What moments impacted you the most from 2015?
I started the year 2015 in India. January. Kolkata. I found myself back where I always end up, a difficult place to be but so filled with love and warmth. I taught my third workshop there benefitting survivors of human trafficking. I ended my trip at an orphanage in a small village outside of the city. I waved goodbye to the boys and girls, two of whom knocked on our door at night to sit and giggle on our bed, singing traditional Bengali songs while we looked on in awe, unable to find a single song to sing in return save for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
There are so many moments that shape who a person is and becomes. I looked out of the car that was taking us to the train station at the children, all of them reaching their little hands into the open window for one last goodbye, and that moment struck me. I felt as though I was watching someone else through the dusty window of the old vehicle, like time was moving so slowly and the huge smile on my face frozen in time.
Another moment was in March, on my birthday, when I was supposed to be teaching a class at WPPI. Instead I was in the hospital from food poisoning, made worse because of my Fibromyalgia. I was unable to walk by myself and couldn’t get out of bed to get to my class. I cried when my friends left for a time. I posted online about how sorry I was, and expected backlash because I had to miss my own class…the one I baked a cake for and everything. But nothing bad happened. Instead, I saw the kindness of this community. I received well over a thousand comments and messages and emails with healing vibes, and I harnessed them all so I could share my birthday cake with everyone the next day. Moments like that stay with you.
April came. I was desperate for adventure. I wanted to do something uncomfortable and exciting. I went camping despite the weather being at 20 degrees F. We froze all night. My best friend woke me every half hour to ask if I saw something moving outside the tent. At five AM we packed up and went to a nearby lake, and I jumped in. It took every ounce of energy and mental control I had. I have never been in colder water than that. And it was entirely worth it. To summon your energy and find the strength to say yes instead of no, that is why I do these things to myself.
In May I found myself sitting with a dead bird in an old chateau in France. I cradled it; a small bird in my small hands. I had no idea what I was going to create, but I wanted to honor the bird’s life. And so I did create – whatever felt natural, whatever felt right. “The Weight of a Feather”, I titled it, and it felt like it was supposed to be. I wafted through the countless rooms of the castle with my new friends, each of them offering to help in different ways, each of them showing their support to someone they had just met days before. And it felt like family. I felt like I was home. And I felt like I, finally, listened to my heart.
Later that month I went to Iceland. The hour was midnight and all four of our RVs pulled up to the glacier lagoon. Some of us were tired. Others were excited. Most of us were a mix of both. We got out and stared at the blue icebergs floating, quietly, in the blue water. The blue sky turning from slate gray to purple from time to time, clouds wandering in and out of my gaze. It took us time to get our bearings. And once I saw the spot that I had been dreaming of, the one I had conjured up in my imagination of what Iceland would look like, I put my blue dress on. I slipped into a pair of plastic waders to keep dry, and I set my camera up for a self-portrait. I wandered into that icy water, playing down how scared I was, and I focused my mind. Just create. Just breathe. Just feel. And I did. All 18 of us took pictures as I glided into the water, stumbling every now and then over the uneven terrain of the water’s floor. And I posed, back-bending, lightly touching the water, head up to the sky, exactly as I felt in that moment. Alive. Whole. Fulfilled.
In June I was in Australia entirely by myself. I didn’t know a single person. After I gave a lecture, I invited anyone who wanted to join out on a photo shoot at the Secret Garden. The next morning that group of us showed up ready to have an adventure, and so we did. The mud was up to our knees in places, and I decided I would throw caution to the wind and despite my better judgment, I let all of my outfits get covered in mud for the sake of adventure (and later, the nicest woman would take all of those muddy clothes and wash them in her machine at home so I wouldn’t have to hand-wash them in my bathtub at my hotel). We took pictures, gave hugs, laughed until our stomachs hurt, and made friends. By the end of it a girl called Laura came to join us. She had driven 3 hours to be there and just caught us at the end. I was covered in mud from head to toe, literally. She asked if she could help model, and within seconds was rolling in a mud puddle. We embraced in a hug and afterwards, the group of us went out to eat lunch like we’d been old friends for as long as we could remember.
Fast forward to October. My life was changed forever. I hosted my first convention. Trying to use words to describe it would be too time consuming, so I’ll say this: I was supported in ways I never thought I would be. I was challenged in ways I never imagined. I was changed in ways I did not expect. And every single part of it was a dream come true.
November. Back to India. “Right back where we started from”. And it was a full circle. After over two years of fundraising and jumping through hurdles, I opened The Light Space, photography school for survivors of human trafficking and abuse with my partners Laura Price of Blossomy and Urmi Basu of New Light Kolkata. The inauguration started as I spoke to the students. They wanted to learn. They wanted a different life. They saw their future, the possibility of it all. And I knew, beyond a doubt, that the work had been worth it. My dear friend Amy Parrish came with me to dedicate 4 months of her time to educating the students. Cameras and lenses and computers were all donated and our little school grew wings.
There were so many moments this year that impacted me. Meeting 100 creatives in London. Speaking at different venues. Swimming at sunrise in France. Vacationing in Spain. Quiet mornings writing my novel. Portfolio reviews. Building a set. Making videos. A photo shoot at the ancient temples in Cambodia. Bathing with elephants in Thailand. Watching my family grieve as my aunt passed away. My husband’s dedication to our fulfillment. My sister moving to be closer to me.
And so I ask you…
What moments impacted you the most from 2015?
When you share your most impactful moments from 2015 in the comments below, you will be automatically entered to win a giveaway of this dress that you see in the cloud/space image!
I am weirdly sentimental toward this dress, and it is today’s GIVEAWAY! I got it a couple of years ago and wore it to events, notably the Project Imagination red carpet. I then proceeded to abuse it beyond reason in a multitude of different photo shoots, including some of my personal favorite images. It is time to send it off to a new home though, tattered and worn as it may be. Leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
Love & Peace!
Bridget - I went to Paris. I’d never been overseas before, because of disability and poverty. It was the happiest I’d been in years. Ever since I came home, I’ve cooked the meals I ate there, and I’m getting quite good. This Christmas, I decorated my tree with French chocolates, croissants and macarons I made out of salt dough, and topped it with an Eiffel Tower.
brookeshaden - Aw Bridget that is so awesome. Paris is a truly magical place. You’ll have to send me a recipe!
eva - His name is Dylan, he’s my little stargazer. I was told I would not be able to have children by two doctors. But what do doctor know 😉 a lot admittingly but this time they were wrong. He was born on the 5th of November better believe I’ll remember. After 15 hours of brutal labor he was born via emergency c-section. My doctor also removed a large cyst and two endometriosis. They were what was preventing me from having children. I have no idea why he made it. Maybe it was the monks blessing me in Cambodia. All the same he’s my moment. And as he lays on my lap and I type this, I know he will be my moment for the rest of my life.
eva - PS if I win this dress I will take a portrait with him and I. I already have it sketched out.
brookeshaden - Oh Eva that is so amazing and wonderful!! I am so happy for you and little Dylan!!
eva - Thank you. I can’t stop staring at him. Even when I’m so tired, he laughs in his sleep and I don’t want to miss it.
Junior Ayub - Unfortunately my dear Father passed away just a couple of months ago in October which as you can imagine was quite a difficult time for my whole family, anyway the one thing me & my 2 older brothers decided on doing before the funeral was, we as brothers together washed and prepared our father’s body in to be presented for the funeral
as much as i did not want to do it at the time, I’m really glad that it was his 3 sons that pulled together and were the ones who prepared him for his funeral, as sad and morbid as this story may be, It was definitely the most fulfilling thing I did in 2015
Much love Brooke from across the pond in the UK
Love your work
Peace & Love
brookeshaden - Junior, that is so touching and I am incredibly sorry that you are grieving from a loss. It is really a testament to who you are that you could do such a difficult thing and see the beauty in it. Thank you for sharing, I am uplifted today.
Marnie Prokator - The most impactful moment of 2015 occurred for me on the top of a mountain in North Carolina in October. Standing on the balcony and watching the 5 day fog lift. All the sudden, but as if I had known it all along, I realized I could stop looking. I have all I need right now. Nothing is missing from my experience. Working on how to recreate that moment in a photograph but that’s a whole new story.
brookeshaden - I’m right there with you. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a long time when I saw that fog lift. The view was vast and everlasting. The rays of the sun shot through just perfectly. It really is indescribable.
Nikki Mulkern - Wow, I loved reading this post, you have had an incredible year filled with amazing moments!
2015 was a tough year for me, so much happened but a lot of it wasn’t the best, but beautiful outcomes came from it. The year started off not so good, my Dad found out he had kidney cancer and after losing my Mom 4 years earlier, I didn’t handle it well, surgeries were postponed, but Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I sat and waited for many hours while my Dad had his kidney removed, seeing him afterwards in so much pain was hard, but I knew that everything was going to be ok. He ended up walking 2 hours after is surgery and is doing amazing now, and best of all cancer free!! That was my most memorable moment of the year.
I had many other amazing moments, meeting and working with all the fundraising mini session families, I see them every year and love to see their family grow bigger, and their kids older. I made more time for me this year and spent time with friends having girl nights, going to movies something I haven’t done in years and it was amazing. Making the decision to do fine art full time, was another one of those perfect moments, having the support of my husband, friends and clients made that moment even better. Oh and I just thought of another thing, I finally got my full license, sounds strange but I never wanted my license, I have been in a lot of car accidents so I was terrified of driving, but I promised my Mom before she passed away that I would get it and in May of this year I kept that promise ( it takes around 4 years to get your license in Canada) I am not going to lie, I was extremely proud of myself and man did I cry,lol.
That is just a little bit of my most memorable moments.
Thank you so much for doing this!! <3
brookeshaden - Oh Nikki I am so glad to hear your dad is doing well! What a scare and I’m really sorry you had to go through that. Congrats on getting your license!! That is super amazing and it proves that you really can do anything that you feel is important. I love that, so uplifting!
Florence Griffith - One day a woman came up to me…I didnt like really know her..but we had met and chatted in the past…and she said to me…rememeber when you told me such and and such…wel I did remember and it was months ago…she saidhow much of a help I ws and it made a major diference in her life..my point is that you make a diference…you effect people daily without even realizing it…we are all relevant
Ive your life you touch someone every day
Andreea Sofrone - I started 2015 full of hopes and dreams.I was very optimistic after I shared my passion and my time to a very nice project for helping children with disabfilities.I’ve drawn seven portraits and I donated all the money to an organisation, Bethany, which helps them. 🙂 In march was the first time when I met some of my good friends,at an ONG, Asociatia Culturala Moldavia,created especially for the people of all ages who love art and live with art.I participated at many, many projects, Michael Jackson Tribute,Aerodrive show, Festudis,Gfest, Rock’n’Iasi.I had great moments, I did facepainti.ng and bodypainting for children, I drew wawlls and I met amazings artists this year!I remember one of my favourites activities, I painted Nefertiti’s portrait on a wall and I liked it so much, was the first time when I did it.There was a project organised by National Paints Romania,Ancient Egypt Secrets. I love your pieces of art,you inspire me! 🙂
jennifer arnold - My most fulfilling moment of 2015 would have to have been Christmas this year. We don’t have very much money but were able to make it an awesome day for our children. A couple of the gifts were 2nd hand, but seeing my children’s faces light up was priceless
Jenny - My mom has been really sick, with a host of challenges that make it almost impossible to interact with the world on a daily basis. I realized she could use some real support, so I made the scary decision to put my own dreams and pursuits on hold to move home for three months and help her (I quit my desk job to pursue acting in 2014). While there, I unexpectedly found so many beautiful gifts. In this land I was so desperate to leave once upon a time, I unexpectedly found a host of spiritual and emotional renewal that I really needed; time to pursue and obtain a job that now amazingly allows me the incredibly needed flexibility to continue pursuing my dreams from anywhere I need to be while taking away some of the intense financial strain of freelance artistry; a beautiful deepening of friendship and love with my parents; and even an out-of-the-blue great guy to date. This year I have learned that following my heart, following good, leads to an abundance of good in return.
rina - WHAT MOMENTS IMPACTED YOU THE MOST FROM 2015?
The moment that impacted the moste for me is the moment my husband told me he wanted a devorce…….
It devistated me at first, drowning in my sorrow.
But then I picked myself up and foccesed on the positive things it will bring me.
It made me realise I am stronger than I ever imagent. That I am my one boss and my happines is not defined by somebody els.
2016 will be my year full of personal goals and determination to live my life to the fullest togetter with my beautyfull son who I love more than antything.
Kimberli pierantoni - I would say 2015 was full of epic adventures & success for me. I finally got my associates & it was a struggle for me to get. I moved in with my boyfriend & discovered that beautiful love is not a fantasy. He has helped me reach for my dreams, take on life & except all great challenges that I have succeeded in. On top of all that I have done more creative shoots this year. For one of the shoots I wore a wedding dress & did fun poses in a lake. I did an ellegant boudoir shoot & that was different for me. I’ve enjoyed every experience 2015 brought to me & look forward to what 2016 has in store.
Joslyn Miller - So much has impacted my life in this year- and I am so proud to say that most of it was growth. I picked up my camera, for the first time, fresh into the year. I took images I thought were meaningless and wondered why in the worldI’d wanted it in the first place, and wondered why I wasn’t making the art I knew I could- and then I did just that, and began to create from the depths of my imagination, and it is the one place I am entirely physically comfortable. My anxieties melt away, I’m in control. As well as discovering myself via my art (Which has been the most influential point, this year…and I’m so grateful,) I’d say it was also a year of loss and gain- gently removing yourself from toxic situations and people to be able to spread your roots out further. I would be very unhappy, had I weakly crawled back into the lives of which I was not meant to live around, and surely my creative garden would be wilted and dead. I’ve made new friends, I’ve learned from old ones..I’ve grown stronger with those around me, and hope to continue down a positive, beautiful way of life. And lastly, the realization that I mustn’t live for others- but for myself, I must create for my self, and while I will not live selfishly, I will start living for me- and I think that is a beautiful lesson to learn- especially early on in life. I’m so grateful to 2015, and hope all of our new years will be even brighter! I love how everyone is sharing- and it definitely feels like a community that’s just talking, not entering a contest. Just all trying to spread our positivity and love to each other, and that’s just as inspiring as this blog. Thank you, Brooke, for being a platform on which a community can grow and lift one another up- you’ve been an influential part of all of our lives, I’m sure, as well as many others.
Emma - The biggest impacts I had was an inquest into a close family members death that I had to do all the notes & questions to get the verdict we wanted and felt was right. But I’m not legally trained so had to learn as I went along. Thankfully we got the verdict we wanted. Then my grandma died and was a hoarder. I never thought we’d be able to clear her house when you couldn’t even get into the rooms. But we did. So both big impacts to my life but both have been partially sorted.
Kirsty Bennett - Hi Brooke, I have two very different fulfillment’s from 2015. The first: after my partner was hit by a car and broke his back, leaving him disabled, we lost our home and were sleeping in a tent for over 6 months. On January the 31st we finally got our keys to our new home, this meant we were no longer homeless and were able to restart our lives together, this is a memory i will never forget. it felt fantastic to have a home again.
The second is starting on the neonatal intensive care unit and being able to exubate a baby, taking him off a ventilator and putting him on CPAP oxygen instead. Explaining the progess to the parents was so rewarding!
have a good new year!
Thomas Miles - My favourite memory from this year was getting up at sunrise by myself, in my pyjamas, and doing a photoshoot in a local field. I was so cold, and scared of people walking past me, as one confused dog walker did. I was shattered and almost missed the sunrising, but I knew that it would be something I’d cherish! The photo had clouds floating off and to me, felt light my imagination was being lifted off! It helped me to get through an almost depressive part of my life! And I began to find happiness again. I hope to do the same this year by going into more fashion oriented photography and dedicate myself to it! Ps I love this dress and would love to use it in my photography 🙂
Margherita Introna - What an inspiring read Brooke! You have truly lived life to its fullest <3
What impacted me the most in 2015? I resigned.
I resigned from the position I loved and have held for over 12 years.
I have been permanently employed since I was 17 years old and this was my third place of employment, but this is the first time I have resigned from a position without another permanent position to move into.
So why such drastic measures? Over the last two years my life has been filled with so much drastic change. Change first brought by the devastating and shocking passing of my father on 14 February 2013. Then the heart-breaking and gut-wrenching news just a mere 6 months later that my brother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and passed away on 29 August 2013. Life will never be the same. I have changed homes, changed routines, changed focus… but despite all these changes, my job was a constant anchor – until on 6 February 2015 at 15:10, when the powers that be ripped the carpet out from under me without warning and enforced some changes to my environment. Sure, in the bigger scheme of things, these could probably be considered as mere minor changes. But they were the changes that left me in an uninspired environment. And to me, being inspired was everything.
So now what? Well, sometimes one just needs to be pushed into a different direction and forced to follow your dreams! This is where all the excitement begins… Over the past few months I have been working my butt off – planning, painting and preparing. My new home studio and office is almost ready and soon I will be following my heart and doing what I love most… focussing full time on my fine art work and expanding into woman’s portraiture.
The full blog: http://www.margheritaintrona.com/#!New-season-new-dreams/c20iz/55e618930cf24e84f75e995b
Love & Light
Maddi - By far, the most fulfilling moment of this past year was when I was able to photograph and share the photograph of the kids i played with in the poorest villages of Nepal. Hugging those kids and connecting with them through photography was the most amazing feeling.
Dominique - What impacted me most last year was enrolling my daughter Caoimhe in school. I had been homeschooling her when she suddenly expressed a desire to see what public school was like. Now that she’s in school all day, it has allowed me for the first time to pursue photography seriously as a career rather than as just a hobby. 2016 is my year; I am nervous but ready!
Monique - I had a lot of personal pain this year including having a 5th pregnancy loss- a little boy we named Ryder. It’s hard to think of something more impacting than that. Even if it wasn’t a positive impact it changed me and my work for the better I believe. Everything I do now I do as a different kind of soul now, a much older worn soul but remaining creative nonetheless. ❤
Lis Nathaly - My most fulfilling thing this year is that I applied to an art college and after a very tough selection procedure got it with super high marks. The second fulfilling thing is that I’m still there 5 months later with no bad marks and still breathing and feeling mostly happy and positive. My history of depression, fear of school and anxiety have made going back to school such a frightening experience and even though school gives me more work than healthy I’m so glad I’m finally working for what I love.
Thank you Brooke for all of your motivation. Your Promoting Passion vids have given me hope more than once.
Nicole - I think my stand out moment this year was FINALLY letting go and putting my art out there. I went to college to study fine arts years ago, but I came out of the experience kind of lost, and I didn’t know what direction to take (much less run a business). I started a family photography business, but it just wasn’t the answer to that longing I kept feeling. Long story short, I feel like everything has led me to this pivotal year, and I absolutely am chomping at the bit to see what 2016 has in store 🙂
robin spalding - after three years of trying to concieve i found out in march that i was pregnant. where i have always been an anxious person from the moment i knew i found myself strangely calm, peaceful and obviously more excited then i could ever describe. i gave birth in november to my beautiful baby boy and i dont think i could ever describe truly how my life has changed. i live for him and his happiness and wellbeing. i find myself more strong then i ever could imagine i could be…my husband had to deploy and missed the birth and the first siz months of our sons new life but i have been with the help of friends and family making it through and being the best mom i can be for him. i find myself more grateful for everything now, waking up each morning and looking into his sweet face is a gift. seeing him smile is all i could ever want. the impact of him in my life is truly indescripable.
also this year i met many photographers here and there and it is soo amazing to be with other creatives! i love it and plan to meet more and more. i got to speak at a high school photo class and shared with them how i may lack confidence but i continue to shoot and follow my dream even thru a fear of failing(thabk u for that brooke u taught me that)
Nicky Jones - That moment when I finally began questioning my gender. At the moment I wasn’t so much scared or confused , I just sort of accepted it. I told my myself “so this is finally happening eh?”.
Sydney Paige Richardson - I had a dream back in 2009 and wrote it down. It turned into a novel.
I wanted to create photographs for years to go with it, but I was afraid.
This year, due to amazing friends (old and new) I was able to do it. It was scary. But it was magical.
I got my agent for my novel this year in November. It was another scary process.
Which leads me to what impacted me the most this year…I got over my fears. I moved past them and grew from them. And that is something I will never forget.
Michael Sanders - I had this dream of making a music video. After months of thinking about it, I decided to produce a script. I cast it, Filmed it and had it produced. It is titled “I Choose Life”. It has been selected to show at Inspired Faith Film Festival in Florida. From dream to reality. My most memorial moment of 2015.
Nena - The most precious moment was in July, when I got my first grandchild to my arms. Words cannot describe…but since then I have taken many photos of him and his parents, and more are expected next year.
Thank You for the opportunity to win this beautiful dress, Brooke!
Minnie - This is one is a very hard question but at the same time it made me realize how much I’ve grown. 2015 was a year of challenges in every single way. I would say that the moment that impacted me the most was when I joined the Air Force. I suffer from social anxiety and English is not my firt language, and living in an English speaking country having to learn to do all the adult things I never had the courage to do in my hometown was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The Air Force was NEVER part of the plan, and when I considered it I was so scared but I did all the process completely on my own. That made me see how much I’m coming out of my comfort zone and how much I’ve changed. I’m finally starting to live.
Haley Gallagher - My moment was deciding to have Botox for my migraines. I am very afraid of needles and no other medicine was working so I gave in and decided to be brave. Now every 3 months I have 31 shots in my head. I went from no needles to 31 of them.
Sabrina M - Hi Brooke,
2015 was a strange year for me,filled with some very highs and very lows. Let’s start with the lows we had to say goodbye to our family dog. She was only 12 but she had dementia and got aggressive towards us. That was the lowest point of 2015. It was only three weeks ago. My illness got a bit worse so that has a great impact on my life but not only my life it affects the whole family. But on a positive note because of the illness I was obliged to chance my life around and that was a good thing. A very good thing. I had my first exhibition with my classmates. The positive vibes I got there gave me the strength to go on so I started my own business. Great plunge in the scary unknown. Made some great new friends along the way. But the greatest fulfilment is helping others. With whatever problem they have I will do my best to help them and that is the most beautiful thing. Not necessarily for me, myself but for them. Knowing they have someone they can rely on is so helpful for them. It’s an easy thing to do and we all should do a lot more of it.
With a smile and lots of love,
Sabrina x x x
Camila - Moments that impacted me the most this year include: the time I spent in Paris discovering how much I love art and the time I spent in Colombia discovering how much I love education.
Tiina - Hi Brooke,
year 2015 was big for me, i recovered from being sick quite long and i was able to go back to work and started a new job.
Also i finally started to do photography more, instead of talking about doing it for over 15 years! I also applied to school which was great because i was scared to do that for that 15years too, i didn’t get in but i was so happy that i even tried.
So basically i think i grew up a little this year, started to take action and my own responsibility to do stuff and learned truly that it takes courage but it’s worth it!
Also in year 2015 i had lovely time and travels with my friends and family. My youngest son started school which was big thing and we made more effort to be together as a family and doing things more together and not being all the time doing stuff alone at home.
It has been good year 🙂
Love and hugs
Marlena - I guess 2015 wasn’t one of my happiest years, but really impactful. My grandpa died in spring. He was the very first important person in my life, who left us and for the first time I tumbled in that nothingness of mourning. Watching my grandma saying goodbye for the last time, was really heartbreaking and first I thought I would never recover.
But I decided to keep him alive in another way. He loved poems and folksongs. A few weeks before he died, he told me some poems of his childhood and I wanted to make a present for him, to light up the dullness of his everyday life. I wanted to arrange a book of poems, songs, fairy tales and myths and combine it with my photography. But he passed away way too quickly. So the moment I saw him dead, I promised him to still follow this project up, to keep him in my memory this way.
Thanks to university I didn’t had much time until now, so I’m statisfied with collecting stories of all kind and sketching my first ideas. I hope to realize these ideas soon and I am so excited to see this book in my grandmas hands some day.
Thank you for all your encouraging words, Brooke and your wonderful work! Have a happy New Year!
Asia Robbins - 2015 was a year that defeated me. I was working at a dead end job for an employer who broke my every little bit of self esteem.
2015 was the year that I let someone else decide my self-worth. I let myself be riddiculed everyday.
2015 was that that I let someone else tell me that my mind, body and soul is sick ans broken and that I needed help. I was being poisoned every day, I let her tell me I am not good enough, I am not strong enough, I am not smart enough. I was given an ultimatum: see a mental health doctor or I would be fired. It terrifies me. That job was the only thing I had for me to save money for my photography.
2015 was the year I decided I was going to kill myself. I woke in self loathing everyday. My body would arive into the room before my mind. I felt like a corpse, hallowed out by every negative thought that was put into my head. They burried themselves deep inside me, and even though I knew better (or hoped I did) I let her words dig tunnels into my brain, like maggots, destroying me from the inside. And all the while I am screaming in my head to make it stop, make the pain go away. Wake up.
2015 was the year I put my camera down. I stopped eating or even going out of the house. I held onto my cat (Django) and would cry for hours, unable to move.
In November of 2015 I woke up look in the mirror and did not know who I was looking at. I stared at myself for the longest I had In over a year. My eyes sunk in, my face pale and color less. This girl was not me, she was a product of my enemy. She was self loathing. She look at me and told me to go back to bed and never wake up, whats the point anyway. I refused to listen to this pale faced girl staring back at me.
I drove to work that day knowing I would quit. The pale faced girl screaming, crying at me in the mirror telling me to go home and go to sleep. Telling me to drive my car off the bridge. Telling me its not worth it.
I quit my job that day. We turned our 30 day notice into the apparment manager and we were gone in 20.
2015 was the year I decided I would never let anyone tell me what I can and cannot do. I am strong enough; I am good enough.
I will start the new year in WA. I don’t know anyone, I have no money for my photography. But what I do have is an amazimg support system, 2 very handsome cats who let my hold them to cry, and I am on the start of getting myself back.
2015 was the year I became stronger than ever.
Thank you for letting
Gini - My most fulfilling experience this year has to be the Angel Hands Foundation Christmas Event that I did. I photographed ~75 families all that had a child that overwhelmed me with the battles they fought and the immense love and joy they gave. I am in awe of these special needs children. Some had congenital heart problems, some had so many I couldn’t comprehend them, and some had overcome the many obstacles they’d been given. Every single one poured joy and love into my life and I will never forget it. I can’t wait until next year’s event!!!!
Stephanie - A moment of 2015 that has impacted me would be having to make decisions about my future even though sitting here now, I still have no idea what I really want to do. Having made the decision to move away from home, I feel like being away from the comforts of home will push me to do new things. I have also learned how friendships sometimes fall apart, they come and go and it might not necessarily be your fault; it just happens at times.
Paulo Carvalho - I had some memorable moments this year. In fact, the year of 2015 was memorable. But there was, no doubt, 2 moments that I would say it touched me in a magical way. And both of them have to do with human interaction. My professional work is to communicate and promote scientific and technological culture in the society, with special emphasis on the younger people. One day I had to work with a group of children with special needs of education and I feared not being able to communicate with them. But the truth is that everything with them after all seemed easy and magical. As the course of moment, I lost that fear. Suddenly, I noticed Barbara, a 12-year-old girl with mental paralysis, which had a hard time handling the scientific experience, in this case, interacted with robots. I sat beside her and helped her. She could barely speak too! Articulate words, was very difficult. But she was smart and knew what she had to do. She answered me through with the movement of the head, saying yes, no, or pointing with the fingers, and especially, with the sweet look she had. I will never forget. When I found myself, I was living in a magical world, her world. I do not know how to explain or put into words what I felt on living in their world, but I assure you it was something very , very special. About the second moment that marked me, I will not dwell too much because you already know that moment was my journey to London and have had the opportunity to meet you in person. Happiness is in the simplest gestures, as our embrace. Love this pictures! XOXO
sean - Brooke,
I’ve been attending trade shows of and on in Las Vegas for 20 yrs. This is the first year, I took a week off of work after the conference and stayed out west. I rented a car and threw in a tent and off I went. I saw Best Friends animal sanctuary, Zion Nat’l park, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. The people I met while I was travelling were awesome. It is a trip I will definately be making again.
Erin Graboski - Moments that impacted me the most this year was discovering different ways I have grown as an artist. One of the biggest ones was having my first opportunity to work with models in a fashion shoot I collaborated on. Working with others in my images is something I have always been interested in but have always been a little intimidated by. After the whole experience, it just made me so much more confident about working with others in my art. I’m excited to pursue it further this upcoming year. <3
Peace & Love.
Andrea Z. D. - Definitely the most impactful moments in my life was to leave everything behind in my home country in Europe and move to the USA to follow my dreams as a photographer. I sold everything and I left my studio, friends and family there too. I am starting everything over from scratch. It is the most painful, frightening, risky, beautiful and amazing journey I’ve ever entered.
Lauren White - In 2015 I went to Scotland. A holiday might seem a pretty basic impact but it by far became one of the largest life altering moments in my life. I always thought I had a rather large and close family, but realised the true greatness of it when I spent 5 weeks with family members I hadn’t met yet. My mother’s side really helped me to come into my own this year, not only as a person but as a creative individual as well. They assisted in helping me get around to iconic landmarks to shoot a self portrait series which reflected my spiritual connection to the country my family left behind when they moved to the other side of the world, and the country I’d never truly known myself, only through old photo albums and picture books. 2015 in Scotland, I got to experience my Grandmother going back home, and walking down her old main street one last time. I got to experience Loch Ness and it’s myths – and most importantly I got to experience 38 memorable laughs and moments with my family who I hope to see again very soon xx
Mary Robinson - Hi Brooke! I absolutely have adored this dress for a long time!
I hope it doesn’t sound silly, but the Promoting Passion Convention impacted me the most. I had never been surrounded by so many artists before and people that just got me. My family and friends don’t understand at all and it was just nice to be around people who did. It was one of the most amazing weekends I have had this year. It was so inspirational to listen to the speakers tell their stories and see people who have been in your shoes. I really needed that. I felt like giving up on a lot of things this year not just photography and something just clicked that weekend and made me see that I shouldn’t give up. <3's & hugs!
Alexander DiMauro - The moments that impact me the most are pretty much every time I wake up and see my kids. They are my biggest inspiration. This may sound silly, but I always remember back to a Simpsons episode that showed that Homer had a dream of working at a bowling alley, but then baby Maggie was born and he couldn’t make enough money. So, he had to give up that dream and work for the nuclear power plant, and he kept his motivation going by posting photos of Maggie on the wall that partially covered up a sign so the remaining letters read “Do it for her”. Every day, even against the biggest challenges, even though I’m not happy in my day job, I always “do it for them” while secretly hoping I can break away from the day job some day and make enough money in my dream job.
Audrey Donati - One special moment that impacted my life in 2015 was when my aunt and Godmother was sewing my wedding dress. The care and love she put in every handstitched detail was overwhelming. Her hardworked hands guided the pink bridal satin and pearl details in a way that appeared effortless. Aunties are the best.
Jen Kiaba - I think the thing that impacted me the most this year was my mother’s passing. It taught me a lot about letting go, about forgiveness, and about living a life that you can look back on with satisfaction. It has also taught me (and is still teaching me) about the grieving process and what you see in yourself through the grief.
Adiez - My most impactful moment of 2015 was the hour after i quit my job to become a full time photographer. All panic an random thoughts…i calm myself down and start repeating to myself that i was goimg to make it. A few months later i am working millions of hours a week in my photography. Never been happier 🙂
Katy Memon - There have been so many things that have stood out to me this year. Meeting you again Brooke and Kelly in London, spending time with everyone that evening and making new friends. Seeing Kirsty Mitchell’s incredible exhibition in London and helping her kickstart her Wonderland Book which I now have in my procession. Wandering through the jaw dropping Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V & A Museum and being totally inspired and amazed by his work and talent. My son starting school in September, the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for both of us. Learning to pace myself and my Fibromyalgia. Learning to ski over Christmas in Austria with my family a massive achievement for me to end the year on! xxxxxxxx
Emily Jackson - I lost my love for photography for a long while last year and so I pushed myself into trying to do 365 which didn’t last long.
I went to America during the summer to visit my boyfriend and i found my love for photography, not in all its amazing glory, but it did come back a little at a time when i was there.
Then disappeared as soon as i got home and i didn’t look or touch my camera for a couple of months but thankfully it then reappeared in full force when i got my film camera fixed.
But not having any motivation for such a long period of time no matter how much i wanted to go out really drained me.
Joshua Pheneger - The most fulfilling moment of 2015 would have to be starting a portrait photography business with my wife. I have dreamed of doing this for quite some time and now it’s a reality. I couldn’t be happier.
Tim Stephens - I am so fortunate that my 2015 has been absolutely littered with impactful moments, large and small. One of the best years of my life so far, I kid you not. Boone, Cumberland, and Frederick will always be special to me for the friendships forged there in 2015. Add in all of my awesome family members, my amazing wife Debbie, my loud and loyal dog Sully, and all the people who have taught, guided, and inspired me with their ideas, attitudes, knowledge and talent (you are many!) and I cannot imagine wanting anything more in 2016. (OK, except, perhaps, for an extra hour of sleep each night.)
Just a very few quick highlights related directly or indirectly to my passion and art: One of my images was “instant-juried” into a show by the gallery owner; someone asked me to take their “author’s photo” for their book jacket and THEN insisted on paying me too! (Don’t that beat all?!); I got permission to quit my day job from our planner and my wife (Winnie-the Pooh would tell you this is A Very Big Deal! And I am so grateful to Debbie who holds veto power over everything!); and I completed my first composites – my original goal when I bought my camera two years ago. (And am far happier than I expected to be with them!)
Interestingly, none of MY many moments really has anything to do with MY efforts to achieve something, except in the sense that I allowed myself to be open to everything life presented to me. But none of it would have happened except for the amazing people who have been (or have become) a part of my life.
Alice - Its so nice of you to do a giveaway! Anyway the most memorable experience of my year was probably meeting someone who inspired me in every way imaginable and continues to even when he is not here.
Lily - Transitioning into my senior year of high school this past year has created a furry of opportunity, adventure, and excitement. This year I had courage to rough it out and begin charging for my photography. I was blessed enough to second shoot for a wedding three times, and model for a magazine cover, cd cover, and various photographers during various occasions. I am overwhelmed by the amount of encouragement and connections I have made in 2015. I would have never thought I could have come this far. Thank you Brooke for pouring whimsical creativity into my life through your images, your concepts never cease to amaze me. Stoked to see where 2016 takes me!!
Grace Schattschneider - My most fulfilling experience this year was choosing to go to university after a year off. After going through years of horrendous bullying I decided to take a break because of the anxiety and depression the bullying caused. I can happily say that going to back to school is the best thing this year. I am finding my path with Anthropology and I hope to work photography into it. I still struggle with the anxiety and depression but I believe that my past has made me stronger and made me push harder to follow my passions and dreams.
This photo “Reborn” I created to show me beginning again in life.
maajiedah - Funny enough, my moment happened only a couple of weeks ago, and it is fresh as can be. I finally accepted, confronted, and shared an experience (of the darker kind), that had occurred throughout all of my childhood, and then took its peak when i was 13. For about a week plus, i spent my days consumed by darkness,forced to treat wounds that have been freshly rippled open. But this moment has impacted me so greatly because for the first time in my life, i could see my own strength and my own courage. And now, i know that this heart, though seemingly fragile, can hold much more than what I have ever thought.
Another moment happened for me on boxing day. I’d gone waterskiing with my family, as we do annually, and a beautiful bird had flown into the lines that hold the skiis, and immediately dropped to the ground, lifeless. I’d ran over to it, instinctively wrapping my camera around my neck. As i approached it, i let my fingers linger in its feathers and found myself consumed my some sense of sadness. For all i wanted to do was love the lifeless, beautiful creature, but i was too late. And i wondered why my first thought has been topick up my camera. And i battled with that question for a while, wondering if wanting to photograph it was the honoring or desecration of it. So, instead, i snapped a little shot of my fingers in its feathers; no proof of death whatsoever. And i hoped it would live on. I’m not sure why this moment had meant so much to me. And perhaps, as Rilke says, i will one day live into the answers of all these questions i am consumed by. But, i know for sure, that the beautiful dead bird has taught me life.
Darling Brooke, thank you for this beautiful, safe platform you continually create.
Pam - A big moment for me was seeing the grand Canyon for the first time. A huge part of me wanted to craft something, but I was there with my family, so I just did landscapes, which was my first love in photography. It was a moment where I had to say okay to letting go of my dream for a time. And everything is going to be okay. I am not my dream. I am not a failure if I don’t live my dream. I am not less of a person for putting others ahead of myself. My dream is still there, just on hold, and that’s okay! 🙂
Fanny Pacary - What impacted me the most?
I guess it was my first trip to Tokyo with my husband. We have fell in love with this town, it’s now what we call our home. Everything was just perfect for us, the good as the bad aspects of the town. Our hearts had bleed when we had to leave and we are counting days until we have the chance to go back home.
Carrie - This year has been tough. My parents had been living with me, my husband and 4 kids in a tiny house. My dad had had a stroke and so we moved them in with us. I am a nurse and my husband is a physical therapist assistant so we had our own little rehab going. They’ve been here for 2, almost 3 years but last month decided that they were ready to buy a home on their own. Initially, I was excited for them and happy to have more space back but…the moment it came time for them to leave, I was crippled by sadness. I couldn’t even walk them out. I stood dumbly on my back porch and listened as the moving truck and their car pulled away. I strained to hear the human of those engines until it was no longer possible to hear. Silly things is, they are only 5-10 minutes away. It made me question how I will ever thrive in a world without them. I too often take for granted those around me and when I am reminded that I won’t always have these people here with me, it is like a burn, sharp and breathtaking. My last grandparent passed away this past September and I remember a time when having lost all of my grandparents unfathomable. I aim to remind myself daily to say or do 1 thing I would be happy to have done if I don’t see that person again because you never do know.
Mystry - My most fulfilling moment in 2015 was to see my brother, in love & blissfully happy, get married. (:
Amanda Meyer - Hello everyone! The most impactful moments of my 2015 would have to be moving into my first apartment with my boyfriend Calvin and adopting a beautiful kitten we named Lily! Getting promoted to a new position at my job and then stepping down..long story short I could not work with some of the people in my new position and it created overwhelming stress… Realizing that I need to take care of myself and that I do not need to live a cookie cutter style life and that I can do whatever i put my mind to as long as I try. Attending Brookes Promoting Passion convention…all I have is gratitude, words can not describe what a wonderful experience it was ! And lastly..deciding late in the year that I am going to turn my passion into my business..somehow! Thanks for everything XOX Amanda
FIT BMX - Wow you make my year seem boring! LOL But you have had one of the most exiting years ever, and I thank you so much for sharing it!
I guess the thing that impacted me the most this years is that I have decided that I want to make a big change….. I’m not even sure what that change is, but I have decided I want to move to France in the future. I know that is a little bit of a dumb thing, but it feels right some how. 🙂