closest to, it all falls apart? I am so guilty of this in so many ways. It becomes easy to take them for granted and believe they won’t be going anywhere, when the truth is we can never know how soon someone will be taken from us. I feel freshly motivated to make that quality in myself better – thank you for saying it.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:03 am

      aniya - HI all!!

      best quality – im kind. i care, i have a soft spot for people.

      Worst? so connected to the first – i am a HUGE people pleaser. i will hurt myself, to not hurt others. i ALWAYS put others before me.

      5 words: creative, smiler, emotional, timid, motherReplyCancel

      • January 10, 2014 - 9:08 am

        brookeshaden - People pleaser – I hear that! Awww, smiler 🙂 I love it!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 11:54 am

      Sandra - My Worst Quality: I am such an introvert and I am shy which makes it hard to have confidence in my work.
      My Best Quality: I always want to take care of people. Which can be related to my worst quality because I care too much about what other people think.

      5 words: Introvert, Inspired, Creative, Quiet, ThinkerReplyCancel

    • January 15, 2014 - 2:52 pm

      barbara - My worst quality: low self-esteem, I worry too much about what others might think of me, impatience
      My best quality: loyal, caring, enjoying little moments
      5 words: shy, imaginative, dreamer, nerdy, anxious
      Thanks for being an Inspiration Brooke! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:51 am

    Tycho - Best: Socialable, loyal, reliable, punctual, creative
    Worst: jealous, negative self-image, lazy, doubtfulReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:53 am

      brookeshaden - Tycho, I love how you said punctual – something that I bet not a lot of people think about but means a whole ton to me!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:56 am

      Tycho - To me it means the world. I really dislike waiting for appointments, Waiting for a bus that’s running late, waiting for a friend who overslept. All I can do is try to make sure people generally speaking don’t have to wait for me. It’s really not that hard in my opinion. I rather be half an hour early than 5 minutes late.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:52 am

    Samm Bate - My worst quality is my nose!! haha also how i look at things. Everythings half empty to me.

    My best quality is how i push and take on board all criticism and make my modelling work to high standard!

    5 words: Anxious, Motivated, inspired, open and hardworkingReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:54 am

      brookeshaden - Samm, your 5 words are mine too! I feel the same. And your nose?!?! I grew up thinking I had the worst nose, but eh, now I turn to the side to take pictures to show it off ;-DReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:56 am

      Samm Bate - aha! same really and to prove those wrong who believe i can’t do it. I can do it, i have the motivation and will push myself until i succeed like you 100% have!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:52 am

    firoz - My worst quality:sometimes i lack faith in my work .

    My best quality:letting go of old things and embracing new things.

    5 words:moody,.smiling,shy,daydream,inspiredReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:55 am

      brookeshaden - Aww I love that you can let go of old things. It’s amazing how much that can hold people back. I have a friend like that, who can’t let anything go, and while I always want to lecture about how things are just things, they mean something different to everyone. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:56 am

      Samm Bate - aha! same really and to prove those wrong who believe i can’t do it. I can do it, i have the motivation and will push myself until i succeed like you 100% have!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:56 am

      Samm Bate - sorry didn’t mean to reply on here ahha!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:01 am

      firoz - my brother changed my perspective of things by his words “things are meant to be used and not loved but people in life are meant to be loved and not used “ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:58 am

    firoz - I was in depression and didnt picked up the camera for almost a year……i undervalued my work so much that now i feel sorry for it….but soon my life took turn and one day i felt that enough is enough , no one is going to respect me or my work if i dont respect it myself…….and it sparked me once again…..now i have new goals and many plans for 2014….. brook you have a big role in inspiring me…..i read your blog more than i watched your pictures ….. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:59 am

      brookeshaden - I am so relieved to hear that you are creating new goals and dreams for this year. I think that we all fear losing our passion, and I am so happy that you’re finding what makes you happy again.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:00 am

    Eric Yagoda - My worst quality:I am very cynical
    My best quality: I am extremely compassionate
    5 words: kind,passionate,intuitive,steady,curiousReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:02 am

      brookeshaden - Eric, I used to share that “worst quality” with you. It has taken me years to let it go. I love that you are compassionate. That is exactly the trait I tried to use to get rid of the cynicism 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:00 am

    Ninon - My worst quality would be how easily my mood can change: one day, I’m all about loving the world, being optimistic… and the next day it seems that everything is dark and nonsense. This is exhausting, not only for me, but for the people who know me and live with me.

    My best quality would be to be able to chill about so called important things, and to really let it be, or let it go.

    My five words would be: sensitive, empathetic, genuine, anxious and different.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:03 am

      brookeshaden - Ninon, I am guilty of the same…Sometimes I wake up in a mood and I’m not sure why. I have gotten so much better about combating that, but I am definitely one of those whose mood can change quickly. I blame it on hunger 😛ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:01 am

    Carla Paton - My worst quality: My insecurity and how i let it control what i achieve in life.

    My best quality: My ability to see the world with love and sometimes seeing the details that others can miss.

    5 words: Creative, Emotional, Empathetic, Curious, Scared.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:04 am

      brookeshaden - Aww Carla, I love your best quality. That is an amazing thing to be able to do. I often find myself shrieking about how amazing the clouds are when no one else sees it. Life is about details <3ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:03 am

    Rocio Martinez - My worst quality: I would mention several but since it’s the worst…it would be…stressing out so much all the time that I have a serious/sad face most of the time.

    My best quality: Again…I would mention several but the best I can think of right now is… Loving passionately and with hope!

    5 words: Passionate, Introverted, Listener, Spiritual, OpenReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:06 am

      brookeshaden - Rocio, your best quality is what I have already come to know and love about you, through the few interactions we’ve had. I completely agree 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:14 am

      Rocio Martinez - Awee, thank you! <3ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:16 am

      Carla Paton - Thank you Brooke.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:03 am

    Julie Ray - Best quality: passionate about everything I do

    Worst quality: Impatient and sometimes too serious

    5 words: Maternal, kind, soulful, animal lover, creatorReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:06 am

      brookeshaden - Aww Julie yes I agree – maternal, and creator. Yes 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Dottie - My worst quality: Having faith isn’t something that comes easily to me. My first instinct is usually to feel like something isn’t going to work out or people (including myself) won’t live up to something. Constant work in progress. Trying to retrain my brain!

    My Best Quality: I feel very passionately about things. To me, if it’s worth caring about, do so with gusto! This isn’t always a welcomed quality…but I’m glad I keep it in my pocket 🙂

    5 Words: Caring, Curious, Passionate, Loving, ImaginativeReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:17 am

      brookeshaden - Dottie, what an amazing thing to point out about not having faith. I think that is something that most people struggle with, the idea that something might not work out so it isn’t worth pursuing. But I love your passion, that is such an amazing thing to have.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Sydney Paige Richardson - Worst Quality: I put off things. I am trying to stick with a schedule this year. I am buying a giant calendar and sticking to it. When you have dreams the only way to reach them is to make yourself do it. And I need to do that. And I should probably smile more, I get comments about how I look like I am depressed or moody because of my expression – when really I am just sitting there perfectly fine and content. I need to make sure I express my feelings on the inside – on the outside.

    Best Quality: I filled this out last. Perhaps that might say something about me. I think my best quality is my imagination. I can create a story about someone, something, an object – anything – just by looking at it and be inspired. I have an almost too vivid imagination. (or so I am told)

    Describe myself in 5 words: For some reason this is hard for me. I think I need to figure out who I am. I am forcing myself to think about my qualities and my work. Even the nitty gritty stuff.
    Dreamer. Imaginative. Worrier. Contemplative. Awkward.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:16 am

      brookeshaden - Sydney, I identify with so much of what you said. But too big an imagination – no way 🙂 It’s just perfect. I also got a big calendar for the same reason and you know what?? I forgot to hang it! Gah! So thank you for that reminder!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:26 am

      Dottie - It’s nice to be reminded that we’re not alone in our struggles. Thank you for connecting us all to one another!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:04 am

      katrine - thank you for sharing that. I totally know how you feel and trust me, you are not the only one. it’s a constant struggle for me to keep up with my stuff whilst I work and when I have time not to just sleep til I have to start the my ‘real’ work again…ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:16 am

    Kristin V. - Best Quality: My heart. I care deeply for others, It is really important to me to make others feel encouraged, loved, appreciated and acknowledged.

    Worst Quality: Lack of confidence/self esteem.

    5 Words: Caring, Empathic, Creative, Silly and loyal.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:18 am

      brookeshaden - You DO care deeply for others, and for that, I am so grateful for you. And I am working on that worst quality. *cough* prints *cough*. XoxoReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:18 am

    Teija (Moodphoto) - I just made today some personality test… and this continues, that soul searching <3
    My worst quality impatient… there are many others… thinking too much etc, self-critisicm
    My best quality.. loving the life, and seeing the little things

    5 words… kind,passionate,creative,emotional,romanticReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:19 am

      brookeshaden - Seeing the little things <3ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:27 am

      Kristin V. - I promise, I am NOT going to brush the prints under the rug. Honestly, we both know you wouldn’t let me get away with it anyway. 😉 xoReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:18 am

    David Charles - Worst: Negative viewpoint, which I believe meditation, better diet and exercise are helping with.

    Best: Sticking up for people I love

    5 Words? Photographer with a day jobReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:19 am

      brookeshaden - That is so awesome that you are taking clear steps to eradicate your worst quality. How amazing to see change happening. Haha! I love your 5 words 😛ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:43 am

      Kimberley Yanick - Those are some AWESOME 5 words. Well played. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:19 am

    Brad Walsh - My worst quality: My inability to make a decision in a timely fashion

    My best quality: My ability to lend an ear or be a shoulder to lean on for family and friends when needed.

    5 words: shy, quiet, creative, passionate, lovingReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:20 am

      brookeshaden - Ahhh decision making…yes I know many who struggle there. Sometimes I am the opposite, too quick to make a decision only later to realize I hadn’t thought it through 😛 Your best quality is so giving and loving, and I need to adopt more of that.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:21 am

    Danielle S - My best quality is my ability to forgive!

    My worst quality is my guilty concience. It messes with everything!

    5 words describing me: shy, maternal, somber, open & dreamer.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:25 am

      brookeshaden - Oh I love that – the ability to forgive. Such a rare thing I find, and so often when someone is forgiving, it can be to their detriment. Good for you! <3ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:22 am

    Ella Ruth - I love what you said about the power of connecting with people. How very true! There is something so enlightening and uplifting about connecting with someone new. It reminds us how big the world really is.

    Worst quality: I sometimes find it hard to be forgiving.
    Best quality: I genuinely care about people.
    5 words: Independent, creative, adventurous, loyal, a dreamer.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:24 am

      brookeshaden - I completely agree Ella – the world is big with endless opportunities. <3 Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:23 am

    Brad Walsh - Yes see the key is find some middle ground on the decision making, not to hastily make decisions and don’t take too long because you could really miss out on something. Thank you Brooke for doing this and bringing this type of thing to the forefront, really makes you evaluate things. You are amazing Brooke!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:33 am

    Noel Yuen - Hihi(: I love your work and your blog is amazing because you will reach out to people and create a community to connect with people. It’s just really amazing getting to know different people.

    Anyway:

    Worst quality: I get jealous easily and I think this is because of my lack of self-esteem (because of issues that have happened in the past)

    Best quality: I care about people a lot and I tend to help others and understand them. I also might go out of my way to help someone I really care about.

    5 words to describe myself: Bubbly, Optimistic, Empathetic, Crazy and Loyal

    🙂
    Thanks for putting up this site<3ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:41 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you Noel! Ahhh I see myself in your worst quality. That has been my number one thing I’ve been trying to change these past few years <3ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:34 am

    Naman Verma - My worst quality: being an introvert and not interacting much with people.

    My best quality: the way i understand things and come to an appropriate conclusion.

    5 words: quiet, creative, photoholic, shy, travellerReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:41 am

      brookeshaden - Naman, always remember that being an introvert can be amazing as long as it doesn’t hinder you. I hope that you can reach out and interact while still maintaining who you are <3ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Marko Nadj - Best quality: I try to be friends with everyone on this planet.
    Worst quality: Unconsciously I think of me like I am better than other people.

    5 words: inspired,ambitious,bossy :/ ,impulsive,generous.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:42 am

      brookeshaden - Wow Marko that is such an insightful thing to say, to see yourself above others…I think that most people naturally do that but never recognize it, and that is where selfishness comes in. Good for you for noticing! I love how you want to be friend with everyone, that is so awesome 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:22 am

      Mariela - Worst: Most times criticism brings me down instead of inspiring me to get better ,like to have control of things (things be done my way), easy to compare myself to other people.

      Best: Creative, when passional I give the best and all I got, Im super honest cant really lie.

      5 words: Magical, Insecure,Funny, Huggable, Anxious.ReplyCancel

      • January 10, 2014 - 9:26 am

        brookeshaden - I think it is great that you can’t lie. My whole family has that trait…gets us in trouble sometimes but mostly I find it refreshing. I can always ask my mom something and know I’m getting a straight answer 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:47 am

    Jen Linfield - Worst quality: I expect perfection from myself so I expect it in others too.
    Best Quality: Ferociously Loyal. My love is BIG, open and unapologetic, so if your my friend you will know it in sickness and health and until the day I die.
    5 words
    Big Hearted, Generous, Sincere, Hardworking and Compassionate.
    Geez that was harder than I thought. lol
    I enjoyed reading everyone’s honest self examinations. Have a great day everyone and focus on those 5 words because it is likely what others think of you first. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:49 am

      brookeshaden - Love what you said Jen. I am guilty of the same in having high expectations for others. I am learning to let that go a little bit so that I can enjoy life more 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Shermin T - Not Long ago I went into a teashop to buy some tea, usually I don’t talk much to the shop keeper but magically that time I did, and it appeared that she is a fashion student, and I am an aspiring fashion photographer looking for People like her, and there goes a new opportunity. Its amazing how we actually meet people sometimes, we just have to open our mouth.

    Best : Knowing what to prioritize, which allowed me to multitask

    Worst : at times my self esteem goes down and up like a roller coaster, especially before a shoot, sometimes making me feel depressed

    5 words : Dreamer, Passionate, Believer, Introvert, PerserverenceReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 8:54 am

      brookeshaden - Aww I love that. Amazing where you meet people who can change your future!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:02 am

    katrine - my worst: I wait to the very last minute, I guess because I want to be overly perfect, instead of doing it. which sometimes leads to not doing it at all.

    my best: my undying optimism and loyality.

    5 words: dreamer, bubbly, loyal, compassionate, ambitiousReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:08 am

      brookeshaden - I love a great optimistic person!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:15 am

    Lucia Sal - Dear Brooke, thanks for asking.

    My worst quality: Do not believe in myself.

    My best quality: My intuition is always right.

    5 words: generous, procrastinate, curious, adatable to change, hardworking.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:21 am

      brookeshaden - Good intuition is a great thing to have, and to believe in!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Evelyne - I’m so in love with this blog, Brooke!

    My worst qualities: definitely my jealousy + wanting everything to be perfect

    My best qualities: appreciating life and probably my helpfulness

    Talkative, happy, enthusiastic, perfectionist, dominantReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:25 am

      brookeshaden - Awww thank you Evelyne! I appreciate you <3 Ahh yes, being a perfectionist. So hard to move past, yet so hard to get right ;) And you know, I really love a good helpful person. I need to be more of that.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Paulo Carvalho - Worst quality: My inability to handle stress and anxiety.
    Best quality: My ability to make friends and believing them.
    5 words: introverted, passionate, altruistic, creative, sensitive…ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:26 am

      brookeshaden - I am totally with you on the stress and anxiety. That has turned into my number one goal for myself this year.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:29 am

    Sanket Pandit - My worst quality:

    I lack consistency. If I love anything, I easily get biased.

    My best quality:

    Whatever I do, I do with total devotion.

    P.S: Your way of photography is one of the most amazing inspirations I had.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:31 am

      brookeshaden - Aww I love that you throw yourself into projects, that’s great! Thank you for being so kind!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:31 am

    Miro - Worst: Expecting too much from myself and that leads to tons of disappointments, prolonging projects, having fear of starting new once and depression.

    Best: Passionate.

    5 words: Introverted, funny,creative, dreamer, loyal.

    Thanks for doing this. Honestly I have never tried to analyse myself in this way before and this was not easy at all and I am going to think some more on those.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:39 am

      brookeshaden - I am with you on the expecting too much and feeling disappointed – we must all realize that our best is good enough. A difficult thing to do. Thank you so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:44 am

    Heather - Worst quality: Lack of punctuality. I often feel like I have no conception of time. An hour goes by, and to me feels like 10 min.
    Best quality: I am going to share two. One is that I am very passionate, and love deeply. The other is a belief in myself, that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. It hasn’t always been that way, but since discovering myself through photography, I am more confident, and motivated than ever in my life.
    5 words: passionate, dreamer, creative, intuitive, motherReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:45 am

      brookeshaden - Heather, that is so wonderful that you have found your best qualities through photography. What a gift you have given yourself!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 10:00 am

      Heather - Thank you Brooke! And I must say that any time I read your blog, or facebook posts it makes me smile on the inside. You are genuine & inspirational. And I love you for it. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:46 am

    Libertad Leal - Oh my goodness this is so great! I loved reading what everyone has written! 🙂

    My worst quality: I can be passive and insecure therefore I let other people rule me. I also interrupt people when they talk and I absolutely hate this about myself.

    My best quality: I am kind and compassionate and always try to see the good in everyone and anything.

    5 words: kind, hardworking, joyous, emotional, fun

    (also, not sure if anyone is having this issue but the form won’t accept my website, just thought I would mention it).ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:51 am

      brookeshaden - That worst quality is one that I think a lot of people share at least in some situations. I have tried very hard to rid it from my body…not sure if it has worked yet! I will look into the website issue, thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Amna Talaat - My worst quality: I get discouraged too easily because I expect too much from the results I’ll get after the hard work I’ve put in something, and then I don’t try again.

    My best quality: I have a very strong character and that helps me survive many situations and handle the people around me.

    5 words: honest, shy, mad, artist, humanReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:51 am

      brookeshaden - Oh I love that you wrote mad. And I identify with your worst – same!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:50 am

    Kine Bakke - My worst: i tend to think ‘i can do that tomorrow’ whenever boring things needs to be done. Then they pile up, and suck the energy right out of you as the pile grows.

    My best: I believe all people have a talent, and I encourage everyone I meet to find it and have the courage to say ‘I am good at this!’.

    Five words:
    Positive, passionate, stubborn, caring, creatingReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 9:52 am

      brookeshaden - Two wonderful points! I think I procrastinate now more than ever! Comes with being busy I think. I ADORE your best quality and wish I had more of it!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Shaun Poston - Truly touching post Brooke, as I often struggle with this same issue. But like you, when I do manage to conjure up the courage to do so, I have often found that people are just as willing to make small talk as you are once they realize there is no need to keep their guard up with you. I have actually been wanting to reach out to you to thank you and this post post was a blessing in that aspect. I have only been in the photography field for right at a year and I like many others were just stuck in the over-edited HDR phase! Lol! That was until I saw your work and interview on SLR Lounge and it was the most influential moment I have had in my short career thus far. What’s even more fascinating was the image that caught my attention was the exact image you used on your facebook page for this post, “waiting to fly.” It was definitely a sign telling me to reach out. 🙂 to make a long story short, your work and your true passion has been extremely contagious and so moving it has inspired me to lengths you couldn’t even imagine and taken my work to a completely different level. Although I have just begun my journey and am only scratching the surface thus far, because Of your inspiration, I have had the courage to put myself out there and was just invited to showcase my work at the RAW Artist event here in New Orleans and have set goals to have my work in galleries by the end of the year. I honestly had no clue I was capable of becoming so passionate about something as I am for this amazing field! Your Creative Live workshops were amazing and I can’t tell you how many times I have watched them and learn new things every time I do. Can’t wait until February! So I just really needed to write and say Thank You for all that you do. It’s amazing how you are able to have such an effect on complete “strangers” by just being who you are. So for that I am grateful! Keep doing what you are doing because you are an amazing soul!!!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:08 am

    Shaun Poston - I apologize! This comment was meant for the connecting flights post. I’ll repost it there. Not sure how it got switched around.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Michaela - My worst quality –
    I sat and thought about this for ten minutes, and finally decided that what I least like about myself is the way I treat others when I disagree with them, or if I’m upset about something in particular that happened to me that day. I’m struggling to find a way to release my frustration in healthy ways.

    My best quality –
    I’m happy with my mind and my point of view. On the outside, I’m very average and shy, but inside, I’m bursting with ideas and creativity. I believe my view of the world is different from most, however everyone else could just be hiding their true self, too.

    5 words that describe me –
    artistic, quiet, thoughtful, driven, dreamer

    (By the way, Brooke, I wanted to thank you for teaching me what photography is truly about. It’s more than just taking beautiful pictures. It’s an art, a form of expression, and a way to make dreams become reality. I’ve looked up to you for a long time and you’ve inspired me to become a photographer, even if the world says it’s not a good career choice. Thank you. You’ve helped me find myself.)ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 10:15 am

      brookeshaden - Michaela, wow thank you so much. I am so moved <3ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:22 am

    Richard Bremer - My worst quality:
    I have a tendency to talk myself down, creating unneccassary stress and anxiety and cornering myself into not taking action.

    My best quality:
    (hard one…) My love of helping people and teaching them new things

    5 words: curious, sensitive, dreamer, huggable, laid-back.

    I love reading everyones input on this one. Makes me feel sort of happy to know we are all so diverse, yet connected in love of art and/or photography.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 10:28 am

      brookeshaden - I agree Richard, it is so nice to hear from everyone and feel like we are all connected in some way. I love that you have a love of teaching – that is such a passion of mine too.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:30 am

    Kimberley Yanick - Like the direction these blogs are taking. I think that as artists we grow from the work we do. It’s our way of healing our issues, and if brave enough, allows us to push past fears – of course I am totally talking about my own experience. As for your questions – I am not so black and white to be able to say one thing (depends on the day really…. we are so darn complex as women and artists) right off the bat. After a bit of pondering:
    My worst quality: Inconsistency – As much as I try to be consistent with so many things (eating healthy, being deliberate in my shooting, getting to the gym, shooting regularly, staying on a schedule to progress forward) I am like a popcorn fart in the wind sometimes. I go with my feelings that day.. I am going to ponder this one more because I think the issue is deeper – it’s never what we think it is.
    My Best quality – The ability to see things from more than one perspective, and allowing for an opinion or point of view I had to be changed based on new information. (I am not great at debates)
    5 words: Knowledge seeker, Spiritual, Supportive, Empathic, Juggler (not the circus kind but tasks, ideas, thoughts, etc)ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:42 pm

      brookeshaden - Kimberly, thank you so much. I appreciate the feedback on the blog!

      It is so hard, isn’t it? To just say one thing or another. We cannot be defined so easily, and the more we realize that, the more room we have to grow. XoxoReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Shell - Worst: intolerant
    Best: kind
    5 words: youthful, flighty, ridiculous, loner, eccentricReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:42 pm

      brookeshaden - I struggled with intolerance for a long time – maybe not in an obvious way, but certainly in a big way.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Sacha S. - Worst: I am a procrastinator, when it comes to my personal responsibilities I do most everything last minute, then it stresses me out and I take that stress out on loved ones, like it is their fault, and this something I really have to work on..

    Best: I am very loyal and honest. If you know me then you know I am always there for you.

    5 words : loyal, procrastinator, creative, adventurous, humorousReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:43 pm

      brookeshaden - Sacha, in the brief time I’ve known you, I can already tell that you are a loyal and honest person xoxoReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:36 am

    Marcia Russell - Wow! What a thought-provoking post. I love it!

    My worst: I am afraid of failure so sometimes I don’t even try.

    My best: I try to see the best in people, situations and the world.

    Five words:
    Artist, supportive, airy-fairy, passionate, noticer of small things.

    P.S. I had to put http:// in front of my website to get it to show up as valid. Hope this helps someone. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:46 pm

      brookeshaden - Thanks Marcia! I love that you have a bright outlook, that is wonderful!

      Thanks for the website tip!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:40 am

    Ron - My worst quality is that it is difficult for me to share my feelings. So often I stay hidden out of fear of not being accepted or liked.

    My best quality is that I really enjoy encouraging, affirming, and blessing others. I am growing in self-care, which photography is part of!!!

    Five words: funny, generous, not punctual, kind, loyalReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:46 pm

      brookeshaden - Ron, I understand the desire to hide feelings. It can be so hard to open up to people. And how wonderful that you are so loving…I crave people like that in my life 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:50 am

    Brandi Douglas - My Worst Quality: My anxiety takes over me so I end up not taking opportunities.

    My Best Quality: My motivation. Because of it, I have been able to continue to grow, show people that they can be motivated too, and I have been able to stand up for myself.

    5 words: compassionate, feminist, motivated, creative, understandingReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:47 pm

      brookeshaden - Brandi, same! Anxiety – go away!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Mary Angelini - Worst Quality: Epic impatience – with myself and, more so, with others, especially when I have a vision or an idea that I need others to help or get on board with and I am unable to effective communicate it so they understand what I am talking about and see it as I do.

    Best Quality: Since I struggle with self acceptance, this is hard for me, but if I had to pick something it would have say it is my ability to understand and execute just about any task to which I set my mind.

    5 Words: Funny, adventurous, multi-talented, intuitive, independentReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:49 pm

      brookeshaden - Mary, I am so impatient too! I remember as a kid I would sit and wait for an hour before a friend would come over, and complain on car rides. I was an annoying child. And I still have that quality today.

      That is an amazing good trait to have. So many people struggle with that.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 11:11 am

    miu - My worst quality: I refuse to do things that don’t make sense to me.
    Best quality: I’d do anything for the people I care about.

    Five words: Free-spirited, workaholic, focused, fast learner, distrustful.

    (And, my 5 words to describe you whenever I gush about you to anyone who listens: Eloquent, creative, inspired, cheerful, inventive).ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:50 pm

      brookeshaden - Miu – that “worst quality” sounds just like my husband 🙂 And I love that you are so loyal to those you care about – such a great way to be.

      Thank you SO much for being so kind!! That means the world to me!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 11:14 am

    Rebecca - Worst quality: I am EXTREMELY insecure and self conscious.

    Best Quality: I am a good listener and a good friend. (Which is strictly an assumption).

    Five words: Dreamer, Lazy, Insecure, Funny, Friendly.ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:50 pm

      brookeshaden - Aww Rebecca – I wish I could come over and shake you! Sending you good, secure vibes! I love that you’re a dreamer. That’s my favorite thing to be 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 12:02 pm

    Carin - Hi Brooke
    I wasn’t going to respond but then thought yeah go on see all the good and bad in writing, (btw writing this made me cry) so here goes:
    Worst Quality: Worrier & scenario builder
    Best Quality: Empathic to the extreme

    Five words: super-sensitive, compassionate, jester, creative, lostReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:52 pm

      brookeshaden - Aww Carin I am so glad that you put yourself out there. That is wonderful that you did – I’d be nervous to as well. I am extremely empathetic as well. I can’t help but cry if I see someone else crying.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Rachel - Thank you, Brooke, for allowing this space to share and be encouraged & inspired:

    My worst quality: Procrastination – especially when it comes to money.

    My best quality: Creative thinker – coming up with interesting solutions or ideas.

    5 words: Love, passion, positive, serious, intuitiveReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:52 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank YOU Rachel for being here and participating – I am so grateful!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    Tony - My Worst Quality:
    Procrastination, I lack focus and am easily distracted. Always trying to do too many things at once!

    My Best Quality:
    Understanding, I empathise with others when helping to resolve their issues. (Useful for my day job in IT Support)

    5 Words: Honest, Direct, intuitive, helpful, open-minded

    Brooke; you really do get us thinking 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 7:53 pm

      brookeshaden - Tony – I need to work on being more understanding, and just reading that gave me the push to work on it, so thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    Lisa Ech - Worst Quality: I always have a lot of great ideas, but they seem to stay just that. Ideas.

    Best Quality: I have, what I think is a great ability so see others true self. I see peoples spirit beyond their humanity.

    5 words: Loving, open, anxious, simple, spiritual.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    Rosa - My Best Quality: When I throw myself into something, be it gardening, photography, an event or a new project I do it heart and soul planning things down to the tiniest details. (I think details are that extra something that makes life magical. . .)

    My Worst Quality: When I throw myself into something, be it gardening, photography, an event or a new project, I do it heart and soul, planning things down to the tiniest detail.

    This often causes me to become deaf and blind to anything else going on around me. I become impatient, sigh loudly when asked about anything not related to what I’m working on and neglect my sweet husband, grown kids and dear friends dreadfully.

    5 Words: Whimsical, dreamer, Introvert, Story lover, Information Ninja (That’s on my library card. ;D )

    Oops! That’s 7 words . . .ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    Gina Miller - Ok, well here goes!
    My Worst Quality: I procrastinate. I’m a deep thinker and think way too much into things which is why I can’t seem to get things done. I wrap myself up in to much which then makes me sit and ponder for so long that I will second guess myself. Do you know how long it’s going to take me to write this? LOL

    My Best Quality:
    I would have to say being creative and crafty. Been this way my whole life.

    My 5 words: Creative, Deep Thinker, Aquarius, Introvert, Dreamer

    I just need to take a deep breath and keep going.
    Hugs to you Brooke.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    AshW - Worst quality: If I deeply care about something, my imagination takes me to envisioning the worst things happening despite my inclination towards optimism. Because of this, I am nervous and self-doubting. It doesn’t seem to matter how much hard work I’ve put into making my life a better one, anxiety still follows me.

    Best quality: I am not easily angered and am quick to see both sides; I tend to see the best in people. I encourage the ideas and passions of others and am welcoming to those who may feel left out.

    5 words:
    Curious
    Strong
    Nervous
    Introverted (I suspect I’ll be otherwise when I have a smile to match my heart)
    AppreciativeReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    Jamie - Just stumbled across you and would like to say how much I’ve been enjoying your posts! Thank you!
    Worst quality: Procrastination – by far.
    Best quality: sense of humor?
    Five words: motivated, funny, too friendly, creative, sometimes lazyReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    Corinne - What is your worst quality?
    My worst quality, far and away, is my self-doubt. I grew up thinking I was a “stupid little girl” and got mentally convinced that I was by many of my teachers in elementary school. When things get tough I often find that I revert to that mentality, especially with my photography. It’s something I work on changing every single day! (my other worst quality is I elaborate…A LOT haha).

    What is your best quality?
    My best quality…I guess my friendliness or acceptance? My father was an archeologist and I grew up around many different cultures and different types of people so I’m very accepting of anyone and everyone. I’ve been told that people find me very easy to talk to.
    5 Words: Kind, Creative, Emotional, Dreamer, Animal LoverReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    Chantal - Worst quality: my lack of self confidence

    Best quality: being a survivor and always keeping it real and honest!

    5 words: insecure yet creative, perfectionist anxious, obsessive compulsive!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    JeanMike - Worst Quality: Inertia, even in times of great inspiration.

    Best Quality: An eye for creating/structuring narrative. A desire to simplify grand concepts to their simplest, most beautiful representations.

    5 words: introverted; positive; ADD; honest; sensitive.

    Fun exercise! Thanks for being a constant inspiration, Brooke.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    Reem Eissa - I love how you can share so openly and encourage people to do the same. I’ve never been as inspired by someone as I am by you, not only as a photographer but as a human being. So, thank you.

    It’s tough to pinpoint these answers, because I feel there isn’t one worst and one best quality. Nevertheless, I would say:

    My worst quality: my crippling inability to distance myself from the people who hurt me or do me wrong
    My best quality: helpfulness of ability to be a good friend

    Five words: emotional, hard-working, dreamer, trusting, friendlyReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    Matthew - Worst Quality: Not pushing myself

    Best Quality: Learn quickly

    5 Words: introverted, smart, imaginative, intuitive, observantReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:28 pm

    Samantha Pugsley - Worst Quality – I am incredibly anxious, self-conscious, and I worry a LOT about what other people think about me.

    Best Quality – I’m very passionate. When I love something, I love it with all my heart: my husband, my family, my creativity, my dreams. (Though I will say this sometimes lends itself to anxiety :p)

    5 Words: passionate, creative, introverted, anxious, nerdy

    I love that you’ve created a safe place for us to open up and learn about ourselves and others. It’s been lovely to read all these responses.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:24 pm

    Ellie Chavez - Worst Quality – I feel like it’s a tie between three. Being my own worst critic, thinking badly about myself, and always wondering how I appear to others.

    Best Quality – When it comes to anything art related, I’m fearless.

    5 Words that describe me: inspired, soft, creative, photography, loving.

    I went into this comment box thinking that these were easy questions, but I sat here for a good while figuring it out! I hope to soon be able to fill out the best qualities faster than the worst ones.

    Promoting Passion is such an inspiration, Brooke. I feel connected and at home when I read these posts and it always inspires me to go out and make something wonderful. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 12:28 am

    Amani - Sometimes I feel like saying “this is what I’m good at”, or “this is what’s good about me” makes me sound a little.. conceited. I think I grew up thinking that selflessness is above everything, and somewhere along the way selflessness got mixed up with self deprecation. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but I am slowly realizing that it’s OK to love and accept myself; not just ok, but necessary. So here it goes:

    Worse quality: I’m very insecure, and naive.
    Best quality: I’m kind and sympathetic and I try my best to be there for everyone.
    5 words: shy, creative, loving, anxious, emotionalReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 12:36 am

    Anmol Kapuria - Worst Quality – I am too open about me with people on the first meet due to which some start taking me for granted.

    Best Quality – I am a very strong person from within. I always try to make the best of time with my friends and family and i try to store all my precious moments in a diary i keep secretly in my mind.

    5 words: lazy, cheerful, crazy, nature lover, creative.

    And i love your photography. Your work is Beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 1:25 am

    Leenda - It is so enlightening to read about everyone’s personal insights. Really good questions to have to answer….

    My worst quality….stubbornness when I think I am right

    My best quality…. compassion for all living things

    5 words: friend, particular, appreciator, spiritual, artisticReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 3:58 am

    natascha van niekerk - Worst quality: I tend to struggle trusting people again that have (in my silly opinion) wronged me in some way…
    Best quality: I love to encourage people to follow what is in their hearts. There are few things so beautiful to me as a person living a fulfilled and inspired life! Life is too short for regrets…

    I would describe myself as an explorer, intense, quiet, expressionistic, stubborn.

    Thank you Brooke for this awesome space of sharing!ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:02 am

    Rand Huneidi - My worst quality: being selfish with the people I care about the most. by selfish I mean when I am committed or passionate about a project or something specific, I will forget everything exists and concentrate solely on the thing I’m doing.

    My best quality: I’m a dreamer. My husband considers it a bad quality but for me, it pushes me to try new things and work hard to achieve them.

    5 words: passionate, energetic, punctual, extrovert, self-criticalReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:21 am

    Kate - Hi Brooke! Thank you for this blog post! Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and truly question how you perceive yourself. I believe it induces a wonderful sense of self-awareness that often gets lost in our “daily grind.”

    Worst quality: My fear of the unknown.

    Best quality: My curiosity.

    5 words: dreamer, caring, anxious, adventurous, introvertReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Alexandra - Hello!

    My worst quality would be the fact that I am constantly afraid of what people might think of me, and this really affects my photography. For example, I am always terrified of taking my camera and shoot outside my house. I am not strong enough to overcome the fear of street photography, or simply somebody else watching me while shooting. I consider this to be my worst quality.

    My best quality is probably the fact that I am a good listener, since I’m so shy and reserved, I don’t talk much, so most people come to me and just say what’s on their mind knowing that I will listen.

    5 words: Introverted, kind, observing, simple, creative

    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:29 am

    Dina Hampton - Worst quality: Procrastination due to fear

    Best Quality: Being creative and enthusiastic

    Im creative peaceful, perseverence , insightful, excitedReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:42 am

    KaLee Kilgrow - ~Worst Quality: Fear, I fear more things than not in life, I am constantly working on this and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in life and my work!

    ~Best Quality: Passion, I have a passion for my work and I am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and grow in my work. I never want to stop learning and growing.

    ~Passionate, inspired, quiet, dreamer, anxious.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 9:48 am

    Adriana Anaya - I love you your posts so so so much.

    I think I’m a sensitive person, ant it affects my hole life, so maybe…

    My worst quality: is that maybe when I go through a bad period in my life, I suffer more than necessary.

    My best quality: When I go through a good period, I’m the happiest person of the world, and I enjoy it so much.

    5 words: Sensitive, creative, reflexive, empathic and messy.

    Thank you, Brooke.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    Tom Newforge - I know I’m a little late to this but I did promise I’d be back when I had time and at the very least I find these types of exercises interesting when approached in a vulnerable state. So here we go,

    Best Quality: I’d say my best quality is that I’m always aware of different perspectives. (Some would say, “To a fault.”.)

    Worst Quality: I always expect people to do “the right thing”. I’m often disappointed.

    Five words that would describe me: Curious, Adventurous, Driven, Kind, and Honorable.

    Well, there ya go. My first “official” comment on your blog. Here’s to many more and I hope your having a great day.ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 2:40 pm

    Colman - Worst, procrastination… When I get stressed I want to just forget about the problem and do something fun.

    Best, I put everything into my relationships.

    Fun, outdoorsy, honest, creative, extrovertedReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Jean - Worst quality: I trust everyone in good faith

    Best quality: I love everyone and see the beauty in everything

    5 words: loving, giving, beautiful, warm, creativeReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    catherine brand - Worst Quality: Not having the confidence that I need to over come the fear of failing. The lacking of believing in one’s self, causes a person not to want to take action, and even though I know this, it;s still hard to move forward and overcome the fear.

    Best Quality: Im a people pleaser, and I take the time to listen and encourage people to follow there dreams, no matter how silly, it may sound to others. I’m generous and I’m always willing to help others in need.

    5 Words: Passionate, motivated, perfectionist, loyal, caringReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 9:13 am

    Pauline - My worst quality:
    My craving for self-destruction. I always destroy what I have built for myself and then need a long time to give it another try…with the same result – destruction.

    My best quality:
    My empathy for other people and how I see the best in everyone.

    5 words:
    Dreamer, sensitive, kind, introverted, lazy.ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:00 am

    Annie laura - Seems there is trouble for us all limiting to one trait…

    And so… my series of best include: patience, calmness and loyalty (easy to list simple words here…)

    I battle wether my sensitivity is a good or bad trait… I hold to it as though it’s good, but experience sets it in the bad trait category. Sensitivity lends to being hurt. When I’m hurt I stumble and don’t reach the goals I aim for… when I’m hurt I also get defensive which may be my single worst trait. I’m also a sloppy dresser and bite my nails when it’s cold.

    Simply stated in five words: female, adventerous, imaginative and artsy-fartsy

    Thank you for inviting a platform to release these thoughts.

    Blessed be,
    AnnieReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:39 am

    Esther - You are so amazing Brooke!!I am in love of your work!

    My worst quality is that I am lost right now.. I love photography and I’d like to learn more about it, people say that I have improved a lot in short time but I studied engineering and I know that I can’t do everything.. =( but I’d like to find the way

    My best quality is I can be sad or happy, I always have a smile

    5 words: creative, multifaceted, dreamer, sensitive, caringReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 2:56 pm

    Sarah Allegra - Best quality: my passions

    Worst quality: my insecurities

    5 words: artist, healer, passionate, fighter, animals (friend of).

    Thanks Brooke! I always love your posts 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Joshua Pheneger - My worst quality: anger. I can be quick to anger, and I have little patience. Its something I have struggled to overcome and causes a lot of friction in my life.

    My best quality: determination. I am able to achieve goals I set for myself even against significant challenges. It is what has helped me to survive, become successful, and to heal.

    5 words that I would use to describe myself: strong, stubborn, scarred, caring, hopeful.ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 2:03 am

    Ashley - My worst quality: My lack of belief that the things I do/create are actually good and worth putting out into the world.

    My best quality: My love for people close to me and the passion I put out their to make them know it.

    5 words: hopeful, happy, inspired, determined, lovingReplyCancel

  • January 15, 2014 - 10:42 am

    Tara Eveland - oh this is hard to face! But I get it and I love reading all the others:

    Okay here goes:

    My worst quality: I am not a trusting person. I don’t trust anyone in fact except myself and God. I have been abused in my life by my own parents, let down so many times by people I trusted loved. I simply cannot trust anyone.

    My best quality: I am loyal and never lie. If I do make a friend I am loyal to the end of the earth for them. I am loyal to my children in being the best mother, the mother I never had. I don’t lie. I hate lies. Its been the thing I have carried with me since childhood that still at 30 years old I can say, I do not lie.

    5 words to describe myself: Survivor, Giving, Faithful, Strong minded, evolvingReplyCancel

  • January 17, 2014 - 9:01 am

    Malin - It’s afternoon here in Sweden and I’m about to finish work. Stumbled across your blog – god knows why I haven’t seen it before as I’m following you on FB! Anyway, started reading some of your blog posts and you make me feel so inspired – to go out creating, following my dreams. Came to this post about best and worst qualities – and it made me stop and think. It’s hard to put such things in writing, but at the same time it’s good to actually do that – it makes you look upon yourself from the outside.
    So here we go.
    My worst quality: I don’t fully believe in myself and my abilities, and when things in life don’t turn out as a dreamed of I tend to find someone else to blame it on in my mind. I have to find a way to stop that as that road sure leads to bitterness.
    My best quality: My mind went blank here. I can’t think of any right now – I’d love to say I’m caring and kind, but then I think of situations when I’m selfish and hurt people. I’d love to say I’m a good mother, but then I think of the times when I prioritize work over playing with my children. So hey, I need to think a bit more about that one.
    And me? Mother, wife, daughter, traveller and dreamer.

    Thanks for inspiring me to take a moment on reflection.ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 6:44 am

    Lisa Lizarraga - Worst: I don’t handle real responsibility well or take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions.

    Best: I live in a constant state of imagination and i have finally embraced it and love it.

    5 works about me: childlike, loner, creative, passionate, dreamerReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 8:11 am

    Yu - My worst quality:
    I tend to push myself too hard and overwork, and expect it from others too.

    My best quality:
    I am open and strong drive for learning and personal growth.

    5 Words:
    Curious, joyful, focused, sensitive, creativeReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2014 - 7:46 am

    Heather - I’m a little late to the game here (as I just found your blog and site, BUT…)

    My worst quality : I don’t believe in myself and so I procrastinate until the last minute when the deadline is looming and the stress is almost unbearable and I have to drink coffee and stay awake for a week to get things done.

    My best quality : Hmm… it’s funny, this one is harder. It’s easier to belittle yourself than it is to pat yourself on the back. I need to work on this. I have many good qualities… I’m kind and caring and funny and a dreamer… but my best? I don’t know.

    5 words:

    friendly, imaginative, strong, careful, … but afraid.

    (Which is why I liked your blog on fear and turning the What if statements from bad to good. What if I completed my project this year? What if I gained more business? What if I got everything I wanted this year? … What if… 🙂 )ReplyCancel

Part 1, Written on Jan 8, 2014 on an airplane flying over the middle of America.

I am sitting on a plane right now writing these words, and what better place than in the clouds? When I close my eyes I can imagine the plane away and feel the invisibility of floating dreams drift around me. The boy next to me is listening to rap music that I can hear through his headphones. He write furiously as lyrics come to him and instead of feeling annoyed by the noise I am opened into a new world of art. I feel like I know too much about this stranger but in reality I know too little about everyone else.

Sitting in this airplane I can’t help but think about all of life: the toy cars driving below, and the people all around me who avert their eyes when I smile. I think of all the missed opportunities to connect and to live and to create. But even though I have these thoughts I do nothing. I sit here more willing to write these words on the internet than to speak them to someone sitting next to me.

We are people who can – who have the ability – to hide behind computer screens. And why not? I do not feel smaller for putting so much stock in people I may never meet face to face, and I don’t think anyone should feel less by not putting him or herself out there. But when someone feels fear or anxiety or a hole in life because of making connections, I feel something fundamental is lost in how we connect. Or maybe that’s just me, right now, on this airplane.

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Jason Groupp who runs WPPI and he spoke to me so passionately about people meeting people and maintaining the waning art form of the Face to Face connection. It is refreshing to know that someone is fighting for it, and I momentarily, and periodically, feel guilty for my shyness. No one must do a thing. No one has to make connections like that. And no connection should be belittled, but all should be considered and gained from, or learned from.

So dear man writing some amazing lyrics on the plane next to me – you taught me something valuable today and I am better for knowing you…or for shyly peaking over at your art. I hope I have the courage to say that to your face. The flight ends in 2 hours – no time to waste.

Part 2, Written on January 9, 2014 as I sit at home and think of that experience.

With one hour left on the flight I asked to get up and use the restroom. When I came back I was settling my things on my lap to continue writing when the man next to me (truly just a man of 18 years) turned to me and asked about my tattoo on my arm. We chatted for a moment for the first time in the previous 4 hours, and it felt good that we were able to.

Right after the tattoo conversation, he asked if I was a writer. He said that he had been looking at the notes I had been scribbling down and reading them, and said he was sorry if that was an intrusion of privacy. He complimented me on the poetry I had been conjuring up. I was breathless. I was so relieved. And in that moment I realized, or remembered, how similar people can be in just the right ways.

I confessed that I had been reading his writing as well, shyly, in small glances from my paper to his phone. I told him how moved I was by what he was writing, and he told me the whole story of his new song – he had just been to NYC to meet his dad for the first time in his life, and he was writing it into a song. I was touched beyond words.

I’m not sure that there is any way to properly express what I want to say, aside from saying that I have been taught the most valuable lesson, one that I needed to learn and that came at the right time. I am not one for making connections in person. I am very shy under these circumstances. But everyone has a story to tell, and it is up to us to make sure that story is being heard.

Do you have a story about connecting with a stranger? I’d love to hear about it. I am constantly inspired by the stories of others and I believe we can inspire one another to pay more attention to those who we often look past, and see good in everyone.

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:08 am

    Mary Angelini - Your words have truly inspired me. I am and always have been a really shy person which is rooted in many bad childhood and adult experiences. So you would think it odd that I an a portrait photographer. However, I actually love shooting people and although I haven’t been doing it very long, I have such a passion for it that I am forcing myself to learn to open myself up to people and get to know them. In hanging out my shingle as a portrait photographer I have gotten to meet some really interesting people and it is helping me to get past my fears. Reading about your experience inspires me to keep on this path and to take the opportunity to speak to and interact with strangers even when not in a business setting. That the gifts they have that may enrich my life, and possibly how I may enrich theirs, is worth putting aside fear and being open to possibility. Thank you for all that you share!ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:11 am

      brookeshaden - Mary, thank you so much for sharing that. I am truly inspired by your courage to put yourself out there in this way. I myself have considered doing some portrait work for this very reason – more as an exercise to see if I could manage the social side…but I find myself doing this more and more in different ways, and while I rarely succeed in giving myself as wholly to others as I want, I feel like this year might be the year that I break through that wall and really connect with others. Thank you for all that you do.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 11:31 am

      Tony - I had a similar experience on a short flight from Luton to Edinburgh. As a party of four one of us had to sit in a different row, I ended up sitting next to two young ladies who obviously didn’t know each other. During the flight I sensed that the one sitting next to me was rather anxious, the other was trying to sleep, I started talking to the anxious passenger and continued chatting until we landed, it’s surprising what you can find out in half an hour. The key thing I did find out was that she was not keen on flying, and like my wife, hates landing, but by chatting it took her mind off of flying and she bearly noticed the landing. I also had the other passenger chatting too and found out one was American and the other Spanish, and like me, both we’re visiting Edinburgh for the first time. We do get lost in this modern world of text.ReplyCancel

      • January 9, 2014 - 11:32 am

        brookeshaden - Aww I love that Tony. The best thing is knowing that your interaction is taking someone’s mind off of a scary flight. I’ve had that happen, so awesome. I love how you put yourself out there, I think it’s really great and admirable.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 12:28 pm

      Mary Angelini - Thank you Brooke – I wish there was a ‘like’ button for what you wrote! I’d totally click it. Like you, this is the year, I stop letting my fear drive and control me…in fact I just wrote a little blog post about that if you are interested: http://maryangeliniphotography.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/the-crippling-effect-of-fear/ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:19 am

    Stephanie - I recently took my first flight ever to photograph a friends wedding in Las Vegas. To say that I was nervous to get on the plane after years of building it up in my head as the scariest thing I could ever do would be a huge understatement. But when I got on the plane my husband and I sat next to a man who was flying alone. I like meeting new people and I talk when I’m nervous so I introduced myself to him and asked his name. This evolved into an amazing conversation through the course of our flight. My husband and I are both artists in our own way. I am a photographer, musician, crocheter and have a deep love for all things art related. My husband is a graphic designer, illustrator, and musician. As it turned out, our new friend was a musician as well and was flying home to Vegas after touring with a guy in Austin. We talked about everything from art to how to have a successful marriage when you are both pursuing creative careers. When we parted ways he said that he felt that we were meant to sit next to eachother and that in all of his traveling not once had the person next to him introduced themselves. He told me he was taken aback by that at first, but that he was so thankful that I did and explained that people just don’t communicate like that anymore. I thought that was an amazing thing to hear, but at the same time I had to thank him for opening up to us, inviting us into his life for those few hours, and helping ease all of my tension about my first time flight. I wasn’t expecting this experience at all, but it was a blessing. We need each other.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:21 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Stephanie, this is so uplifting and just the most wonderful thing. I am so grateful that you shared with me. It makes me not only feel like I should, but want to open up to people. You never know who you’re going to meet by simply giving an introduction. The worst that can happen is they don’t take the bait, and at best, you can create a connection that benefits everyone involved. I love your story, thank you for sharing it.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Jody McNary - I don’t have any stories off the top of my head but I work part-time and deal with the public. I try and connect with everyone who walks in the door. Always a smile and a Good Morning. Most people are surprising surprised by the greeting. Like they have never heard it before!! This totally astonishing to me.
    …but what is cool about all of this, most people do say Good Morning back. Hopefully they will take this and pass it on.

    have a Great Safe Trip!!

    Your Friend
    JodyReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:34 am

      brookeshaden - That is wonderful Jody. I love that you can touch lives like that – I am always so happy when someone seems genuinely interested in saying hello or asking how I’m doing. I get excited to buy food at the grocery store just to see how much I can engage someone. I think the difference for me is knowing that I’ll be leaving soon vs. sitting with someone for a set amount of time. A silly thing that I need to work past. Thank you for inspiring me.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:36 am

    Lauren - Brooke, I just want to thank you for always being such a positive and encouraging person! I’m also a fairly shy person, which has presented it’s obstacles in my life and photography. Every time I fly I try to avoid talking to those around me, but I always feel regretful by the end of the flight, thinking I could have had a good conversation and learned something from a fellow human. There was once, however, where I had a wonderful conversation with an older woman on a flight to Seattle. She was the kindest woman and spoke sweet words about her family and late husband. I honestly can’t remember everything we talked about, but I do remember feeling a sense of fullness at the end of the flight, because I was able to connect with this stranger in a way I wasn’t used to. I often ponder on the strangeness of our aversion to others, when, as you said, we all have a story to tell and life is so much more fulfilling if we share ours and listen to others.

    Anyways, keep up your inspirational messages, you’ve really helped me develop as a photographer, both technically and by having confidence in my art!ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:37 am

      brookeshaden - Lauren, thank you for sharing that. I so connected with what you said because it is exactly how I feel. I have such a longing to break free from myself yet rarely do it. If only we could push ourselves more easily…but then, I suppose, where would the struggle in life be? I love pushing past fears…I hope I can be better this year. Thank you for sharing! And for your kind words <3ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:47 am

    rudy - I dont know why
    but i keep on reading your stuff and keep on getting inspired, is it because ppl dont write any more or only write shit and acronyms o is it because it relates to me using the photography medium.
    i love your writing and your simplicity.
    so thank you for inspiring us including me and pleaseeeeeeeeeeee continue writing

    rsphotography.coReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:51 am

      brookeshaden - Aww hehe thank you Rudy! I appreciate the comment very much – I love writing more than most things in life and couldn’t imagine stopping. Even if no one read a word I wrote, I’d still be here writing 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:55 am

    Libertad Leal - This is so wonderful Brooke, thank you for sharing. I actually like to smile, compliment and chat with random strangers. I don’t know…it feels nice to be nice for no particular reason you know? Ever since smart phones came into our lives it seems there is less of that and that makes me sad. I mean how manny connections are we missing? How many husbands and wives, best friends and business partners met randomly at the bookstore, in line at the movies or sitting next to each other in a plane? What are the odds of that happening now is we all have our eyes fixed on a screen of some sort? I worry about this, I truly do. Solitude is great and needed (I am an only child, I know this) but connection is what keeps us alive and it matters. Thank you writing about this, I truly enjoy your words as much as your images.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 9:59 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much for saying all of this, it is just what I was thinking. It does feel great to say what you’re thinking out loud to a stranger…something about that unexpected connection that I love. It becomes easy to talk online because we have already identified our mutual interests…but in person, it is a whole different thing that can be more intimidating, but also very rewarding. I am going to put myself out there more and see just how many people I can connect with. That is so awesome of you to already be doing it. I applaud that!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 9:56 am

    Jeremy Gouge - Brooke,
    I love following your words. I just recently quit my job of 9 years to pursue my dream of being a full time photographer ( thanks to my amazingly supportive wife ) and have found myself missing interaction on the most primitive level. Ive always been open and unbashful but now I find myself alone more often than not and its a nice change on one hand but I miss the interaction even more I think. This is what I thought of as I was reading this. How so often we can have conversations or meaningful glances even if we would simply unplug long enough to let ourselves really see. Thank you for the inspiration to be different and to be bare.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:01 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Jeremy for writing this – I identify with that. When I had an office job I actually really liked interacting with coworkers each day. I value my alone time very much, but it is great to be able to put yourself out there regularly, as if it is routine. Now my job is to put myself out there at random and see what good comes of it. Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Amani - I have to tell you I’m jealous of all the adventures you have. To me, talking to a stranger on a plane is an adventure, even if it seems like such a small thing to people. The only time I was on a plane without my family, I sat next to a man who was reading The Hobbit, and I was reading a book called Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I wish I could say we had a wonderful conversation about books – we didn’t. I was too shy to say anything and kept reading for the next four hours. And I still regret it to this day.
    I never put myself in situations where I’d have to interact with people I don’t know, because I too am incredibly shy, and a little awkward. If I’m not completely quiet, I ramble (you witnessed that! haha). But this post made me see all the opportunities and experiences I’m missing out on because of my social anxiety and shyness, and I’m definitely going to try to work on that! So thank you 😀ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:07 am

      brookeshaden - Amani, I think that you have no idea how amazing you truly are. I found you to be so lovable when I met you, and I know that any stranger would have their day brightened by talking to you – so do put yourself out there. I know how hard it is. I am the same. I get so scared to talk…but we must, because of all we could be missing. Let’s keep encouraging each other with this. <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:06 am

    Devon - When I was about 16, an older man stopped to talk to a group of friends and me outside a store. He was so bizarre and candid and genuine- I can still vividly recall the interaction even over 10 years later. When he finally left, he said “If you see me again, just say ‘Hey.’ And I’ll say “Hey’ back. And if I don’t remember you, that’s okay, because we will have still said hello.”ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:07 am

      brookeshaden - Perfection in one story – exactly what I needed to hear to find that motivation to push past my comfort zone. Thank you endlessly for sharing this Devon.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:13 am

    Rocio Martinez - As always, your words are truly uplifting and inspiring. Your descriptions are incredibly beautiful and make me feel connected to you. I also love reading everybody’s comments. Its funny you talk about personal connections because I have always been a really shy person. I started being less shy after entering college and becoming part of the campus activities board. I believe that personal, live connections are imperative. I also believe that connecting online is just as important. Most of us do hide behind the screen but oh what things can be done and how many people can you meet. During college I met the man who is now my husband. But… I met him through Skype. At the time he was getting his master degree in human rights in Spain. We became instant friends and knew that we were soul mates. We “dated” for 4 years online. We only saw each other in person 4 times. One month per year. We knew we were the “one”. He finally left his family and career behind to marry me. The 5th year he moved here and we have now been married for a year and a half. We know we are meant to be. Without the internet…we never would have met…! He is an incredible person to meet in person tho. He has quite a personality and is different from 99% of the population. He smiles to every single person he meets and after saying hello…he ALWAYS asks…”are you happy?”…when ordering out or when asked if he needs anything else, he says…”yes, can I have a smile please?” every single person is taken aback. They are completely surprised and dont know what to say. However, they do end up giving him a smile even if they are angry or grumpy. His love for human connection is so deep that he always ends up getting through to people and making them smile even at the worst moments. He has even written a series of letters called ” letters of love to humanity”. Yesterday, I found out my grandfather had died two days before. I was desperate but even then, he found a way to make me laugh. So, like I always say…everything happens for a reason. I think we live in an era where everything we have is necessary.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:41 am

      brookeshaden - Awwwwwww Rocio!! That is so amazing! I love love stories 🙂 Your husband sounds like the rarest of gems and I am so glad that you two found each other. XoxoxReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:20 am

    Jaye Crist - On a delayed flight out of Denver to JFK, I met a fellow as we shared our dilemma of changing travel plans and options. We comiserated a bit and went our desperate ways. By chance I saw him again that day at O’Hare in Chicago. We had each found different routes that connected in Chicago, he was now flying into LaGuardia and I into Newark. We chatted about our jobs and families briefly over coffee and again went our separate ways. Three days latter in Manhattan, at a corner on Vessey Street we ran into, almost literally, one another. Thus time we found a place to have lunch together to “catch up” on this coinsidence. This was before cell phones, email, internet chats and we again parted ways this time was the last connection, other than my recollection of it quite often
    Since then I now have found FB, LinkedIn, and other digital avenues of value to connect me to you and others who I have yet to meet in person but I do believe that it likely one day we will. Note: Mary Angelini commented here and she is a connection of mine via our internet world and common interest in photography; haven’t met in person, yet 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:39 am

      brookeshaden - Jaye!!! That is so amazing. Wow. I love stories like that. The odds…that is just amazing. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:45 am

    Andrea Gore - First off, thank you Brooke for such a beautiful story that left me in tears when I read he was meeting his Dad for the first time. Not that it was sad. It is just so beautiful. How awesome is it that he shared that with you! My most recent beautiful moment with a stranger happened about a week ago. It began when I was in my senior year of high school and sitting down with my class to order graduation announcements, cap and gown. My family at that time was very poor and couldn’t afford to buy me one. My friends mother seeing me in tears at the graduation ordering meeting offered to buy it for me. Otherwise I would not have had one. Keep in mind I graduated in 2006. Every time I would let it catch my eye from the corner of my closet I would feel so grateful that someone graciously helped me with something that now is so small but at that time meant the world. Even though it was in some ways a symbol of that milestone in my life I wanted it to be a blessing to someone else. Being someone that is terrified of meeting strangers online and not knowing anyone that needed it I didn’t really know what to do with it. I took a chance. I posted on a local yard sale page on Facebook and put “Free to a good home”. I had a taker almost immediately. That day I went and met the lady at a local bank. She got out of her car and before taking the gown told me why she was getting it. She said it was going to a 18 year old boy who had been kicked out of his home onto the streets and had no way of purchasing a gown. She said she had taken him in out of the goodness of her heart but the extra $50 was just not there for her family. My eyes welled up with tears because I knew how that boy felt. I just told her thank you for letting me be the one to give this to them. If I wouldn’t have conquered the fear of meeting a stranger I would have never been able to get that gown to the perfect taker. Although I feel this is such a small thing in the scheme of life, it helped me have faith that giving to strangers is amazing. I also realized all the thoughts and fears of what could go wrong were actually improbable. I now find myself digging around the house to find free things to give away. Seems silly but it is true. Thank you for your constant words of overcoming fear, and sharing your experiences.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:48 am

      brookeshaden - Andrea, you remind me that there is no such thing as something small or an experience that is not huge. What you did, and what you had done for you, is truly breathtaking and I feel renewed because of hearing it. Thank you for sharing that story…you are a great person and I hope to meet you one day..in person 😉ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 11:04 am

      Andrea Gore - I would really love that Brooke!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:46 am

    Monica - Hi Brooke, Very interesting, true and thought provoking blog. I consider myself shy, especially when I am in large groups of people. I am much more willing to have a conversation in a small group setting or with people that I feel a level of comfort when they are in my company. Yet, I have taught elementary education to a classroom of young students every day for many years. I have interacted with colleagues, and parents on a professional level without a problem. But, I find that I am a private person so opening up and letting people see who is behind my mask is not something I do with ease or have a desire to do. You most certainly have the ability to reach your emotions and express them through your art. I bet you too can reach out to people if it truly matters to you and you see that it can be beneficial for you to begin a relationship with that person. So many relationships remain on the surface, and one may start to ask themselves, why bother to interact at all? I too am one of those people who tries to be very polite with those I interact with in public. Like Jody wrote above, I am often given a look of surprise or disbelief, because people around me are so accustomed to rudeness as if it is just the way it is. I guess the old adage of don’t talk to strangers is drilled into people in my area from when they are young. So, making connections is difficult. But, I believe it is worth your effort to find places to make connections and allow someone to find out who the woman is behind the lens. Making some time for human connection is good for your soul and outlook on life. I have been photographing families and headshots for a while. Meeting and interacting with this group of people is very similar to teaching. I find that it is still my role to earn their trust and make them feel comfortable before I can get a successful photo. Teaching is the same…there is rarely success without your student/client having good self esteem and being willing to take a chance with me. Breaking out of shyness is exactly the same. Reading your entry today actually made me feel good about myself. I connect with what you saying and am here to tell you I think you a doing just fine being you.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:50 am

      brookeshaden - Monica, you are a lovely person. Thank you for being here and writing these words, it’s just what I needed to hear. Amazing – you reaching out to me has changed my life for the better, and I can already tell that many people feel that way about you. xoReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 10:53 am

    Vanessa - This really speaks to me, as it’s something I’ve always struggled with. The most common feedback I receive, from 3rd grade to this day is: Vanessa needs to communicate more/come out of her shell. I’ve learned to love and partially rely on digital communication, and while it’s done great things for me (including introducing me to my husband) there is such a difference when you reach out and just chat with a stranger! Corporate work has really helped me grow and broaden my communication skills, and I’m definitely inspired to use that for more personal interactions. There’s so little to lose, and from all these stories above, obviously so much to gain- I look forward to it!ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:57 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Vanessa I love that – meeting your husband, working on being more social. I also heard the same things on my report cards…always. Sigh! But yes, reaching out and really talking to people is invaluable!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 11:21 am

    Corinne - I’ve been fortunate to have a few…photography has mostly been the reason for it because I’ve had to learn how to connect with my subjects who are often strangers, be it verbally or emotionally. I have done a lot of work photographing racehorses, which that in itself has led me to meet some incredible people who live in a very nomadic business. I remember one day a young girl reached out to me via Facebook, she worked on the backstretch of the track I was shooting at. I’m not normally the “be friends with girls” type, as I’ve had so many issues with them in the past, but for some reason I felt a connection with her. We decided to meet in person, it was stupid to not see each other face to face when we practically lived just towns apart. I’m not one to normally put myself out there like that. I’m a very talkative and friendly to everyone, even strangers, but to become friendly with someone I never met, to try and form a connection with them, become vulnerable…well, that’s something I’m not very comfortable with. But the thing horseracing has taught me about most is second chances and taking chances in the first place, so I pushed myself to meet her and not make some lame excuse the day of our plans and back out. I have to say it was the best chance I ever took on a stranger, and it has changed my life exponentially. Casey and I have become the best of friends in the four years since we first randomly met. She’s 19 and I’m 30 and that age difference has never once gotten in the way of our amazing friendship. She’s an artist and I’m a photographer, and our mutual love for horses, coffee, chocolate, and fun has made us quite a team. I’ve learned from this experience to open up more and really put myself out there…the face to face connections I’ve made in life have directly effected and changed my photography for the better! Thank YOU for sharing your story with us. I know I’ve said it too many times haha but you truly are such a huge inspiration to me! I hope one day we get to meet face to face as well!ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 11:24 am

      brookeshaden - Wow Corinne! That is such an amazing story. To meet a friend like that on the internet – I love that you kept in touch and are still going strong. That is amazing 🙂 I love it! And thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate it so much 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    Margherita Introna - As always Brooke, your words – as with your images – have touched my heart and I feel an overflow of emotion in my soul <3 Thank you.
    My biggest fear is to tell people how I feel about them – and the more I feel for them the greater my fear. It is a fear of rejection perhaps… a deep shyness that makes me scared to reach out. So often I express my feelings for somebody through my images rather – and although I would never change this – I battle with my fear to speak my heart to those that matter most. Your words today have given me hope in some strange way. As always, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 12:09 pm

      brookeshaden - Margherita, Thank you for sharing this. I identify with you so much. I know how that feels. It is something I crave to get past but it is a slow process, made faster all the time by trying new things and realizing that hardly anything bad can happen as a result of saying hello. So much love to you!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 12:55 pm

    Monica - Hi Brooke,
    I am so glad you received my message. I apologize for the errors in the message; I was rushing and did not proofread. Of course, I will never admit that to my students – LOL. I neglected to mention that I keep a Facebook page called Monica Cole Photography and a Zenfolio account at mocophoto.zenfolio.com if your are curious to see some of my work. I am all self taught and have finally reached a point where I am aiming to be more creative with my photos. I just traded up to the Canon 6D and shoot all natural light at this time. Wishing you all good things and please know I will be out here following and appreciating your work as you unveil each work of art to the world!
    MonicaReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 1:03 pm

    Monica Quintana - Great story, Brooke. Reminded me a similar experience. Many years ago, my boyfriend and I went on a trip to Andalucia (south of Spain). We went by train (12 or 14 hours trip). As we wanted to spend the less money we could, we choose a cheap ticket, that meant we had to share space with other people. I didn’t felt confortable with that, it was mostly a night trip and sharing my night with strangers was not my idea of a great travel. But the most amazing thing happened: a man sitting on the same wagon, an old man, started talking to us: where were we going, how many days we were going to stay there… things like that. And began to tell us about his life. He was an immigrate. He left his home, Andalucia, to try to find a job and a better life. He spent his entire life on the north of Spain, working on a mine. Working many hours every day, in terrible conditions, with many risks. He saw some of his friends die inside the mine. He suffered a disease in his lungs due to the continued exposure to coal. He had his pharynx extirped due to cancer and spoke thanks to a prosthetic one. His story was amazing, specially because he was talking bravely, corageously, with a smile most of the time. A really amazing man. I will never forget him.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    Birgit - What a beautiful story in a world where you sometimes feel like an alien just because you look at people and greet your neighbors.

    @mary angelini
    This is exactly me! 🙂
    Good to know that there are others who love to shoot portraits and have to overcome their own shyness.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    sophia - I was on a short one-hour flight in the middle seat. As the sold-out flight started filling up I glanced at each person coming down the aisle, wondering who would be seated next to me. Finally, a man as big as a mountain squeezed his way through the aisle. He was to be my seat mate. My heart sunk. He tall, and wide, and big. The kind of big that spilled into my seat. The kind of big that prevented the seat divider from being brought down. He oozed into my space. He was sweating a little and finally dared to glance down out me with sideward scared-puppy eyes. In that instance, I knew this man had probably never encountered anything but hostility on a flight of any duration. It was only an hour. I smiled and decided I would be as gracious and kind as I knew how. We started talking, and he was one of the most fascinating people I had ever talked to. We covered astronomy, physics, poetry, literature…photography, travel, dreams and aspirations. He was quirky and funny, tentative and passionate. Yes, all of those things. We covered more ground that I have with people I’ve known my whole life. That hour went by in moments and I was truly sorry to have to land so soon. That brief connection taught me to never close my heart to anyone. We all need one another.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    sophia - I was on a short one-hour flight in the middle seat. As the sold-out flight started filling up I glanced at each person coming down the aisle, wondering who would be seated next to me. Finally, a man as big as a mountain squeezed his way through the aisle. He was to be my seat mate. My heart sunk. He was tall, and wide, and big. The kind of big that spilled into my seat. The kind of big that prevented the seat divider from being brought down. He oozed into my space. He was sweating a little and finally dared to glance down at me with sideward scared-puppy eyes. In that instance, I knew this man had probably never encountered anything but hostility on a flight of any duration. It was only to be an hour. I smiled and decided I would be as gracious and kind as I knew how. We started talking, and he was one of the most fascinating people I had ever talked to. We covered astronomy, physics, poetry, literature…photography, travel, dreams and aspirations. He was quirky and funny, tentative and passionate. Yes, all of those things. We covered more ground than I have with people I’ve known my whole life. That hour went by in moments and I was truly sorry to have to land so soon. That brief connection taught me to never close my heart to anyone. We all need one another.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 2:42 pm

    Heather - Such wonderful and inspiring stories!! 🙂

    The first one that came to my mind happened many, many years ago. (I’m getting ready to show my age a bit!) I was a manager at a now defunct video store and working a fairly quiet shift when I noticed some raised voices at the front counter. After listening for a minute it became clear what was going on. An older woman (her name was Ovean) had ordered a CD and thought we were the store she had called to place the order. She was unable to drive and had called a cab to bring her out – about 10 miles or so – and was frustrated and couldn’t understand why we weren’t helping her. I’m not always the best at handling conflict if it deals with me, but I guess I’m okay at talking other people down sometimes. I pulled Ovean to the side and was finally able to help her understand why we wouldn’t have her CD’s, and then I placed a call to a couple of nearby shops until I was able to locate the place that did. I sent her on her way calm and contented and thought I’d never see her again… About two weeks later I was working an afternoon shift and received a phone call from the grocery store at the other end of the parking lot. It was Ovean wondering “what you kids are eating for snacks these days”. I tried to assure her we didn’t need anything but would love to see her if she had time to stop by. Ten minutes later she showed up with a huge bag full of fresh fruit and a box of Valentine’s candy for me and the other employee working that day. She told me she didn’t have any family, didn’t often get to talk to people and felt like she could talk to me. I never knew when she might show up & she had no phone, so would just come visit every now and then. She was a sassy, thoughtful, kind woman, and my only regret is that I never knew how to contact her, so I was never able to find out what became of her when she stopped coming for our visits. On that first brief Sunday afternoon, however, she taught me about random kindness and paying it forward before those things became common vernacular. She touched my heart… and will always be with me.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Lisa Lizarraga - Soon i board the plane. I will sit there side by side by a total stranger and yet not an ounce of stranger will last, for i have chosen to become friends. I made a decision a year ago to stop waiting for the rest of my life. To stop waiting for the life of my dreams. It was one of the best decisions of my life. As a child all i wanted to be when i grew up was an “Artist” a real one. I was an artist as a child, my mom would tell everyone, “this is my artist, Lisa” and yet when i grew up…what changed? When did i loose that thought that i was a ‘real artist’? When did i become afraid to chat with the person sitting next to me? I am in my mid 40’s and i no longer wait for anything. I am a real artist now and i choose to chat with the stranger who will become my friend. I have finally given myself permission to not take things personally. I have finally given myself permission to live the life of my dreams and since i have always been a dreamer…it’s amazing to ride the clouds without guilt, i wish it for everyone. I am so excited to visit this new world tomorrow and to meet new people who will come alive in the lens of my camera. I have no idea what this next week will hold for me and my little black box with a shutter sound. One thing i know for sure, it will be amazing…how could it not when you live in a world where anything is possible and you have left the mind killer at home. (no Facebook for a week…hopefully i will survive eek)ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 4:50 pm

    jonathan - I have no story for you this morning, just a quick note to say that your words have echoed my thoughts on more than one occasion and that’s OK with me.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 6:05 pm

    Ron - Thank you Brooke for all you share with us. You are an amazing, inspirational person! I have often observed that extroverted people seem to get more attention while introverted people are more easily overlooked (and encouraged to become more extroverted!). We live in a strange world where extroversion is valued more! One of my sons is an introvert and I observed this in his life often. I interact with people as part of my work (I am a pastor in a church) and I have found myself drawn to introverts and try to make it one of my values to connect with them. I feel blessed in so many ways by intentionally trying to value introverts! There is a richness in both who they are and in the depth of their thought! I am borderline between extrovert/introvert and slip back and forth between the two. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of connecting with others. People can be such a gift and often we are the ones blessed when the connection unexpectedly happens!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 7:39 am

    Best & Worst Qualities | Promoting Passion - […] other day I blogged about the power of connecting with people, and I realized after writing it that I could do even more to facilitate those connections. Yes, […]ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Paulo Carvalho - I don’t have any stories of contact with strange people on the plane, because when I travel I always go with someone known. But I have a story.
    My best friend I knew through a radio program. And during 5 years we never met in person, we only exchanged letters by the post. And even without seeing each other, we were best friends. When we first saw, at the end of five years, it was one of my best days and it was like we had already seen so many times. It was wonderful. Today, after 20 years, she continues to be my best friend.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 10:13 am

    Shaun Poston - Truly touching post Brooke, as I often struggle with this same issue. But like you, when I do manage to conjure up the courage to do so, I have often found that people are just as willing to make small talk as you are once they realize there is no need to keep their guard up with you. I have actually been wanting to reach out to you to thank you and this post post was a blessing in that aspect. I have only been in the photography field for right at a year and I like many others were just stuck in the over-edited HDR phase! Lol! That was until I saw your work and interview on SLR Lounge and it was the most influential moment I have had in my short career thus far. What’s even more fascinating was the image that caught my attention was the exact image you used on your facebook page for this post, “waiting to fly.” It was definitely a sign telling me to reach out. to make a long story short, your work and your true passion has been extremely contagious and so moving it has inspired me to lengths you couldn’t even imagine and taken my work to a completely different level. Although I have just begun my journey and am only scratching the surface thus far, because Of your inspiration, I have had the courage to put myself out there and was just invited to showcase my work at the RAW Artist event here in New Orleans and have set goals to have my work in galleries by the end of the year. I honestly had no clue I was capable of becoming so passionate about something as I am for this amazing field! Your Creative Live workshops were amazing and I can’t tell you how many times I have watched them and learn new things every time I do. Can’t wait until February! So I just really needed to write and say Thank You for all that you do. It’s amazing how you are able to have such an effect on complete “strangers” by just being who you are. So for that I am grateful! Keep doing what you are doing because you are an amazing soul!!!ReplyCancel

    • January 10, 2014 - 10:15 am

      brookeshaden - Shaun, this touched me so much. Thank you for sharing your story…I am lifted up by your words. I know you will go so far – your passion is infectious and I feel so grateful and honored that something I might have done has made an impact…thank you endlessly!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    Shaun Poston - The pleasure is all mine! Thank you! Amazing book by the way! Looking forward to many more to come! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2014 - 11:14 pm

    JAKE - Hi, I discovered great tips ! Continue the good work!ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2014 - 1:55 am

    Ashley - I’m a very shy person and have been for many years. This story is kind of funny in how it all worked out. But when I was in my senior year of high school and I took pictures of my friends band and didn’t really connect or even attempt to socialize with the other members of the band besides the one I knew. I did my job and got out, its what I did best. Two years later I am reunited with the bassist of that band and am now dating him. Its amazing how if I had just thought to strike up a conversation maybe I would have realized what great people I was taking my time to photograph. We all work together, live together, breath together and yet none of us really seem to take the time to know each other. That is a shame. But since I’ve learned from this experience I’ve chosen to start getting to know people even if its someone that I’m pretty sure I will never run into again. It’s amazing the impact we can have on other peoples lives if not only for just a brief minute of your time. I’m extremely grateful that you take the time to touch all of our lives with your wisdom, you could easily just take your photos and put them on the internet and tell your stories and we would all gladly listen but you actually care to know us and that makes you amazing. You truly are an wonderful inspiration.ReplyCancel

Isn’t it strange how hard it can be to try something new? I felt that way simply in posting this video. it’s different and vulnerable and sometimes even putting yourself out there in the smallest ways can make you feel insecure. But that is exactly why I am doing it: because in 2014 I am embracing every little thing that makes me uncomfortable. I am posting things that are different and letting the feedback come, and understanding that no opinion can define me but my own.

I decided to write a blog post as I’ve done hundreds of times but this time, I read it as I felt it. The voice inside my head.

  • January 6, 2014 - 4:09 am

    Annamaria - Wow, this has touched me to tears. You are such a wonderful person giving joy, hope and courage to all of us. I would love to say so much to you as I have been following and being amazed by your work for years, but more than anything I am grateful. Grateful that the essence of you is the essence of everyone of us as well, and your work is touching us because we also carry the possibility of art as strong as yours in ourselves. Thank you for making my heart smile, thank you for sharing the pictures of your soul.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 8:56 am

      brookeshaden - You have touched me as well. Thank you for writing such kind and heartfelt words, they mean more to me than I can say. Words like this give me the courage to say what is inside, and I can only hope that it resonates with others. <3ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 8:10 am

    Tobias - I absolutely adore your work. So inspiring and wonderful. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 8:55 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Tobias!! That means a lot to me.ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 9:04 am

    Martin - Brooke,
    I have been watching and re-watching your Creative Live seminars and consuming your book. Thank you for making what was once a hobby a soul-fulfilling passion.
    mhReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:15 am

      brookeshaden - Martin, thank you so much for saying that. It is amazing to discover a passion that fills you up so fully.ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Jill - I am absolutely in love with this video. When I stumbled across your work a few years ago as a young student trying to find herself as an artist, I was in awe by the beauty of your work. Just as much, I was and still am so inspired by your passion to both create and spread inspiration. I really needed to begin my year with a video like this. Not only is it inspiring, but it is motivating. Thank you for your openness and your desire to spread what you love to everyone else. It has honestly helped and inspired me in tremendous ways.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:16 am

      brookeshaden - Oh Jill, thank you tremendously. I was so nervous to share this video because of just how personal it was, and you’ve just made me feel so much better. Thank you for being you!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 9:19 am

    Abigail - this is intense. in a good way. and makes me want to challenge myself. thank you for everything you share.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:24 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you Abigail!! I am so glad to hear it. Challenges are what allow us to grow into our best selves. I hope you flourish 🙂 Thank you for being so kind!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 9:27 am

    Chandra Achberger - Simply. Stunning. Message.
    Be the change! Much ♥ to you Brooke and thank you, a thousand thank you’s, for all you share with the universe. Thank you for being you and letting that light SHINE.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:28 am

      brookeshaden - Thank YOU Chandra!! You have no idea how much your words lift me up. Thank you for inspiring me!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 9:39 am

    Jody McNary - That was awesome Brooke!!
    Just I needed today. In fact I will play this everyday, to keep me focus.

    Thank you
    Have a Great Day !!ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:40 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Jody! I am so glad to hear that this helped! Live on!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 10:11 am

    thomas miles - Hi Brooke, I love the message in this video and in fact your message as a whole! You have inspired me so much to create surreal and beautiful photos that are a piece of me being almost ‘released’ in an artistic way! My dream one day is to meet you, but I’m pretty sure if i do I’m gonna explode! Either way, Im in love with your photography and want to say a massive thank you for opening my mind to the world around me and making me feel like I can tackle my fears and be resilient in achieving that goal! Can’t wait to see more of your photos in this coming year and keep on promoting passion! 😀ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 10:22 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Thomas! You are so kind!! Thank you for brightening my day and lifting my spirit. I hope our paths do cross, it would be a real honor for me. Happy new year and let me know when some of those dreams are realized – I’ll be cheering for you from over here!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 10:39 am

    dee - Thanks so much for sharing your dream. It truly is an inspiration to see your creative imagery tied to your words and know the same passion exists within all of us who create.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 10:41 am

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Dee. I agree, it is wonderful to know we are all in this together <3ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:03 am

    Amani - I’m so glad you were able to get over being insecure, and posted this. I hope you do this more often because there’s something that’s just so personal about hearing you speak your mind, it’s different than reading your thoughts – but don’t get me wrong, I love reading your blog posts.
    Thank you for posting this. I’m having a rough couple of days and even though this brought tears to my eyes, it definitely helped. I hope you know that you really do touch and changes lives <3 I hope you never stop living your dream.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 12:29 pm

      brookeshaden - Amani, thank you for inspiring me always and for giving me support and motivation. I owe you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:19 am

    Laesia Juditta - Lost in your dreams already… Huhhhh… It was so sincere.

    I have to tell you when I first saw your pic “Finding Strength” (the lady in red in the desert) it gave me an inspiration to start a campaign for a reprint of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent in Hungarian. It was printed 10 years ago and I had to wait exactly 3 years to get one copy in a second-hand shop. I thought about all my friends and sisters who might love this book. Then I saw your picture… and that was THE MOMENT. The author of the book was as kind and helpful as possible and now it seems it will go… So thank you for that picture, too… (my favourite…)

    And this was all just last year. 🙂 New one has just started. 🙂

    I loved this video, too. Good to see that we are not alone with fears and that there really are ways to cope them and still go on…ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 12:29 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank you Laesia! I really appreciate you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Samantha Pugsley - I teared up during this video. You’ve so perfectly articulated what it means to be an artist – sharing our dreams in hopes that others can live in them with us.

    How is it that every time you post something it seems to find me at just the right time in my life? 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 12:29 pm

      brookeshaden - Oh Samantha, I adore you 🙂 Thank you for being in my life!!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Stacy Shaeffer - Brooke,

    We have never met. You do not know who I am, but you so thoroughly know my spirit. You know my heart. You know my passion. You know the way my brain works. When I discovered your work, I felt as though I had finally found someone who understood the art I was wishing to produce. So often we get caught up in finding the balance between shooting to profit for our families and the true art that lives within our souls. As a artist, I long to create images that move me. To bring to life the vision in my head. The one that haunts me in my dreams, stops me in daily grind, the one that longs to be put to life on paper. I hope that 2014 brings me more time to capture those images in between the profit shooting and the daily life of being a Mom, Wife, Business Owner, Daughter, Sister and Granddaughter. I hope that I can find the artist who lives inside of my soul the way you have inspired me to be so. I asked for only thing for Christmas this year, your book. I have spent hours upon hours just admiring your work and the words you pour so effortlessly and poetically onto paper. Thank you for sharing your soul, your gift and your artistry with the world. Thank you for inspiring the inner artist within myself. Wishing you so much joy and inspiration in 2014 and I cannot wait to witness your art this year. Blessings. ~Stacy Shaeffer, Stacy Shaeffer PhotographyReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 12:28 pm

      brookeshaden - Oh Stacy, you can’t begin to imagine how much this means to me. I’ve just had a smile on my face for 5 minutes! I am so grateful for you. I understand where you’re coming from – I hope that your 2014 is a year of growth and discovery and passion. And I truly hope our paths cross soon.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 3:57 pm

      Stacy Shaeffer - I would be honored!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:48 am

    Andrea Gore - This is beautiful, truly beautiful. Thank you Brooke. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 12:27 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank you so much Andrea!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    Beata Rydén - You are such a beautiful person, and you are so brave to share your passion and speak your voice to the world. You have changed many lives already, I´m certain of that. Thank you for your endless inspiration!!! Always keep dreaming <3

    ps. i love this new video-update every monday. so cool 😀ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 1:07 pm

    Tara Eveland - Wow that made me tear up as well, as today I too released something that is so out of my comfort zone. I am not brave enough as you to allow comments on my blog, I don’t want to read any negativity as I embark on this ‘journey for inspiration’ as I call it.
    But reading your book daily, writing down endless quotes and notes from it, watching the creative live recaps and looking back through my notes the last time you were there talking about failure and growing, you have no idea how much you have touched my life and inspired me in a way that has CHANGED my life and my heart and soul. I don’t feel like something is ‘missing’ anymore, I know how to fill that spot and that is with my art to express my ideas and emotions, even if others don’t understand or even like it.
    Again, thank you for your generiosity and forever giving back to our community. It is my dream for this year to meet you face to face at a workshop, or maybe even I’ll get pickd for you CL audience, but I just want the chance to meet the artist that inspired me to take that first step and push past my fears and in doing so has changed my life and heart!
    If you have a second of your day to look at my blog and read the latest entry, I am introducing my first series in it, and I wrote about the thought process that went into it, the passion and the personal visions for it, I would love to get your input on it. Its located at http://www.inspirationjourney.org thank you again Brooke and may God bless you continually this year!ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:43 pm

      brookeshaden - Tara, you have no idea the difference you make in my life. Just the other night at dinner I randomly told my husband I wanted to meet you. You are one of those people that shines so bright. Thank you for commenting. I’ll hop on to your blog just as soon as I settle on a better computer!ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2014 - 1:29 pm

      Tara Eveland - Oh wow! YOU want to me ME? That is amazing! I am so excited to met you as well! You have just inspired me beyond belief! thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 1:28 pm

    Christie - Wow Brooke.. this really hits home, again.. I have had to listen to several times and each time I “hear” something new that makes me pause and think. Thank you so much for taking the time to be an inspiration to all of us.

    Christie
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindaccherryphotographyReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:41 pm

      brookeshaden - Christie, thank you so much. Your words have touched me.ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    Carlee - I have always been scared to put my art work out there and this video just pushed me to do it! You are my idol you always give me hope and inspiration and I can’t thank you enough. You have really changed my life for the better and you were one of the reason I started in photography. I’m only a teen and I hope to grow up and be like you and as good as photography as you. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:41 pm

      brookeshaden - Hi Carlee! Thank you so much! And I just know that you will grow to be the best YOU that you can be.ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    Edith - Wow Brooke, you are great with words as well as with photos. You put this in a way that touched me, made me even more determined to continue on the path I recently started to follow and be the best I can be.
    Thank you so much!

    EdithReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:41 pm

      brookeshaden - Oh Edith thank you so much. I appreciate you immensely. I know you will become the best you possible!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 2:37 pm

    Ryan - This is amazing Brooke! I’ve been following your work for almost a year and I must say that you are the one photographer who actually inspires me to get out there and shoot without being afraid of it not working out. Thank you for this wonderful video and i wish you the best for the remainder of the year.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:40 pm

      brookeshaden - Aww thank you Ryan! I appreciate that a lot. I hope you have so many fulfilling photo experiences to come!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    Evelyn - Brooke, thank you so much for you videos, I used to have so many excuses for not doing photography (getting the model, I don’t have money for the lighting. stylists…) but seeing you come up with such amazing images in such an organic way has really inspired me to take the plunge!. Hats off to you. Love from Australia 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:40 pm

      brookeshaden - Awesome Evelyn!! I know you will always find ways to create amazing images that explode onto the photo scene!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    Paulo Carvalho - My dream will take place this year. I’m starting my first big project in photography, but here in Portugal everything seems so hard and keeps us close to the abyss, ready to give up. And then the fear takes possession of me. We live in a period of financial and economic crisis and everything is so complicated, full of obstacles that keeps us from achieving the goal. I’m not going to accomplish the dream, I think very often. Fall and get up. It must be that way. Today I went down again, because we are living a sad day. A special Portuguese athlete, a champion, died. Our country is sad. But every time I hear your words, it’s like a hand pulling me up, and this video, once again did it. So, thank you. I admire you, not only your talent, but your personality, your spirit. Congratulations for what you are.ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:39 pm

      brookeshaden - Paulo, I am so sad to hear of your struggles and I will be thinking of you for a long time after writing these words. I hope that your journey brings you peace!ReplyCancel

    • January 7, 2014 - 4:22 am

      Paulo Carvalho - Thank you Brooke!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 5:02 pm

    6-365: nude-art workshop II | lycoops - […] I became speetchless after watching a video from Brooke Shaden. She talks about choosing for your dream and not to let you stop by fear. That is something I will […]ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 6:21 pm

    Rand Huneidi - Brooke,

    Again and again, thank you so much for this inspirational video:)ReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 9:38 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank YOU rand for watching!ReplyCancel

  • January 6, 2014 - 11:41 pm

    Suellen Cook - Expressing emotion in my imagery has become my direction for 2014. Thanks to you and your inspiring words and imagery. I have always been afraid of taking images of people but recently, again thanks to you, I have started to explore portraiture.
    Most of my imagery has been devoid of people as I was trying to express loneliness and abandonment but I have realised that through portraiture I have the potential to make a deeper contention to the viewer. Thanks Brooke for inspiring me and giving me courage to explore new ideas and for adding in no small way to my future artistic direction. I firmly believe you are “one out of the box” (now there is an inspiration in itself – I often use sayings to inspire my art) when it comes to truly giving with integrity and honesty, thank you :). warmest wishes from Australia, SuellenReplyCancel

    • January 6, 2014 - 11:48 pm

      brookeshaden - Suellen, thank you deeply. I love that you are thinking so personally about where you can take your art and I believe it will be very fulfilling for you. Please do share as your journey progresses! Thank you for being so kind <3ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 12:20 am

    natascha van niekerk - Thank you Brooke for being open, honest and vulnerable, we appreciate you!ReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:40 am

      brookeshaden - Oh thank you Natascha!!ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 12:59 am

    Suellen Cook - The only way I know to imbibe authenticity to emotion I wish to show is to allow my art to speak of me 🙂
    Not being terribly computer savvy the only way I know to share is to put up the link to my website https://www.suellencook.com or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SuellenCookCreativePhotography. I hope you will follow my journey as I follow yours.ReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:41 am

      brookeshaden - Suellen, I am honored to follow, your creative vision is lovely.ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 2:33 am

    Claire Gunn - Thank you. is that enough to tell you how deeply you touch our lives Brooke? You are the beacon of light that our own dreams connect with. I AM living my dream because I want to and these words are true to how I feel. Often I put out an image with that fearful, heart pounding experience, but I know I must do it no matter what because the art wants to be made and I am its tool… Thank you for pushing and dreaming…ReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:37 am

      brookeshaden - Claire, this brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for showing me such loving support and taking the time to write. I know you will continue to live your dream and I am excited to hear all about it.ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 8:17 am

    Rocio Martinez - This is unbelievable. I just had to close my eyes in order to listen to your voice and take in your every word. You have always inspired me but this time you surpassed that inspiration. I have no words to describe how amazing and incredible your passion is to me and I’m sure to every listener. This is what life, passion, and art is all about. You have really hit home and I thank you. This is by far the most remarkable words I have heard in a very long time. I will definitely share this in our [fa] Photography group. God Bless You!ReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:36 am

      brookeshaden - Awww Rocio thank you so much, that really means a lot to me. Thank you for being such an amazing support in my life.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 10:29 am

      Rocio Martinez - Thank you for saying that! It made me smile and made my day! 😀ReplyCancel

      • January 9, 2014 - 10:38 am

        brookeshaden - Aww yay thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 8:43 am

    Sandy Gutierrez - I am a photography student who was stuck in a rut. But I came across your amazing videos and it inspired me and helped me realized that if you love what you do than you can’t give up. If you are ever in Missouri please please let me know, I would love to hear you speak.
    -Sandy GutierrezReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:35 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Sandy! That is really wonderful to hear and I hope that you have the most amazing journey ahead of you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 11:40 am

    Vinod Krishnan - awesome….ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 11:42 am

    Vinod Krishnan - i was waiting for your tutorial the whole week….just came from a shoot…..watching your video at 12am midnight…..
    thanks a tonReplyCancel

    • January 7, 2014 - 8:32 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank YOU!ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 3:59 pm

    Giulia - Dear Brooke, thank you for this initiative … I am following your videos to promote your passion and are touching the fiber that i had a little covered by layers of life and I strive to recover. I Had hidden creativity and passion and the way you show your philosophy of life and photography and the message they are sharing, gradually emerges and gives me motivation to work on what I had saved: To express my passion in photography. Yesterday I was watching your video by accident on youtube creative live where you talk about how to get inspiration and this complements what you, God bless you and continue to fill your inner world that is very extensive. Greetings from Venezuela!ReplyCancel

    • January 7, 2014 - 8:28 pm

      brookeshaden - Hi Giulia! Wow thank you so much, you are very kind and I appreciate your words completely.ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 6:14 pm

    Heather Arsement - In my world right now I feel my work is not up to par as those who I look up too. I have all these ideas and dreams and I can’t quite grasp them. Thank you this and putting your self out there. That is very brave.ReplyCancel

    • January 7, 2014 - 8:17 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank you Heather. And just remember that your work will be different, now and always, and that is exactly what makes it special. Embrace where you are in you are in your journey, and the rest will follow. xoxoReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2014 - 10:37 pm

    Betty - I absolutely love this video and its message, along with all of your amazing work. The video is just incredibly inspiring and truly does give me a lot of hope. Thank you so much for that. Your work is so unique and brilliant, I admire it a lot as well as you as a person, who seems so wonderfully inspiring and I have found that to be the truth after watching this video. Each piece of your work has such an amazing story and tale behind it, and really is a work of art.

    For my photo imaging class at my school, we are doing an emulation project and I decided to take on the challenge of two of your works. I think that you are truly remarkable and I hope that I will be able to capture the magnificent essence that you do in your pieces and that maybe one day I will get the honor of meeting you in person as I too live in Arizona 🙂

    I can’t wait to see all the amazing works that are yet to come from you.
    Best wishes xReplyCancel

    • January 8, 2014 - 5:34 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Betty! Thank you so much for leaving a comment, I am so grateful that you’ve watched the video and enjoyed it. I hope that we can meet someday too!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2014 - 11:43 am

    thomas miles - Hi again, Ive been wondering for a while now and just wanted to quickly ask: how do you come up with your titles? I mean, there soooooo beautiful and are just so amazing, so do you get them from somewhere, like read a word and want to use it, or do they just come naturally? I want to give my photos beautiful titles aswell but not have them just be creative for the sake of being creative… hope this makes sense XDReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 8:14 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Thomas! Great question – I absolutely adore titles. I usually pick out one word that holds a lot of meaning for me pertaining to the image I am titling, and then often I try to put that into context that sounds poetic and doesn’t give too much away. I love titles that have a rhythm and mystery to them.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2014 - 11:56 am

    Brian - Hi Brooke, I seem to have a link between making money with my photography and passion. I had a dream, but it died. I can no longer make a living at my photography and that has called into question whether or not I should continue with photography. Seems every time I look through the view finder the thought that crosses my mind is – what’s the point and I don’t press buton. In your opinion is it a good idea to just step away from it all or do you keep pushing it in hopes the spark will return?ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2014 - 11:59 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Brian, I totally understand you. I have had those same feelings countless times in my journey so far, and I expect them to continue periodically. I think that the best thing to do is to mentally unlink photography and money, even if just for a short time. Shoot what you love just because you love it, and let the rest fall into place more naturally. If you are feeling very frustrated, take a break. Don’t set a time limit. Just fill your mind with other creative outlets. I usually feel very motivated after doing something else for a time. And if you want to challenge yourself, plan a shoot based around all of the things that you love and shoot it 100% for you. Don’t worry about how it will turn out, just have fun with it. I find that business works best for me when I’m not forcing anything – when I shoot what I love and then let others know how passionate I am about it.ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2014 - 1:39 am

    iamcarmina - You are inspirational… thank you for sharing all the wonderful thoughts that speaks entirely how an artist should be. Every images you share, every speech or captions that comes with it, makes me continue to do what I am passionate about, specially in times when I doubt myself and end up comparing myself to others. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • January 12, 2014 - 8:33 pm

    Darci Thompson - Thank you for your words Brooke. I find myself at a place in my artistic and personal life where I am asking myself all the questions you so powerfully and eloquently stated. Thank you for the reminder that although we learn from the past, living life is about being in the present, stepping past our fears and just getting out there. Thank you for sharing your heart, talent and work with us. I hope one day I will have a chance to work and learn with you. NamasteReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Dave Emmerson - Brooke

    Ive just recently come across your work while having a random evening on YouTube, and it was a case of wow, I quickly followed that with a visit to your Flickr page to take in more of your work, your such a big inspiration, and now am dying to try something different, yeah maybe follow my dream as well. Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful workReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2014 - 7:26 am

    Luigi Fulk - I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 2, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    Priscila - Your are wonderful. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and poetry. I have been seeking for a message like yours. I have been confronting my fears, and not knowing if i was on the right path. Thanks for such moving support and inspiration.ReplyCancel