3 Days of Giving: Day 3

3 Days of Giving: Day 3

This image has been one of my best selling prints and most “iconic” image that I’ve ever created. Somehow, it crept into being and stayed around, remaining a symbol to me and to many others of the standard of my work. And it has been a gift, truly, to create an image that I loved and was noticed by others. Yet in everything we do, create, and become, there is a time to move on. Next year I’ll be producing work that is slightly different, much more meaningful to me, and more detailed. I love this work. I love the work that I create because it is me – it is where my mind was wandering in a particular corner of my little universe. I also love to move on – to metaphorically shatter that place and build something new from the pieces. I hope that you’ll be on that journey with me.

So, to break from the past and pay it forward, I am offering this dress as today’s giveaway. It is my favorite dress. I bought it in 2010 at a sale outside of a vintage store. It was crumpled up in a box that had a big $5 sign on it. And when I saw it, I knew I would be inspired for years to come. I have been, and still am, but feel changes brewing inside. My heart tells me it is the right time to let it go.

This has been my biggest lesson of 2015:

When we hold on to what makes us feel safe, we lose our greatest opportunities.
When our imaginations become reality, it is time to explore another corner of the mind.
When we limit ourselves by what we know is well liked, or what who we think we are, we may never find our greatest potential. 

What has been your biggest lesson of 2015?

Share in the comments for a chance to win this dress and my heartfelt thanks. My love, gratitude, and deepest adoration go out to you this year and as we enter a new chapter. Thank you for being you.

Peace and joy,

PS: Here are some other uses of this dress!

199 thoughts on “3 Days of Giving: Day 3

  1. My biggest lesson of 2015, one that you teached me a few weeks ago: Making images for myself, not for the ones out there, thinking if what I make is good enough.
    “The question will not be if it is good enough, but instead, is it enough – for me.”
    Thank you for teaching me that! <3
    And a happy new year!

  2. The biggest lesson I learned in 2015 is that it feels good to help friends but not at the cost of one’s health and mental sanity. Also, that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s not okay to beat ourselves up over it.

  3. That doing less does not make the year ‘less’…but more. (I tend to focus on bigger, better, stronger, faster..and this year I took on less work and less ‘more’ and had a very lovely year:-)

  4. I think my biggest lesson has been, learning to let go…come to think of it, I’m still struggling with that one.

    1. I was scanning these comments when yours jumped out at me, Sandra. No doubt because the Youtube playing in my other Window was “Let Go” by Nora Jane Struthers, an artist I met by chance who has had a huge impact on my art this year. No idea what kind of music you like but I’ll take a hint from the coincidence and share the link here. Maybe you’ll like it too! 🙂

      I’m learnin’ to Let Go/
      I’m learnin’ to Let Go/
      Despite my disposition, I’ve made my decision/
      I’m learnin’ to Let Go…


      The official music video is totally amazing: https://youtu.be/7A76S_kcrgo

  5. My greatest lesson was that no matter how many transits you make or houses you build, home will always be the place where you have spent your childhood. You can never take out the place which gave you birth and brought you up from you 🙂

  6. My biggest lesson in 2015: I am responsible for my life, my luck, my happiness, just me and no one else, I have the key for that in my hands. So stand up, go on and do the best of it

  7. Ma leçon de 2015, est que j’ai appris à m’écouter, çà peut faire sourire certaines personnes parce qu’il paraît naturel de s’écouter et de se faire confiance, mais ce n’était pas le cas pour moi jusqu’à maintenant.
    J’ai beaucoup suivi vos photos et aussi vos messages de chaque photo. Je ne parle pas très bien anglais , et google traduit souvent très très mal, mais je saisis le sens de votre pensée.
    Que l’on aime ou pas votre travail, personnellement je l’adore, vous inspirez une grande source de liberté et d’accomplissement et réellement bravo et merci pour tout ceci.
    Meilleurs voeux pour 2016 Brooke
    Amicalement, Sylvie

  8. I have learned that I need to be more honest with myself, more true to myself. Do what I love and not just what pays the bills. Make the two come together.

  9. Business is important but the art has to come first, or I end up stalling and doing nothing. I also need to take charge of my anxiety better and take my time during shoots. 🙂 Happy New Year!

  10. My biggest lesson of 2015 is to follow my heart and follow my dream, which is wake up every morning and do what makes me happy and fulfilled (photography of course ) 🙂

  11. My biggest lesson of 2015 is to trust in my own vision and taste – no matter how distant it is from conventional aesthetics. Very important lesson, as I’ve stepped from pure Fine Art photography into wedding photography. 🙂

  12. Biggest lesson for 2015 is to stop the hustle. Spend more time with family, friends and continue to work on balance. Work hard, but also play hard and truly live life to the fullest.

  13. Oh wow, I learned so many amazing things this year. I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned in 2015 was to let go. Let go of feeling like I’m worthless. Let go of being upset for not accomplishing something as quickly as I’d like. Letting go of more toxic relationships in my life. Most importantly, letting go of worrying over what others think of me. I am me and unless something is horribly wrong with me, I’m not going to change myself for anyone. I’m a weirdo. I’m shy, I’m ditsy sometimes, I’m awkward, I say strong opinions during the wrong times… I am me. I’ve dealt with self doubt my whole life and I’m not going to let it run my life anymore. I’ve shed so many tears over people who never actually cared. I’ve raised my hopes so high about things that when they didn’t follow through, I was a mess for days. I let go… And continue letting go every day. I guess instead of saying I’m letting go, I could say I’m being more confident in myself. I’m finally okay with myself. I still want to push myself to do more and not be so shy, but some things can be difficult to overcome.

  14. My biggest lesson of 2015 was that I am the only one in my way. All the love and abundance that I could ever dream of is on the other side of my fear. New project for 2016 is to break through that fear and open the door.

  15. The greatest lesson I have learned is that through fear you lose yourself entirely. I lost a lot this year but I thought at the time it was a person or a thing but when I thought about it truely what I lost was myself. I spent much time being a vessel for everyone else’s happiness and trying to fix everyone else’s problems. fear turned my life into a cage. I didn’t look after myself because I feared what would happen to everyone else is if I stopped thinking about them for a moment. I feared picking up my camera because I didn’t want to create something terrible. I feared leaving my job without another lined up because I worried about not having money. I feared telling people how I felt because I didn’t want to be alone. I lived for everyone else because I was scared to confront my own issues. Where did it leave me? Miserable and ill and in a box in my own head. So, I thought on this lesson, I did things I didn’t want to do. Every day if I didn’t want to do something I knew I had to do it. Sometimes I failed and gave in to the fear and hid. Sometimes I didn’t and I conquered even just a little thing. Then I conquered a big thing last week and I quit my job. Without any money, without a job lined up. Irresponsible, maybe. Liberating, definitely. I go into the new year single, jobless but strong. I have a little key around my neck which reminds me why. Xxxx

  16. I think the biggest lesson I learned this year was that I am my own limitation.
    When you have goals and dreams and ideas you want to focus on, the best thing you can do is simply… Get to it! Don’t procrastinate, wait for other help or put it off. The time is nowadays your path isn’t the the same as anyone else’s.

  17. My biggest lesson for 2015 was patience. I discovered that I need to be patient with myself and my process. The speed in which I travel through this life is up to me. So, in 2015 I decided to slow down, to look around, close my eyes and smell the beauty around me. I decided to have extreme patience with my photography and only release an image when my soul says it is done, and because of that I enjoy my images much more. I am grateful for 2015 and the new way of experiencing it has brought me.

  18. My biggest lesson this year has been not to resist change. I am one who will hang on to routine with a white knuckle grip. I don’t like new jobs, new crowds, new schedules. It is something I have struggled with for a long time. I find comfort in knowing what to expect. Maybe I’m a control freak? This way of living could be viewed as being in chains one’s whole life and that’s not what I want for myself or to demonstrate for my kids.

  19. So wonderfully said, dear Brooke! I am so excited to see what you have been creating and where your journey will take you. I hope with all my heart that our paths cross in next year – and something tells me they will indeed xx

    This year has taught me some very sad lessons and has left me heartbroken in so many ways… Yet, I have learnt how to find peace and happiness within. It has taught me I am stronger than I ever believed. And I have learnt to dream again.

    May 2016 bring you love, light, inspiration and magic…

  20. My biggest lesson of 2015 was tha t gratitude breeds gratitude as like attracts like – energy goes where attention (and intention) flows. I have also learnt to keep giving and loving despite past hurts or fear of being hurt or losing or being alone. Keep on keeping on, be authentically me, love myself and exude gratitude and the rest will follow

  21. Hello Brooke! First I would like to say thank you for your amazing generosity and this awesome opportunity.
    When I look back on 2015 in terms of lessons, the Promoting Passion Convention bursts with lessons. I know it is only supposed to be one but I have two lessons I learned there that are so important to me.
    First, you cut off your hair, and I was lucky to catch it on video. You told us to let go of what makes us feel safe and venture out into the unknown and face our fears. That helped me so much for the rest of my year!
    Second, and this one means so much to me; I asked you for your autograph the last night of the convention, and you told me that I had touched your soul immeasurably. I am a person who has trouble with confidence, especially in my art and how I interact with people. When you told me that it meant the world to me and I learned that I can touch the souls of many people with my work and I can inspire others and I CAN DO IT. It was amazing and I thank you so much for that. I hope you have an amazing 2016, Brooke, I can’t wait to see all of the absolutely spectacular things you create and the stories that come along with them. 🙂

  22. My biggest lesson is to put fear aside and to concentrate in my dreams. This year the photography turned in my job and I am very proud for my decision.

    I dream with your dress and I think that can be an amazing gift for this new year, thank you for be an awesome person you are fuel to share inspiration.

  23. So many to choose from, it was a challenging year. Number one though has to what I learned by pushing through the fear and having trust. I took a trip and for seven days was without communication with my husband and kids because cell phones didn’t work and Internet was not available. It was terrifying, but everyone survived and I took some of the best images of my life.

  24. My biggest lesson of 2015 is learning to what’s best and right for me. Wether it’s creatively or oersonally. When I first began shooting I had this weird ‘anxiety’ that I had to be putting out images everyday and had to be constantly working on an image. It really began to make my work suffer in the long run. Adopting a new notion of taking my time with my images and knowing that it’s ok to take however long and however many times over to create an image that I am proud of and love is one of the best things I have done for myself

    Happy New Year! <3

  25. my biggest lesson of this past year has to be learning to not take what i have for granted and enjoy the little things, everything day by day and be happy and grateful in every moment i can. i have bad anxiety which many times-ok always-made me stress and worry so i was never truly happy. i have begun to relax and enjoy everything thats happening no matter how small. listening to my husband as he sleeps, a hot shower, the sound of rain, a good book, my baby(!), being able to create photos i love. i have been so much more happier and peaceful and the more i follow this lesson the more fullfilling my life is.

  26. The most important lesson that I have learned this past year is one that has only sunk in about a week ago. That I am in control of my own life. Where I go, what I do, who I spend time with, how I react, how I spend my time, where I focus my attention, what I create and, most importantly, what I do not. It is all on me. I was caught up in feeling that things were not within my control and thinking this is just how things are going to be moving forward. No. I decide what my life looks like. I will be making some changes and will take ownership of the fact that I am the one standing in my own way.

  27. My biggest lesson I learned this year I, fortunately, got from you at AD! It was the most important for me. You showed me not to be afraid and confront my fears head on. It was so intimidating for me to approach those strangers, but with your help and everyone else’s cheering me on, I did it! Then, when I went to your conference, oh my, that was one of the most revealing times in my life. So much that I took with me, I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Thank you Brooke for your incredible passion and I can’t wait for the next one.

  28. This year I’ve learned so many things. Mostly about myself and what I alone am capable of. I have been wanting to start my own photography business fro years now, but I was always so frightened to fail. I have decided that 2016 WILL be the year to officially open my business. If I fail, I will do so with no regrets. I have also ask God to come into my heart. I was prophesized over that I would soon have a huge career change. So I feel that I have his blessing in all of this. I have decided to trust his will in my life. He cannot lead me to failure, if I do fail, it was not his plan for me. I feel inside myself that this year will bring so much change. It may be hard, but it will be necessary. I wish all of you the best of luck on your journeys. I for one, am more than ready to start this new adventure.

  29. I’m going to be a stubborn old woman. The kind kids are afraid of and town squares make statues for birds to poop on. I don’t think I learned any damn lessons this year. None stuck anyway. Happy new year. Maybe it be a year of teaching. … and learning.

  30. Thank you so much Brooke! I love following your work and learning fun things from you on CreativeLive! I think the thing I learned this year is to not be afraid to go after what you want to do. Even though some days it scares me and I think I can’t do this, I love doing what I do and seeing peoples faces when they see what I have created for them!

  31. My biggest lesson in 2015 has been one of perseverance and the sheer force behind a strong will to overcome. I’ve faced many health issues this past year and yet I remain standing here holding onto my dreams, even if it’s just by a thread. I’m hoping 2016 is a year of good health and massive growth, both personally and in my business.

  32. My biggest lesson was to hold on and fight for what you want no matter how hopeless it may seem. I almost lost a job that I love and is very near and dear to my heart because I needed accommodations. The fight is far from over, but I am holding on and continuing to fight because working with the patients I work with (those suffering from mental illness) is something I love to do and want to continue to do. I feel so much and so passionately for these people and so I will overcome my own hurdles in order to continue to serve them.

  33. I learnt that my dreams are worth fighting for. I want to find strength in myself that drives me to do good, I want to focus on my happiness, I learnt that these are my priorities. I wrote a list last month about the things that matter to me: The three basic principles I have learnt to live my life by:

    1) learn to say no, 2) accept failures and see them as opportunities for growth, 3) choose happiness. ∞

  34. Biggest lesson:
    Learn to understand and embrace my value.
    Finding my voice and take action on it.
    Sometimes it needs a great effort and sometimes it becomes quite unbelievably easy.
    I learnt that I need to move on fearlessly, this is my biggest learning.
    Thanks for asking.

  35. My biggest lesson of 2015 is to not be afraid to show up 100%. It’s a scary thing, because it means being vulnerable and visible with all of your self. But it is also where the biggest learnings, the most growth, and the biggest magic can happen!

  36. I think my biggest lesson this year is that I can’t be everything I want to be, when I want to be it. I can’t be the photographer who can dash off whenever I want when inspiration hits because I have two young children. I can’t be the best mother that I wish I could be because I’m just not cut out to be that person. But I can still try, and I do. I try to be the best I can be and I have to accept that often I will fall short of the bar I set for myself. But that’s ok as long as I keep trying.

  37. My biggest lesson this year was to realize that i can make a difference with my pasion for photography. I started using my photographs to raise money for nepalesse charities as well as making some pictures to make awareness of animal cruelty. It is a really small contribution but we can all help on making a better world little by little.

  38. My biggest lesson of 2015 is learning to find balance. It is the key that unlocks pain, depression, anxiety, fear, heartache and loneliness. It creates wellbeing, happiness, laughter, joy, peace, contentment, confidence, power, bliss, pleasure, inspiration and wisdom. Good luck to everyone and best wishes to you all in 2016, especially you Brooke xxxxxxxx

  39. “We must show up for our own lives.” I think that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned. It’s been a great year for me. Meeting you and the whole retreat in France was amazing and it changed me and my whole life. I’ve been much braver in sharing my work since then. Thank you Brooke for being so awesome and have a great year of 2016. Hope to see you again soon!!


  40. My biggest lesson learned was learning the importance of creating and understanding and allowing myself to create using subjects outside the norm. What I’m getting at is my wife and I welcomed our first child this year and I never knew that I would have so much fun creating props and making sets to tell stories using him. He’s been made into so many characters this past year and has helped me grow immensely. So to round this up: I’ve learned that sometimes you font have to set put to find a muse, the best ones are those who are closest to you. All the best Brooke in the year 2016. I cannot wait to see what you create as I know it will bring great inspiration to all of us.

  41. My biggest lesson for 2015 is generosity. When you are generous and giving with your photography great things start happening. When you put this kind of energy out into the world it responds back with in such a way that allows for true happiness and ways to make this a better world.

  42. My biggest lesson of 2015 is that even though you have a plan for yourself, life and the universe may very well have a different one. Giving in and seeing where life takes you isn’t always such a bad idea.

  43. I’ve learnt to be patient. Not to rush around and make so many lists and plans that you become over stressed! I have a busy job that keeps me on the go all the time, so I have been trying to remind myself to take a step back and think ‘is this really important to do? Does it need to be done this instant?’
    I’ve also fixed my film camera and have been using that to help with my patience aswell. Not all good shots are taken in a hurry, they have to be planned and thought about before the shutter is pressed. 🙂

  44. Hi Brooke,

    This year has been one of my worst to date and I have been met with a lot of lessons, so I would like to list a few and keep it as brief as I can.

    When faced with your own mortality you learn that life can be ripped away in a blink of an eye, so try to live everyday like it is your last and appreciate those people in your life right now.

    To stop thinking, when I lose 10lbs I will buy that nice dress or get my photo taken. We are never happy even when we reach those goals, so don’t wait, get yourself those shoes, dress, dinner or step in front of the camera. Be happy, leave your photo legacy and let people remember you for the person you are, not the one you always considered never good enough, because you are good enough.

    When you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it and you’ll be surprised by what happens next.

    To all of the promoting passion community, I wish you all the love, luck and happiness for 2016! Sláinte.


  45. Awww! With one simple dress, you were able to create such beautiful works! Now that we are a few hours of the end of 2015 (8 hours here in Portugal), I can say that the great lessons I’ve had this year were:

    – That I am able to do;
    – Fear dies if I stop living in the past and in the future;
    – That the dream is a reality;
    – And by coincidence or not, who knows! When we hold on to what makes us feel safe, we lose our greatest opportunities.

    Wish you also, peace and joy for you. 🙂

  46. My biggest lesson is that people are a lot more accepting than you sometimes give them credit for. Sometimes we fear what other people think but they can be our greatest strength in certain situations .

  47. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win the dress that triggered such an amazing inspiration for you.
    My biggest lesson in 2015 is to actually love myself and believe in my creative vision. To stop the self-hating attitude that gets in my way and tells me I can’t do something.

  48. Oh, beautiful post, again, Brooke! My biggest lesson of 2015 has been to learn to love myself, deeply, and to trust myself. Over and over again, the demons of my own creation have tried to thwart my goals and destroy my joy. Each time, more than every before, I’ve pushed past them, left them in the dust, told them they have no hold on my, they can only be transient visitors. I am a self made woman. My passion is deep and my desire to succeed at what I love is massive. I can and will do this. Thank you, for your inspiration and your beautiful art, it adds so much richness to the human experience. xo

  49. My biggest lesson in 2015….I don’t think I’ve learned a lesson honestly… As much as I don’t want to say it. Not like an over all lesson that helps me conquer something specific. But I am trying to learn to let go of my fears. I don’t know if I ever will be able to completely let them go. To me… As we get older.. Fear is like a curse that keeps squeezing the life out of us throughout the years but only enough to where we don’t notice it. Until eventually all of the life that is in you is now gone and too weak to conquer fear over all… 2015 is the year I learned a out the dangers of fear… 2016 is the year I hope to find a way to banish or conquer them… I admire you Brooke. You have brought so many people in the fine art community together. And if there ever is any chance of conquering these demons we call fear. This is it… Together.

  50. It is inherent to us to share our talents. Even the Bible says, “Do not place them under a bushel barrel, but shine for all to see”

  51. My biggest lesson of 2015 is that it is ok to go through ‘dry patches’ where you feel you have no unique ideas in you. I learnt that these phases pass and to just ride the wave.
    Inspiration is all around us so don’t feel like the world is ending when you feel empty, just relax, breath and know that inspiration is there you just need to look at things in a new light and it is just a way of growing creatively.

  52. Congratulations on completing the Promoting Passion series Brooke! I have loved watching you over the last 100 weeks and have found our words so inspirational. Really looking forward to seeing progress on your new project in the studio!
    My biggest highlight of my year was meeting you and being able to be in your presence for awhile at the NYC Photo Expo. Your talk on creating meaningful imagery and finding inspiration was so helpful to a young blooming photographer like myself. After I returned to Ohio, I made the decision to pursue and study photography full time at school, to not make my fears bigger than my dreams and just follow my heart. I feel very happy going into 2016.
    My lesson for 2015 is that I need to believe in myself. I need to believe I am capable, of anything. Most importantly I need to believe in what I create. You’ve taught me not to be afraid of failing and not let the chances of failing stop me from creating. To believe and radiate confidence is my 2016 resolution.

    Best wishes to you and your loved ones into the New Year

  53. Biggest Lesson of 2016!!!! Definitely–Follow Your Passion! This has been the BEST year of my life. Following my PASSION to create art through my photography has been incredibly life altering! I have made new friends and inspired others. I have pushed through my fears and expressed myself from my deepest core!

  54. The year of 2015 was really hard for me. My husband wanted to move so we did. My kids and us. I was excited for the new journey and adventures ahead of us. Not too long after though I fell into a depression. My photography slowed as I knew nobody to shoot but myself and was scared to reach out to the community. I got a job to get myself out of the house and it helped a little. But not enough. I soon found myself in bed most of the day only to get up and feed the kids, change a diaper, etc. I felt like a really, really bad mom. I was lost without my friends and family close to me, and a lot of times I still do feel that way.
    So I took a roadtrip. My husbands new job didn’t allow him any vacation so I decided to drive from northern Washington to Arizona with just me and the kids. I had to see family and my best friend. Unfortunately we hit a blizzard and got stuck overnight in a little town in Oregon. A new pair of snowchains and one level of stress later we were headed out the next morning. The next night we had finally made it to Bakersfield CA and I fell Ill to the point I couldn’t drive anymore. We finally made it to AZ the next day. Fast forward to the drive home, the hub bearing of our car went out and had to be replaced ASAP. We were stuck….again. But when we finally got on our way again, the rest of the trip was a breeze. A very long breeze.
    So the lesson I learned while alone with my kids for 3500 miles is: don’t be afraid to take leaps. And don’t be afraid to go on adventures, even if it is REALLY hard. Now that I am back home and having gone through all of that, I feel better. I am inspired again, I’m drawing again. I even have a new friend thatvi am photographing today. The last week I have spent out of bed and being productive. And if I win that dress, I will go towards some new peices of art that are trapped in my head.

  55. My greatest lesson of 2016 is that…well, fear -is-the mind killer. It’s so easy for me to placate anxiety by simply avoiding all of its triggers. Certainly comfortable. But some of the best moments this year happened well outside of that comfort zone, some even in the last few weeks! I have so many memories – and so many photos – that wouldn’t exist had I not faced some kind of fear, fear that I could have easily given in to, fear that was holding me back. I realize now that what I’m most fearful of is usually what means the most to me, and what I fear I’ll fail at somehow. But as we all know, the surest way to fail is to never try. Thanks for sharing the passion, and Happy New Year!

  56. My biggest lesson of 2015 is that we shouldn’t take anything or anyone for granted. A life can end when you least expect it.

  57. I have learned that:
    * Dreams can come true if we find the courage to pursue them*
    * remember, your wings will bear you*

    Love and wishing you a great new year! can’t wait to see your new work!

  58. My biggest lesson learned is to not let fear of the unknown stop me from moving forward. And to say yes more often to opportunity.

  59. Lessons from 2015… I can use fear as a wall to protect myself but it doesn’t keep bad things out, it prevents the good from flowing in either direction.
    If we stay focused on the past, we’re not seeing clearly to be guided into the future.
    It’s okay to take care of myself; if I give until I have nothing left, I have nothing left to give.

  60. 2015 helped me realize – The only person I should try to be better than, is the person I was yesterday. Seeing other peoples work on social media and then trying to compare my work to theirs was a never ending mind game.

  61. I realized this year that it doesn’t matter where I am physically; as long as I am with the ones I love, I am home. This year brought about a lot of changes, but with the support of my loved ones things have been much better.

  62. The lesson I learned this year was there is nothing to lose by trying, this year I stepped outside my photography zone from nature to composites and storytelling .

  63. Perdon por escribir en español.
    Este 2015 he vuelto a renacer gracia a que inicie en fotografia. El a mediados del 2013 y 2014 mi familia y yo vivimos una pesadilla, estuve lejos de ellos e incomunicada, todos los dias pensaba que era una pesadilla de la cual no podia despertar, a pesar que esa etapa de nuestra vida termino a mediados de 2014 yo continuaba quebrada y no sabia como y si algun dia me podria reponer. En el 2015 inicie con la fotografia y esto me ayudo a que mi esencia resurgiera de nuevo, al ver tu trabajo me motivo a seguir adelante y no dejar de soñar. Gracias por tu arte!

  64. The biggest lesson that I learned in 2015 was to recognize my fears. To identify and acknowledge them for what they are and why they exist. For far too long they were nameless and drove my anger cynicism and bitterness from the shadows. I would be so wrapped up in the mayhem that theses fears were causing that I would never address the underlying problems. Now that I have learned to bring them into the light, their power over me has diminished. I am able to be happy, I am able to create. I am able to love again. I am able to heal. If someone reads this and moves a step closer to healing, that fills me with happiness.

  65. My greatest lessons learned this year are to let go of fear and to remember that I need to do that which feeds my soul. I need to let go of what I think others want because that is only holding me back from realizing my true potential. I hope everyone has an amazing 2016!! 🙂

  66. I’ve learned to “let it be” its all good! Accept everyone for who they are … Send love, forget short comings, no grudges, look for the good in all…smile and offer a smile… Think good thoughts… Treat everyone as you wish to be treated! Then repeat repeat repeat!!! Have a wonderful magical 2016 everyone! It’s all yours!

  67. I have learned this past year that no matter how deep the love, nor how painful the letting go is, it is detrimental to allow space for growth while on our own journey within and without. Each stage and phase is a stepping stone to something more magical. And to remember we do create ripple effects in other lives….be mindful of the ripples you create….blessed be thee.

  68. My greatest lessons learned in 2015:

    Our greatest work of art or masterpiece is our children. We have reached the mastery level of Picasso and other great artist, when our children know the value of life and seek its treasures with every breath they breathe.

    We are each responsible for our own lives and the impact our lives have on others within our immediate circle.

    No man or woman was meant to bare the burden of all those around them. One must aspire to carry their own weight and respect those around them enough to demand that they carry their own weight.

    Love those around you with the same intensity that you would if that person were to pass away the next day.

  69. Lessons learned, and lessons taught. The lesson I learned this year is that nobody is too small or young to teach me a lesson! If I get out of my own way, and open myself up to the fact that yes, I have more to learn, even from a young child: I can expand my awareness and understanding of the world around me.

    Lessons taught; I’ve learned that there’s a gentle way to teach lesson to others; with gentleness and respect, and in a way that facilitates relational collateral, and love of learning.

    Looking forward to practicing these lessons this year; thanks for giving, Brooke!

  70. My biggest lesson from 2015 is that the things people tell you aren’t worth doing are the best things of all. Just because something isn’t practical or logical, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of your time. I have always been told to do the practical thing in order to survive and if I had time I could be creative. I’ve come to learn that, in fact, that creativity is what helps me survive, both from a monetary stand point and from a soul stand point. My creative endeavors are what keeps me afloat these days…not my practical college degree. When you love something, you can find a way to make it a contributing part of your life. the only limits you have are the ones you let other people talk you into setting for yourself. I love that my art and my crafts have all come together to be what sustains me. I can take what I am good at and what I love and make others see the value in it. Practicality is nice…but the drive to make your passion your way of life is worth so much more. There’s always a way…you just have to find it and develop it into what you want it to be!

  71. Wow Brooke that is so nice of you to gift this dress, I would be honored to win this! My biggest lesson I learned this year is its okay to not have a clean house right now and not have EVERYTHING done. Adding another little one was hard this past year but we are finally getting in our groove and I am back to being able to have time to create and so happy about that! Be blessed have a happy new year

  72. My biggest lesson of 2015 has been that happiness can be achieved on your own, through your own work and by pursuing your dreams and passions. Other people aren’t meant to make you happy. Happiness comes from within.

  73. Weĺ Brooke…I think you got your 5 dollars worth…my learned lesson for 2015 iss that everyday is a blessing and we never know where it will take us…somedays I have planned out but sometimes life takes me on a different path
    But no matter what …enjoy the journey

  74. The biggest lesson for me in 2015 was to love what I do, pursue that and believe in myself! It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but definitely one of the best ones as well!!
    I hope you have an amazing New Year and I can wait to see what you create in 2016 =)

  75. I’m not sure I have learnt any new lessons in 2015, but rather evolved some former ones.

    I have had a realisation that I can do more that I do to help others, something I used to do more than I have done in recent years and, while I cannot keep the pace that I did 20 years ago, I fully intend to do something charitable in 2016.

    So anyway, I love the dress and resulting images, there is so much in them to form some food for thought, I am pretty certain though I am at least a few sizes too big for it, and not sure it would really suit me anyway, but maybe it would 😉
    It would make a nice keepsake though!

    My other lesson is evolved from, allow yourself freedom to fail, to allow yourself MORE freedom to fail, there is so much more opportunity in exiting the safety of what we know we can do.

  76. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 2015 is the fact that sometimes promises will be broken, sometimes the bad will outweigh the good, and sometimes it will seem like I can’t go on. But, that, to paraphrase A.A. Milne, I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, and smarter than I think. I am enough and that is the ultimate lesson.

  77. I’ve learned who my real friends are, and how to care for them in the right way! I have also learned to be strong in who i am!
    The dress is amazing btw!

  78. 2015 was a year of death and sorrow for me and my friends and family. my creativity was silenced. i was not able to gain the courage to use my grief as inspiration, but it sat in the bottom of my heart like sediment from all the broken pieces of my heart. 2016 will be a time for me to turn my sadness into the pictures i see and the music i hear in there – just waiting to come out, to show my love for those i have lost whom I still hold in my heart to those i still am
    able to hold in my arms.

  79. My biggest lesson of this year is that I can’t wait for the “right” time to do what I love. I just have to jump in with both feet and do it. I am glad that I did and the water wasn’t that bad.
    Thank you for being such an awesome inspiration! Happy New Year!

  80. This year was to be able to rebuild myself due to drastic changed in my current life that affected a big part of my passion. Yet through the photographs and story-telling you have created, it has been always an inspiration to me while I gradually get back to do what I do best. As I will finally start again more glamour portraits in 2016 and share the gifts I have to everyone, it will be an honour to receive such dress and continue the passion you have provided to the society. I wish you a prosperous new year! Looking forward to see more brilliant work from you

  81. to care less about what other tought
    give you the right to be happy, to do something only for yourself, and then you can help others because you feel great.
    Never stop exploring!

  82. First, I love seeing many familiar names in this list of insightful comments–those of extraordinarily talented friends and photographers. Second, this year I’ve learned so much, including that I have so much more to learn! Learning to trust my instincts is huge, but I’m also rediscovering the importance of quiet time to think and let the mind roam, then finally to dedicate the necessary time to think all the way through an idea. With two young boys, I sort of forgot about the luxury of truly THINKING!

  83. My biggest lesson in 2015….to take action, to do, to create & explore rather than just talking about it. I’ve slowly realized that I can use any fears to push myself further. Here’s to 2016!

  84. My biggest lesson of 2015 is that whatever is meant to be will be. I’m a person that stresses over every little thing and analyzes every detail to the point where I get headaches. In 2015 I’ve slowly learned that no matter how much you stress, it won’t change the future- so instead of worrying- just be happy and let life take its course

  85. Be thankful for what you have and don’t be afraid to embark on new ventures… you only go around once. By the way – your work rocks!

  86. Beautiful work Brooke you are truly an inspiration for fine art photographers..
    Still learning/working on letting go.. And also learning that when it comes to art I set my own limitations. Learning that if you want to be creative you need to let go of the fear of rejection of your work, I love taking photos; learning that when I am frustrated at my work I need to remember why I love taking photos and learn from the experiences I get .. Again thank you for being a wonderful inspiration for many of us.. Happy 2016
    FB – vintage blossoms photography

  87. My biggest of 2015 is that is never to late to show more love and compassion to others and that no matter how hard it is so it is never to late to make other smile, to help others when You are really really down. To use You current situation to help others.
    My relapse in leukemia and my story helped other by bringing attention to helping organisations like DKMS and Delete Blood Cancer and Tobias Register. So many people reacted and actually act and become a new donors. Maybe my story helped to save some lives. <3 IT IS NEVER TO LATE

  88. I have learned to simplify, simplify, simplify!! Life is too short not to, and if you don’t make life a little simpler, you’ll miss the important little things!! Thanks for the generous give away! I absolutely love your work! It’s the most interesting art I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to photography! Happy New Year!!

  89. You are my greatest inspiration in photography, Brooke! I love your work very much! It would be so amazing to win your dress! I would use it for competition images for years to come! Have a very Happy New Year and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings from you! Warmest Regards, Sophia

  90. My biggest lesson was to get out of my own way. I worry so much about what other people think about me and my work that it has blocked a lot of what I want to create. I’m looking forward to creating in 2016!

    You inspired me when I first watched you on a Creative Live course and was transformed by your composites. I didn’t know what to do with my photoshop knowledge and wanting to be a photographer…after watching your course, I knew EXACTLY how I would be! Thank you for being so transparent, thoughtful, and yourself!

  91. My lesson I’ve been learning for years (and still struggle to accept) is that my path to finding myself, my passion, is longer, slower, and twisted relative to those in my immediate presence…and that is okay.

  92. Finding you on Creative Live has been a blessing to say the least! Earlier this year I was able to view one of your live broadcasts. Through your inspiring words and body of work I have come to embrace my own creativity and continue to fight that voice in my head to try to compare myself and my work with others. There is something special and unique inside ourselves that we have to continue to uncover each and every day, despite the fear and anxiety of putting ourselves and our ideas out there. We can all learn from others, but the struggle for me is to put aside comparing my work with others. I pray that in 2016 I will push past my fears and anxiety and start to bring these visions to pass and allow my creativity to flow more freely! Blessings to you in the new year!

  93. The thing I have learned (and am still trying to grasp) is that I am the only one holding me back. And I know it! I need to get out of my own way…but I am stubborn…and afraid. Time to have a serious talk with myself.

  94. My greatest lesson this year has been learning to trust my instincts, both creatively and personally. My instincts are always spot on, and steer me in the right direction. Happy New Year! I have been enjoying one of your classes on Creative Live this week. It has been a great way to end the year. Very inspiring to say the least!

  95. Hi Brooke, firstly this stands as one of my favourite images you have ever created, one of the first I saw to instil passion in myself, and one I look upon frequently to remind me of how I aspire to be. The fact that you create is a tremendous aid to helping me create myself. The whole of 2015 has been a lesson for me. It has probably been my worst year to date, but I’m hoping to take as much from it, and CHANGE as much from it as I can. I will become a new me, one who tries not to stagnate, one who remembers the little things, one who always strives for the best of my happiness and the best of my dreams. Life throws a lot at you, and sometimes you have to throw yourself on the ground and cry, but you still have to pick yourself up again. I’m picking myself back up after 2015, keeping this image with me, and trudging on to be the person I always wanted to be.

    Brooke, thank you for always being there. Happy new year

  96. The work that you create is truly inspired. The simplicity is stunning but also utterly conceptual at the same time.
    In one word, brilliant.
    Thanks for continuing to share with us all.

  97. Hi Brooke,
    I have tried to watch all the videos with your inspirational thoughts. To be honest sometimes they come quite handy. It gives me the push to keep taking pictures even though i get the feeling of giving up sometimes.

    In 2016 I want to make more pictures keep developing myself.
    I’m very exited to see how your new videos will look in the new place.

    Thanks Brooke
    regards Kessler

  98. Take care of yourself. That’s been my biggest lesson of 2015. I had my second child in Feb and found out my mother had terminal brain cancer three weeks later. I’ve hit some low lows this year but have also been greatly inspired other times. What I’ve come to realize is, if I don’t take care of my health, mentally, physically.. ect.. then I can’t be of much goodness to others.

  99. Wow. That is a courageous step, stepping out of what has come to be expected of you. I’m proud of you for realizing it and doing something. Embrace the change, no matter how scary, because you’ll be better for it because it seems like you are following your heart and your art. Good luck! Cheers.

  100. My biggest lesson learned in 2015:
    My Mom (who is my best friend) was diagnosed with metastatic Primary Peritoneal Cancer in April. It is rare and incurable. The lesson I took away from this – after the horrendous surgery she endured in May, and then the horrible chemotherapy – was that relationships with my family and friends matter MORE than ANY material thing. More than trying to look younger. More than what I drive. More than where I live. More than what I wear. Life here is terribly short, and to have wasted SO MUCH TIME on what has turned out to be non-essentials just breaks my heart. No more. Family and friends – they matter the MOST. 2016 is the year of building those relationships. And savoring the time I have left with my precious Mom. Savoring LIFE.

  101. 2015, biggest lesson so far…fear is not my master. You must master it, by taking care of yourself. Only you can manifest happiness creativity and love. If you don’t create them for yourself, you will always be a slave to the things that you fear in life. You will always regret the things you didn’t do out of fear.
    It is time to take control of life and make the most out of it for yourself.

  102. I’ve learned many valuable lessons this year. Sadly my dad passed away from cancer in April. He was diagnosed in January. You can say it was a long grueling 4 months not to mention the time grieving after losing him. As heartbroken as I am I’ve been trying to find the light in all of this, some sort of good to take from it all, a lesson to learn. What I’ve learned is that life truly is short. Yeah, sure, everyone has heard this a million times but now more than ever there is so much meaning behind those words. Tomorrow is not promised. Five minutes from now isn’t either. Life is too short to hold grudges, to try to live up to other’s expectations, and it’s certainly too short to not live in the moment. I have started a photo project as an outlet. It’s a conceptual series revolving around the grieving process. It’s my outlet. If I won this dress I would use it in the remaining photos of the series and it would bring me so much joy and inspiration! Lots of love!

  103. My biggest lesson on 2015 is something that I have come to achieve myself through watching and listening to you Brooke. It is coming to the realization that not everyone will like my photography but others will LOVE it. And that simple statement and thinking changed my whole outlook for 2015.
    Happy New Year Brooke…looking forward to seeing more inspired works!

  104. This year has taught me a few things-like the importance of remaining humble. The importance of using my talents to truly help people and put a smile in their hearts as well as thier faces. This year has taught me that not every year is going to be a “win” and thats ok-as long as you push harder next year to reach those goals. Goals-have them, aim high-don’t give them up.

    I have learned that being a creative means my mind will wander-and i will let it because it means discovery. Discovering something new, something old or unexpected and those journeys will only help me be better.

    I have learned more about challenging myself and being organized and i learned most importantly, to love myself a little more each day.

    Happy New Year-may this next one rock!

  105. Thank you for sharing your inspiration beyond a dress! From the art you create to the community that dreams along with you. You’ve given this old broad the hope that there’s still time for dreams to come true.

  106. This year I learned that I shouldn’t let anything get in the way of what my soul is telling me to do. No person, or lack of money should keep me, or anyone, from experiences that could help us grow.

  107. I usually do what I love (taking pictures) multiple times a week. However, there was a time in 2015 when for some reason, I didn’t feel like taking pictures and creating. I would tell myself things like “it’s too cold for pics” or “the sun isn’t right at the moment, I’ll shoot later” or “my friend cancelled and can’t model? Well I’ll just postpone the shoot for another few weeks” and many other made-up excuses. That was the time in 2015 when I was the most unhappy. Looking back, I see that I was allowing myself and others limit me, when I didn’t have to. There is always a solution, like finding a way to use the current weather as an advantage, or taking self portraits. The lesson I’ve learned is: Don’t let yourself be limited. Just go outside, do what you love, have some fun, try something new by working around the disadvantages because when you succeed, you will feel so good about yourself.

  108. This one’s pretty easy for me. I’ve known it intuitively all my life but sometimes that same life can get in the way of remembering it. It returned to me in 2015, almost without my even realizing that I was “back in the flow”. But the PPC made me clearly and firmly aware of that serendipity again. My biggest lesson of 2015 has been: “Just say ‘Yes!'”

    Swing the bat. Take your pitch. Put yourself out there. Trust your gut. If it sounds a little goofy, do it anyway. If it sounds a little boring, do it anyway.

    And if for some reason you just can’t bring yourself to “do it anyway”, be gentle with yourself. Step back and examine the situation. Use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself – what motivates you and what scares you. Figure out if your fear/reluctance is rational or not.

    If not, get out there and say “Yes!” And if the fear or reluctance IS rational, figure out what part you can play to change the world so that that particular fear has no place or purpose in it. And say “Yes!” to that instead. 🙂

  109. my biggest lesson this year has been brokenness. that being broken doesn’t mean I’m not strong, that being broken means I’m open to doing what’s necessary to be built back up, that saying, “I’m not okay” helps other people not feel crazy for being the same way. brokenness keeps you hungering for truth and a kinder, better reality.

  110. The biggest and best lesson I learned this year is that it is okay to fail, because failing means you at least tried. Also sometimes great things can come out of what you believe is a failure. another thing I’ve learned is as Brooke says “I’m not in love with who I am but who I could be”.Self concepts have allowed me to express my feelings and emotions as I deal with my anxiety and depression and allows me to tell my story when I have no words. Mental illness is part of me and always will be but it doesn’t define who I am or limit my potential.

  111. Oh, wow! I have been looking for a dress like this for the last 2 years.. the way it falls off your shoulders, the back.. it’s so elegant!
    The most important lesson I learned this year is this:
    If my work touches the heart of one person….isn’t that enough?
    That was what it took for me to embrace my personal message and begin to plow through my hesitations.
    Much love to you! <3

  112. My biggest lesson of 2015 has been to relax a little. Not everything deserves my fretting. Some things are simply distractions that take my attention away from what’s truly important in my life. Perspective is everything. Thanks!

  113. I think the biggest lesson I learned this year was to follow my heart. Rather than listen to what others tell you you should do or what they think should make you happy, really all that should matter is what designates with you. Your happiness is in your control.

  114. My major in college was Graphic Design, and upon graduation, I started as an intern and worked my up to be a Creative Director for a tech company. Over this journey of more than a decade, I felt “successful” in the traditional sense, but I knew all along my passion was photography. It was a very scary realization that eventually I’d need to let my previous career go and jump into this dark void where you can’t see the future. “Am I making a mistake? Is this the right choice?” Fear, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, can be a crippling experience, but it can also be the catalyst that opens your eyes and forces you to jump head first into an uncomfortable void.

    In 2015, I took that jump and am now working as a photographer full time. The lesson was to follow your heart and not to think of success as a title or money but how it makes you feel. If you’re not inspired, you have a job not a career.

    You inspired me along my journey of self discovery, and then I took your workshop and never looked back.

  115. Due to health issues this year, I learned that life is fleeting. Don’t wait until problems already exist to make positive changes in your life. Spend time with your family and loved ones, because you don’t know how much time you have together. Do what you love.

  116. It’s hard to say what was the biggest lesson of 2015 for me.

    But here are my biggest lessons:

    -There is no better time to start than now. I’m only holding myself back when I put things off. I have to start making my imagination a reality, instead of letting it rot away, just a discarded dream in a faraway drawer. My procrastination problem doesn’t just hold me back but those around me. I have to start doing the things I should, and the things I really want to.

    -I have to learn when to stop “fixing” and “perfecting” my art pieces. With photography, it’s a bit easier. It already feels like each photo is finished. I don’t have to keep working on it. I could edit it digitally or keep taking shots for the same idea but I usually don’t feel like I have to. With drawings, or paintings, I tend to start fixating on parts of it, the background, the face, etc. I want to finish it by making it perfect. It’s not necessarily bad but when I do this, I either don’t finish everything or I ruin it by overworking it. There are times to start, and there are times to let go.

    -What comes around goes around. One of my highlights of this year is not only meeting new people but getting closer to them. Kindness is contagious. Happiness is contagious. It just feels so good to have another friend, to do something good, and just feel this whole new life is possible.

    -Balance is essential.

    -Photography is magical. I’ve admired other people’s photography, like yours, for some time but I’ve never really participated in it myself until this year. When we started doing photography in art class, I fell in love with it. Everyone knows photography is magical but there’s a difference between knowing and feeling.

    Anyways, happy new year!

  117. There is room for more than one passion. I used to feel I only had time for one passion and doing anything else or taking up a hobby would take up valuable time that could have been spent honing my skills and getting better at my photography. I don’t believe this to be true now. There’s room for more than one passion and extending yourself in this way can help you see things from another perspective and therefore enables you to improve in a way you would not have expected to.

  118. My biggest lesson from 2015 is that a comfort zone is just a security blanket to protect yourself from what you don’t know; I have to put myself out there as opportunities aren’t just going to come up to me. I’ve learned that I have to make an effort to participate in things and not let social anxiety take over and, in the end, I’ll have grown in a way I couldn’t have if I just stuck to whatever situations I knew or felt comfortable in.

  119. My greatest lesson this year was to love myself regardless and that I am enough. I had to experience some hurt and some pain to get this clarity but I am thankful for it When I think of all the years when I kept telling myself – I was not smart enough, not creative enough, not beautiful enough, not slim enough, not rich enough not successful enough …not enough not enough not enough..it’s not true. I was always enough I was just not seeing it all clearly.

  120. My biggest lesson would probably be learning that there is far more strength in me than what I have ever known. There is always for light than dark.and when there isn’t, as an artist, we have to paint it into our days.2015 has taught me courage, to put it simply.

  121. My greatest lessons of 2015 – Live in the present, it is the greatest way to conquer anxiety about the future and the only way to really live, actually DO things rather than sit there thinking about them. Life is an adventure to be lived, not to be stared at on the sidelines. Also to get over perfectionism, again just start just DO things rather than worrying about them. This finally allowed me to start creating the types of images I have always wanted to.

  122. My biggest lesson this year was being more intentional in connecting with myself and those I love. I had to place boundaries when it comes to social media and my business so that I truly share in LIFE. It was hard to see but once I did, it’s hard not to see it now. Best thing I did for myself and my family.

  123. my biggest lesson this year has been to never give into the doubt, never doubt my love for photography, nor my doubt that with everything i do, i improve – but also never to give up on the ideas and thoughts that will separate the work that pays, and the work that inspires – but also how to combine the two so that picking up my camera is never mundane.

  124. I’ve been leaving very long comments so far, so this one I want to keep brief. I’ve learned that new things, while scary, are okay- I don’t have to hold on so tight to myself or keep stagnent if I want to move forward with my life. I should allow for openness in every oppertunity I get- and while sometimes it’s better that the windows stay shut, I don’t always have to draw the curtains. I can look oppertunity in the face and welcome it instead of hiding in my small little world. And I hope as I get older and more independent, that confidence will grow and grow, as will my oppertunities. I’ve learned this year, to take /risks/, and I’ve never taken any risk before.

  125. My biggest lesson this year is similar to yours – not to fear change, but to embrace it and know that good things will come with an open mind and heart. We made a big move from Texas to New England this year and I had to leave my oldest daughter behind (she is 23 and out of the house -but STILL…she is a piece of my heart!). It just about broke my heart – but we are all doing a-ok! With this change comes many new opportunities and I look forward to what 2016 will bring. HNY Brooke – as always thank you for your continued inspiration <3

  126. My biggest lesson was that it is okay to let go of a dream. It’s okay to dream and wait for the time to make the dream reality. Have no regrets and enjoy the moment you’re in, who you’re with, because you never know when it will be your last time to see them. Above all, love one another.

  127. i have in the last year fell in love with photography. Mostly taking pictures of landscapes and portraits. I still have a lot to learn. Your work inspires me to try new things. I recently watched a video on creative live. I learned so much from that class but the one thing that helped me was the way you explained how you come up with your ideas. You taught me to think in more creative ways and how to find inspiration. Thank you Brooke Shaden!!

  128. The biggest lesson I learned in 2015 has actually happened over the past two months.

    After I left the promotin passion convention, I had so much information to work with and didn’t know where to begin to implement it. Thats when my camera broke, and my cat also broke my computer.I had been given all of these new tools creatively but was unable to create anything with them. This gave me a lot of time to really focus on my direction for the coming year. Being completely stripped of my creative tools helped me focus more on what i want to say rather than what i want it to look like. I see it as a sign of complete renewal/rebirth as an artist.

    The community that you’ve created is unlike any other that I’ve been apart of and I am so thankful that you welcome all of us into your life. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and thank you again for being you!
    <3 🙂

  129. My biggest lesson was to never give up on my dreams and even though things don’t work out the first time, to keep trying. And to take as many photos as possible because you never know what you might capture 🙂

  130. My biggest lesson- You can only learn to fly if you take that first leap. This year I started to turn my hobby into a business. I never thought I would be able to do it but then I just took a leap and tried. Now I’m excited to try new things and not afraid to take risks and try something new.

  131. I appreciate your emphasis on developing us, your fans, as creative people. My biggest lesson has been to stop limiting myself with doubts and instead chase what really is a passion for me!

  132. I have been your follower for a while until now. I really love the way you create your visions, and the way you transform your imagination into reality. You have been an inspiration for me since I started creating art. And that’s my biggest lesson of 2015. I have started to care less about what could be wrong, and I have tried to live. And this new year, I will try again.

  133. I learned I truly should not settle, and that I should believe myself when my heart says it isn’t constructive criticism. Nothing fancy, but I’m always learning how to believe a little more. Thanks for the fun photographs and great advice!

  134. My biggest lesson of 2015 is that I’m worth more than I give myself credit for. I tended to talk shyly about my pricing, it’s been a process and will continue to be as I build up the confidence in myself about my work but I know when I speak confidently about my work, people will pay what I ask.

  135. My biggest lesson this year has been to not let fear stop me. I have learned to stop being afraid to talk to people, to approach people I would like to model for me, talk to business owners about shooting at locations. Fear held me back for so long

  136. What has been your biggest lesson of 2015?
    My biggest lesson for 2015 was to take better care of myself. If I am not well I can’t be as good a mother,wife,student, worker,or creative.I ended up having a health emergency and it forced my life to a stand still. Three surgeries latter and I’m on the road to recovery. I never knew how out of whack I was until I had to stop everything and get better. Being able to stretch that creativity in 2016 is part of building this new more health life by taking care of my soul in addition to my body!

  137. This year has been one of the hardest years ever and every lesson I learned was learned the hard way. The biggest ones I endured were:
    •Ask for help even when u want to shy away from criticism
    •the world is not going to be for you and you need to find you’re own way to happiness
    •spirituality is key
    •creativity is created by you and inspiration is just the unlit match to light the fire
    •when people are involved things WILL get messy (even if it’s just one person and even if that person is you)
    •when more people are involved things CAN get better depending on the people you choose to surround yourself with
    •Jesus is frickin the best.
    •also kids are great

  138. So many lessons this year. But the greatest perhaps has been to carve out little moments in every day for rest. The crazier life gets, the more I know I need these restful moments of reprieve to replenish heart, mind, body and soul – not always easy to do but everything suffers when all I’m doing is the “doing”! Happy creative new year!

  139. Such great lessons from everyone – and so many lessons in my own life this year. But, if I had to choose just one it would be the necessity to carve out moments for rest in each day. The crazier life gets the more I need these moments of restfulness for my own sanity. Life can’t be all “doing” and neglecting the “being”, Happy creative new year to all.

  140. I’m learning to live within my abilities – as someone with a chronic illness – and not hate myself for that. Sometimes I still fall down on that, but I’m getting better at forgiving myself.

  141. This year I’ve learned that it’s ok, if i can’t do and fix everything, and it’s ok to take a little time out for the things that I love and that brings me peace, I’ve learned that you can only forget about yourself for so long.. And life goes by to fast not to enjoy everyday..

  142. I have helped a lot of art school students during 2015. I did that over my health. They never cared what I was feeling or if I had the time for them. Once I asked for something in return they just hated me and cancelled the projects. When that happened I regretted every moment I had lost for them and wished I had used it for making my own art and probably selling more book covers during that time. So my lesson for 2015 would be to keep being kind , but in a fair amount and seize every moment of inspiration. Photography doesn’t hurt.

    In my opinion the best images you ever created where made with that dress and I absolutely love it!


  143. 2015 was a year of terrible loss and change. Every aspect of my life was uprooted. My routine and comfort zones were no more. But my world did not end. I learned that is is dangerous to become too reliant on things like routine. I learned that even when things you cherish are wrested from your grip, you just keep going on. I had become a prisoner on my rut. My biggest lesson of 2015 was learning to adjust to change and going with life’s punches. Have a great new year Brooke.

  144. This dress is truly stunning, I understand why it inspired you so much.

    My biggest lesson of 2015 is even when you believe you’re alone, you’re not. There’s always a light in the darkness.

    I had a surgery and I believed the change would make me happy, but I didn’t and I started to feel deeply depressed, I was crying all day long and regretting the act. And when I believed nobody could understand, many friends came to me, just to hold my hand and to tell me that everything’s gonna be okay. My family hugged me and let me cry on their shoulders. Now I feel better, I’m not good, but it’s better. And it’s getting better and better everyday thanks to them.

  145. My biggest lesson was to learn how to forgive. Not just people around me but also myself. Not to be so hard with myself allowed me to be better and more understanding with people, stop judging anyone including myself. Thank 2015:) Bring it on 2016.

  146. My biggest lesson of 2015 was that sometimes being lost is the biggest blessing in how to find yourself again. I just graduated college, Im planning to move, and Im searching for more artistic opportunities. I feel so lost in what direction to move forward, but Im learning more about the type of artwork I like to create, ther person I am, and what I believe in.

  147. Hi! My biggest lesson from 2015 is that I am enough. It has come to me through lots of hard work & no doubt will be a life long battle. But this year I have learned that I am creative enough to be considered a professional theatre artist; I am a good enough mother by trying my hardest every day, especially this year with my children struggling with their own demons; I am important enough to warrant not being taken advantage of, walked on, spoken to in hurtful ways; and MOST of all I am brave enough to get through anything life throws at me.

    In 2016 I will listen more to the voice inside me that wants to create, that makes my heart sing. I love this proverb – “A ship is safe when kept in the harbour, but that is not what ships are built for. ” I will be leaving my harbour to see what adventures await.

  148. My biggest lesson learned in 2015 was that sometimes the things you can’t change don’t need to be. Just let it go. (:

  149. A lot has happened in this past year…I have learned a lot, but most of all I have learned to be myself and to let go of my fears. Thank you Brooke for giving me the opportunity to connect with you and your community at your promoting passion convention and sharing your world with us. I can’t wait for 2016, its going to be EPIC! <3 Amanda

  150. When I started 2015 I said my word for the year was Brave. I sort of forgot about it until I started looking back and found that I had written it down. This year brought more that big events than I could have anticipated. I went to visit my abusive mother for the first time in 15 years in February, I signed a studio lease April 1, I hired someone to completely redo my brand and website in June, and my god mother of the last 19 years, her chemo stopped working in August and she left us in October. Not to mention being a single mom and running my business still.
    When I look back I know that I was fearful in so many ways and all the time. I realize that I often think that I am ‘not enough’ and operate from that place. But my biggest lesson for this year is that I truly was Brave. I lived up to that word that I had set as a goal. That I not only made it through huge loss and sadness, but I created some work I love, tried hard to learn and push my boundaries creatively, and am a wiser person for all of it. And that sometimes being brave means admitting how scary it can be to face what life is all about.

  151. I think the biggest lesson I learned in 2015 is to never give up…because sometimes it seems like it’s the end of the world and it really isnt so just keep shooting!

  152. The biggest thing I’ve learned in 2015 is that what I may have thought to be true for years is not necessarily so, and that constant curiosity of all that is around you is vital for healing and growth.

  153. The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is to take a moment each day and ask myself how I can make myself a better person today. Not just as a photographer but as a human being. This reflects in my work when I try to carry this positive attitude each day.

  154. My biggest lesson in 2015 was to let go of my fear. Working with my fear in a positive way and using my emotions to create instead of doing nothing and achieving nothing.
    By letting go I was able to create art, give lessons and help others as I bonus I was helping myself.
    So everyone in this community the best thing you can do to start the new year is to let go of anything that bothers you. Stop thinking about it, work with it in a way it helps you instead of holding you back.

    I wish you Brooke and anyone else who reads this a very passionate and free 2016!
    Lots of love

  155. Oh no. Stupid Facebook didn’t show day 3 on my updates. Anyway even though I’m too late it’s been a nice experience trying to look at myself. The lesson learnt is to always try. Even if I fail it’s best to try & know you’ve failed than always think what if.

  156. The biggest lesson I learned in 2015 was that I can be myself and do what I love without having to be self conscious about what others may think. My closest friend unconsciously taught me this through simply being with her and letting me be me without any judgement. I used to struggle with being shy but within the past year through the people I surround myself with, I learned to voice my opinion and be outgoing.

  157. 190 Comments that is so cool! 🙂

    For me it is one easy lesson… Commit and just do it, no matter what someone says about the idea! This is how I have always ridden freestyle BMX. If I am learning a new trick, I just push everything out of my mind and commit to the trick and do it! Most lot of the time this ends with me laying on the concrete in a lot of pain, but I never regret it! 🙂
    Then I listened to you saying the same thing about life, so I realized I was being a fool by not using this for my whole life, and now I have started. Thank’s again! 🙂

  158. Even if I am pass the time to enter this, I thought I would share.

    I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to not let my fear overwhelm me.

    I was very afraid in 2015. Fear of failing, fear of being stuck, fear of my book not going anywhere, fear of others judging my work and me, fear of not being able to conceive…etc.

    Towards the end of 2015 I realized the fear was what was holding me back. Instead of cowering toward it, I want to embrace it. That was my lesson and I intend to make it the change I make in 2016.

  159. Hello Brooke! The most important thing learned/embraced over this last year is to have gratitude for the people in my life and for loving the life I have. Life is good! The other thing realized is needing to “just do it” on the creative side and not think so much about what I need to do; just get busy and create something and the direction I need to go will reveal itself. Best wishes for you in 2016!

  160. Hello,
    It’s me, Fiona again, I really enjoy not just looking at your art works, but imagining. I’d say your photography artworks literally changed my life and point of view, ever since you started following my art account on instagram and I checked your profile, I feel in love with all the wonderland and fairy tales you’ve created. Last Christmas, I was truly surprised if how I asked Santa for your book, and he just, you know, I found it under my tree! Seriously, for that moment it thought I was the luckiest girl in my family (haha). Thank you :’)


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