Nude is a challenging theme, because it can overdone, done for the wrong reasons, etc. It should be noted that Implied Nude is an equal option here (and more friendly for social media). This could be anything – it doesn’t have to be full on! Nudity can be something subtle, tasteful, and artful. Let’s stretch ourselves to see what we can do here.

This may be way out of your comfort zone, but that’s why we’re showing up to these weekly challenges!

I’ll pull some of the art that I see this week to feature!
Use the hashtag #PromotingPassionChallenge so I can find you!

Here is some food for thought. Enjoy the challenge, and remember to push yourself creatively!

In the moss-covered lava fields in Iceland.
In a hand-made nest on a too-public hiking trail in Tucson, AZ!
One of my all-time favorite images!
Implied nude.
  • May 11, 2020 - 6:26 pm

    Gallagher Green - This is so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see my comfort zone from Nude Image. Between the challenge, my lack of time, and the cold wet weather, this may be the first one I don’t have an image for.ReplyCancel

I thought this would be a super fun challenge! You could use so many things as smoke or fire: baby powder, flour, smoke emitters, fire extinguishers, fog machines…and for fire: candles, lanterns, lighters, lamps, bulbs…

I just love the possibilities of this! Go to town!

I’ll pull some of the art that I see this week to feature!
Use the hashtag #PromotingPassionChallenge so I can find you!

Here is some food for thought. Enjoy the challenge, and remember to push yourself creatively!

Please forgive me for being emotionally raw in this post. I usually try to reign it in and focus my attention more to the point. But there is something I need to address that calls for some rawness.

In 2010 I started professional photography full time. My mind was filled with ideas of being in galleries and hosting workshops and writing books. I didn’t entirely understand then what I was building for myself.

I knew I wanted a career that was more than a job. I wanted a career based around community and inspiration, around passion. I felt that I was meant to do more than to create for myself, so I slowly began down a journey that lead me to the artist I try to be now. That is, someone who creates for myself and for others equally, who recognizes that my business, my career, my art is meant for more than just me.

In that process I opened myself up to a world that I never expected to be in; to a role of therapist. I don’t know a better way to put it, and I don’t want to actually liken myself to someone who has trained for that difficult job. But, everyday I am asked by strangers to take on their trauma and pain. Every day. Through social media, through emails, through letters.

By sharing my work openly and honestly, and as vulnerably as I can, I am inundated with the heartbreak of those who connect to my work. The images I create are not fun, and are not meant to be. They are dark, some. They are introspective. They (I hope) make us think.

And sometimes people connect with that in a way that feels very deep and personal. If that is you, thank you. Thank you for connecting with what is in my mind and heart on that level. That kind of interaction bridges the art I hoped to make with the art I am making.

But there is a side to this that I never talk about except to my closest friends. It is the trauma that I also have to work through in listening to other people’s trauma.

I’m almost embarrassed to write this.

I suffer a lot from compassion. I take on the anxieties/hurts/worries of people around me very easily. And over the years, the constant intake of other people’s troubles fills me with troubles. I am burdened. But I hate admitting it.

And I don’t necessarily want to change it. I believe I am strong enough to take on that responsibility. I want it. My greatest desire in this world is to be valuable to others, and I believe this is a way that I do that.

But it does hurt. From the dozens of people who have written to me to say they want to kill themselves, to the many more who say they are depressed or misunderstood. It hurts. I hurt because you do.

But more than that, I hurt because under all of these emails and letters is the plea – help me.

And I want to help, so much. But at some point I cannot take on the responsibility of healing. I can only provide the art that connects with you in a way that awakens something.

At what point is it too much to bear? When do I choose to stop taking on the trauma of others? Now? Later? Never? How much is too much? I genuinely don’t know.

Since becoming a foster mother I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold – non-essential emails being one of them. I used to respond to any email no matter what within 24 hours, and I was very good at it. But the emails are too many, and my time is so limited (I only work reliably 15 hours per week). It pains me that someone wrote to me this morning berating me for not responding to their (literal dozen) personal emails, but at some point you draw lines.

I guess my line is that if someone is in true need, I will be there for them. But sometimes, you have to let go of the expectation you know others have of you so that you can hold healthier expectations for yourself. To keep yourself healthy. To keep yourself going.

I fluctuate between extreme gratitude in the knowledge that it is a rare and special thing to connect on this level through art. I am privileged to have this relationship to so many. I receive many emails from people telling me that they feel they know me. In some ways, you do. My heart is in all that I do and say. It is in everything I manifest. And so you do know me.

And now you know the trauma I carry. Please forgive me for being emotionally raw about this. And thank you for letting me put this here in the open.

All love,

  • May 2, 2020 - 3:07 am

    Kate C - This is a really important subject you’ve written about, Brooke – taking on other people’s trauma. It is wonderful that people feel seen through your art and reach out; but I also think it’s an immense burden to hear/read/witness other people’s pain. And some of that pain is just too much. I hope you can find a good balance that works for you and allows you to feel open but also protected (as much as you can be, anyway). Perhaps motherhood also encourages an even greater sense of boundaries, for if our own cup is empty we can’t give to the little people who need us most.ReplyCancel

  • May 2, 2020 - 7:51 am

    Jen - Huge hugs on this Brooke. I understand, on some level, what you’re talking about in trying to help people coming out of the place I came from. It’s a difficult topic with no easy solution. <3ReplyCancel

  • May 2, 2020 - 5:03 pm

    Mejbritt - Dear Brooke!
    I have read “SECONDARY TRAUMA” by May 1st.

    First and foremost, you are an amazingly talented artist, a wonderful soul who helps countless of people around the world to stand by themselves and come out in the world with their art.

    I understand your pain.

    As I see it, it is very difficult when you want to help all people in need. It is ideally loving and empathetic, unfortunately we cannot help all people no matter how much we desire. You need peace and balance. I do not know any other person who is as welcoming and giving as you. I wish I was in your presence so I could heal you. I am a Reikihealer and I would like to distant heal you if you want. I want to do it as a beautiful gift from my heart to yours. But only if you wish, and otherwise I send you my loving thoughts.

    Promise to take care of you! Love and kind hugs from Mejbritt, MejFoto in DenmarkReplyCancel

Surrealism is defined by releasing the creative potential of the unconscious mind. The idea is broad, and the results are limitless – after all, that is the point of surrealism. To never be constrained by your own limitations, our own smallness.

I love creating surreal works. It lets you break free of your conscious mind. We could all use a little more of that.

I’ll pull some of the art that I see this week to feature!
Use the hashtag #PromotingPassionChallenge so I can find you!

Here is some food for thought. Enjoy the challenge, and remember to push yourself creatively!

Let’s talk about the artist’s evolution. As you continue in your craft – grow, change, repeat – your art will grow with you. It will evolve and expand and collapse. You will hate it and love it and hate it again. You will want to change it, and you will, and you’ll regret that sometimes, and you’ll move forward.

I’ve been a photographic artist for 10 years. That’s a DECADE, people! And in my fairly young life, that’s a third.

In a fortunate turn of events, I’ve also had an audience for those 10 years that I’ve been an artist. From just a couple of weeks into creating up until now, I’ve had people looking at, and commenting on, my work.

Which makes it understandable as to why I’ve heard this comment more times than is countable:

“I prefer the old you.”

In my career this has meant anything from “the you of 10 years ago” to “the you of last week”. And it used to bother me.

Can’t they see I’m GROWING?!

It doesn’t matter if you have a big audience or not. Anyone from your mother to a stranger on the Internet will likely tell you the same exact words sooner or later. Here’s why:

1. People change.
2. People hate change.

…And we all have opinions.

I’ve had periods of what I consider really, really bad art-making in my life.

2013. What a bad year. I look back at that year of my art and cringe! It was so flat, so boring, so not where I wanted to go.

But I had to make that art. I had to do it to move myself forward. To experience, to know that it wasn’t me.

I used to get upset when people told me they prefer a different style that I used to make. I thought it made me less of an artist. I’d second-guess my artistic direction. I’d let it consume me.

Imagine a friend calls you up and they say: You know, I really prefer your personality from a couple of years ago. This one just isn’t cutting it for me. I don’t enjoy being around you as much anymore.

That’s basically the conversation around art and change.
(That might have been a tad dramatic).

So it makes sense that feelings get hurt and that it stings a little to hear it.

As an artist, you want to yell back: “Don’t you see?! I’m doing the best I can!”

But you can’t, without sounding paranoid.

The fact is that we are doing the best we can. Even if you haven’t created in months, that’s the best you can do for yourself right now. You might look back in a year at this time and recognize just how much you needed a break.

Maybe you feel your style shifting and it scares you. Let it, but keep going. You never know where that will lead.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made some art that I don’t like. And I don’t blame you for not liking either. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth making.

Perhaps the most difficult part of being an artist with an audience is knowing that, inevitably, someone will tell you that you were better before. And they’re not necessarily wrong. I value every opinion. I don’t disregard someone because they think differently from how I do.

But I do know that the bad art is as necessary as the good. That where I am now is where I’m meant to be. And that where I’m going will remain fulfilling if I listen to myself…

…All opinions valid, none as much as my own.

  • April 24, 2020 - 3:23 pm

    Anna Bruce - Honestly? I like most of your work. There are seasons in your career that I gravitate more than others because of my own personal preferences. I am a photographer because of my life experiences and I gravitate towards more photographic images most of the time. The reason I like most of your work (I have to say most because your wedding cake piece was a bit questionable but I am so glad you shared it because it’s also hilarious) is because of you. You’ve put so much into your brand that is not just your art. And, in a way, just like someone’s personality can make us fall completely in love with them so can your personality make me fall in love with your art. I think this is why it’s so important for artists to share their process and themselves.
    I’ve definitely had people tell me they liked it when I was a wedding photographer more and I’ve definitely had people say that they thought I was super talented but they preferred people who actually painted canvases. Funny world. Anyway, you have a fan for life. Keep being you and the rest of us will follow through the ebbs and flows of your life. Some people will break off, some new ones will join and some will stay for the whole journey.ReplyCancel