Create Like A Beginner

Create Like A Beginner

Scroll for information about today’s giveaway, to watch the video, and read my thoughts.

I took a self-portrait class.

Even though I’ve created over 800 self-portraits,
even though I’ve taught self-portrait classes before…

I went. And I was a student.

Going to this class, taught by the gorgeous person Meghan Davidson, opened up two ways of thinking for me.

The first was one that I had to understand before I went. I’m a natural facilitator. I love teaching, love guiding people. When I went to this class – the first workshop I’ve ever properly taken – I had to put that aside. I wasn’t the one leading, and that is a role I’m not comfortable in.

Instead of walking into the classroom with a leader mindset, I embodied a student mindset. I decided to be curious, to keep an open mind, and to create something I never would otherwise. Watch the video to see what I ended up making (and more!):

The other thing I realized was what a gift it was to attend. To listen to another perspective on creating, to have my mindset challenged and pulled at. That is a gift that I’ve never given myself before. It was a beautiful experience.

This post comes in lieu of those two things: being a beginner + giving gifts.

I challenge you to create like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Even if you’re a professional,
even if you have been creating for 20 years,
even if you think you know your style,
even if you know your craft.

Especially if.

Go back to basics. Do something that scares you, that challenges you. Do something simple. Don’t feel the need to PRODUCE.

That is where this image came from. For me, it was a relatively simple image. I shot it close up, which I normally shy away from, and I didn’t rely on heavy-handed editing.

I covered my body in paint, used a little butterfly I’ve had for 6+ years, and I had fun. Simple, I-don’t-have-to-produce-anything-good FUN.

I tried new techniques in Photoshop, I tried new colors, and I didn’t hold myself to what I already know.

I began again, even though I had already begun creating self-portraits 9 years ago.

What would you do differently if you could begin again?

Scroll for GIVEAWAY!

This week I’ve been given many things, some emotional, some good for the soul, and some were just downright awesome products. I came home from a week away to find a new 3 Legged Thing tripod (this one, specifically) waiting for me as well as a new Microsoft Surface Studio home computer. I mean…


So, I’m passing it on. I really, really needed a new computer (mine was mid-combustion) and I was about to spend money on it. Now that I don’t have to, I’m giving away $150. Because I know this: Someone really needs it. 

If you’d like to enter the giveaway, leave me a comment. Tell me either: a bit about yourself or about a friend who you think could use this kind of a gift. 

And if you have the ability, pay it forward today.


59 thoughts on “Create Like A Beginner

  1. Hey, not commenting because I need it: someone else probably needs it way more than I need a lens, and even $150 can buy someone a camera to start growing their own passion!

    Thank you for years of inspiration, Brooke. Five years ago (or so), I was sitting in a cubicle, working my 9-5 job, watching your livestreams on CreativeLive, and taking notes after notes. Now I’m in Italy as a travel photographer. I’m learning and shifting into documentary photography because I want to be able to tell a story, a valuable lesson you brought home.

    Wonderful video as ever. Have a fantastic day! 😀

  2. I am definitely not a professional. I seem to be lacking a great deal on creativity which holds me back. I have been taking pictures mostly to capture memories for my three girls and myself. I have began trying to become more creative but often lose confidence in myself. I haven’t found my creative side yet I guess. Your advice is what I have been needing to here. Thanks!

  3. I’ve been following you since my 17th birthday and now I’m 22. Your work is really beyond our imaginations and sometimes I feel you’re not from us. Mind blowing ideas and superb skills. I think my class mate deserves this gift as she is struggling to pay her high school fee. She is already teaching kids after school just to carry her studies. Plus, she is inspired by you and decided to persuade her studies in art.

  4. Hi Brooke!
    My name is Rareș, I’m a bachelor student from Italy. I have been following you for a year now, more or less since I started photography. I have discovered you thanks to Creative Live and I even bought one of your amazing classes. I would like to thank you for all your kindness and all your lessons and inspiration. Recently I have organized my first exhibition, and I am really happy about it. I have worked on my project, #100unknownfaces,for a few months and a week ago I have managed to do this exhibition and even though is not a fine arts exhibition and the style is very different from yours, I truly believe that you, together with other content creators and artists have inspired and helped me in one way or another. I am going to be honest. I could use those money, I could use a new tripod or a website or some other stuff but I am pretty sure there’s somebody else out there who needs it even more than me so I just want to thank you and I hope you find somebody who really needs that kind of money. As always you are such a nice person and I wish you all the best!


  5. Definitely inspiring, your concepts are always so original and beautiful. I think if I were a beginner again, I would focus on that aspect. Creativity, concept, silence.

  6. Hi Brooke! You are amazingly sweet. You do so much to give back to the community, all that you share of yourself, how hard you work to do it, is simply beautiful. I myself am trying to get a computer saving for a used one to be honest. I need to be able to edit and have been struggling on my 13” laptop lol. And although I could use the help, I know there are so many more people who need it more. I just wanted to say you are appreciated for all that you give! Time, kindness, inspiration and skills you share so willingly, you are appreciated! ‍♀️ Thank you!

  7. Found you thru Creative Live. You provided awesome inspiration and knowledge in the Fine Art Photography course. I frequently rewatch parts to help me answer “what did Brooke say about that?”
    As a thought…perhaps that $150 could be used to help restock art supplies at a local school. The kids would love it and many individuals would benefit. 🙂

    1. My sister is a third-grade teacher, and the last school she taught at never had anything, it is so sad that these kids don’t get what they need. 🙁

  8. Even in a room by myself just me and the camera this is one of the hardest things to do. I have to get rid of “What people may think…” mentality. Thanks for inspiring and showing how easy it is to make art. I appreciate the video and hope you make more like it.

  9. Hello Brooke,
    Thanks for this post again. You never fail to inspire, not just as an artist but as a beautiful human. I’m so glad to accidentally find you a century ago cos you have really inspire me in a lot of ways. I was still a student that time and wanting to have a camera gear so I can also create. I don’t like asking money for my parents since they’ve done so much and my scholar doesn’t cover all the school expenses. So, I decided to find a summer job on our break. My phone wallpaper is you happily holding your camera, this was my reminder. I was able to buy a camera, a second hand one, but I love it. Fast forward to now, I’m still using my camera but the monitor of my eight year old laptop is dead. I borrowed my aunt’s monitor and connected it but there are white lines on the screen so it’s a hassle editing photos. I’m currently looking for a job now since I’m not emotionally healthy on the previous one so I don’t have the money to spend on fixing my laptop or buy a new screen. If I get picked, I’ll use it for that and maybe even buy a second hand lens, if there is still left. I’m sorry, I blab too much. I just adore you so much, Brooke. Thank you for reading. Hope you’re having a wonderful day! 🙂

  10. Brooke, I find your work very inspiring and have even experimented with some of your compositing techniques in my own work with much success. I certainly am a fan of yours on CreativeLive!
    If I were to begin again, I would certainly have pursued my photography much earlier than I did. I have worked many years in a high stress job, and photography allows me to relax a little and even come out of a shell that I had built around me. I enjoy the creative part of me that was bottled up in many ways working in a corporate environment.
    As for the prize, I would use the funds to invest in wardrobe for some of my subjects. Thanks again!

  11. Wow Brooke….I simply can’t believe that you are writing about the exact thing that I just published a blog post about as well today. That is amazing…
    I do try to start over, to be a beginner often even or should I say especially after 21 years of having been a professional artist.If I could begin again entirely, I would have not waited sooooo many years to start taking my passion for photography seriously.
    It was so much easier to start with something when I had nothing invested in it. When I started out as a soft sculpture artist, I did not have an income depending on it and could experiment to my heart’s desire. Now that I am trying to get my photography off the ground, the need for income often means I can’t do the things that I would really love to do, which is sharing my passion for the magical side of the reality and my seeking of stillness with the world. I would use the money to give me time to write a class so I can share what I am so passionate about. Have the most wonderful day
    Ellen X

  12. My good friend is a huge fan of your work, and a total weirdo that you’d love and appreciate. hehe, but it is true.
    She has bones and skulls all over her house, and never passes up the opportunity to take more home. Butterflies and snail shells, feathers and antlers – her home is a giant cabinet of curiosities.
    She’s a photographer, and her work was getting really creative and special this last year, until she found herself without a camera.
    Last month her dog passed away from cancer.
    She had two cameras, and she sold one to pay for her dogs chemotherapy when she thought he still had a chance.

    And then three weeks ago her old trusty camera finally broke, and she said the money that it costs to fix it is better spent on a new refurbished camera. So now she’s a photographer with no camera, trying so hard to get a new one asap.
    She’s been hustling hard to buy a new refurb, and is still taking care of animals, and her father.
    I’ve been wanting to do something nice for her for a long time, but didn’t know what. So I nominate her for the cash giveaway.

    She’s a great friend, and she’s just fantastic all around. Always puts others before herself, and now she’s in a bad spot because of it.
    She’s been saving up to buy a new (used) camera, and I know every little bit will help her reach her goals faster.
    I dunno if she’d like me posting this publicly, so I’m not gonna say her name or post a link to her site. But, I would sent it to you personally so you can see her work if you’d like.
    But again, I nominate my friend and you can use my email to get her contact information/website/email, etc…
    This would make her day, week, month and she wouldn’t even know what to do with that level of kindness.
    Thanks for being such an inspiration. I’m not an artist but I’ve appreciated your work for so many years. Found you on FLickr back when it was the thing. Keep on with it, Brooke!

  13. If I could start over again I would not listen to so many people of what I should be or should not. I should have listen to my heart and follow what really my passion. I like creating stories and telling it using photographs. I accomplished it by watching your videos and really learning from you. I made this comment just to thank you for all the inspiration you’ve given me. Through you I learned to express my true passion. I really do not need the $150 but if I happen to be the fortunate one, I would like to donate it to one of your organization that help victims of human trafficking.

  14. Brooke! You always look like your having so much fun doing crazy things lol Yay! Im glad your making a weekly video again! Ive missed them 🙂

  15. 1) What would you do differently if you could begin again?
    I would do it all again, but with far more gratitude and focus on the goal of making a living from my photography and writing. So many years ago, I strayed and created responsibilities I was not ready for. Today, I am the one keeping the roof over our heads and the food on our table while working at a full-time job and a part-time job that do not fill that creative “need”. I want to transition to doing more creative and beneficial work, but am having a hard time taking that leap. The plan is to be ready to go and off that cliff with both feet by the end of this year.

    2) Share why you or a friend could use the $150 giveaway!
    Why could I use the $150 giveaway? That is an interesting question. It would be something extra in the budget that would allow me to use it toward taking an in-person workshop like you did, something that will get me around creative people who are already living in the world I want to be living in.

  16. I am some what of a mentor to a niece Malayna as she enjoys photography. I would love for her to have a decent camera, but for now I have passed on an old one that a friend gave us. However, it would be great for her to be able to purchase a class of yours to inspire her and help her grow. Thank you for teaching us the fine art in photography.

  17. I would do most of my learning the same way (on the technical side). On the “rule” side, I would just take it under advisement only. Excepting, of course, things like DaVinci’s concepts of anatomy and the human body’s proportions and how the body moves. In portraiture, I find some things do look better because of human perception.

    In art – I would throw out the rules. I would say, “why not?” and “who said I can’t?” much more often. I would not worry about the results. I would build my business differently with less structure and forced concepts. I would be more free in artistry and ideas.

    As for the money, the Union Gospel Mission that helps the homeless could really use that money.
    Best Wishes

  18. Brooke, you’re such an inspiration and you never seize to amaze. I love the way you approach things with so much curiosity, never letting fear get in the way. I love you trying new things, always pushing yourself. Sorry for the fangirl rant. Following your journey truly inspires me to become better. I’m still at the start of mine , so for now I’m focusing on series and cohesion (and my 52 week challenge) but I will keep this message in mind so I never shy away from new things, new experiences and not putting pressure on myself with every image I make. Just to have fun is a good enough reason to make anything :).

  19. Hi Brooke! You are so incredibly inspiring and kind hearted. I remember when I first saw your photographs on Flickr. I had just begun taking photos and was trying to see what other people in the community were creating when I came across your self portraits. It completely blew open my mind about what photography could be and how we could utilize it. I saw so much vulnerability, humanity, and curiosity in your photographs. I have been an artist my whole life, but I had never before considered that I could use my own body as a tool of expression, and inevitably, healing. You showed me that photography could be used as a tool for self empathy, and that I could spread that love and acceptance to others.
    And now I am a month away from graduating art school and am about to be spit out into the real world, and I finally believe I have something real and genuine to say. Being an artist isn’t always comfortable, whether it be worrying about how you’ll feed yourself next week or worrying that your work is “good enough” ( but honestly, good enough for who?) But being an artist is incredibly rewarding as well, and with the right tools and support, I truly believe we can create more light in this world that seems so dark sometimes.
    Thank you for everything you do and are!

  20. Your post spoke to my heart. I have been shooting for a long time…about 18 years now. Had a rummage sale to pay for a camera, and started my business up right away to pay for the $800 course I took. Portraits are my mental therapy.

    We have six children, and photography has always been the one thing that is all mine. It has helped pay for groceries and bills while my husband went to school to pursue his own passion (he’s always wanted to be a teacher–we married fairly young).
    My husband finally got a job as a woodshop teacher at a small public school, but it meant a huge pay cut from his desk job. I need to REALLY up my business. My husband doesn’t gift me photography equipment….I’ve earned it all myself and am proud of that, but now I need to kick my sessions up a notch, and I definitely something better for editing before my MacBook pro dies…and it’s getting there. It’s died once already and my techie son brought it back to life. It has a cracked screen, and if the cord comes out, the computer completely shuts down (replacing the battery didn’t help). Haha…but I’m milking it for all it’s worth (trying hard not to buy one on credit)

    This past Saturday, after feeling stressed and really down for months, I did a shoot for ME. I had a girl come, and I dressed her up and did her makeup and she looked and felt beautiful, and I felt everything all over again. It was like I forgot what that feels like. Now I’m hungry again. I kind of feel guilty when I shoot and don’t bring in money… time is limited—I homeschool 3 of our kids, we’re finishing up an addition on our house that we started 3 years ago, and sometimes my brain is just mush by the end of the day, and it’s hard for me to justify my “me” time when things are tight. But we’re working it out, and a “me” shoot once in awhile is SO GOOD.

    This was a beautiful post, beautiful self portrait. Thank you. I’m sorry that I basically wrote a novel here. 😛

    1. Hey Sarah, I think it’s great you both pursue your passion, even if it means you have to work with the time you have and make sacrifices. And I mean 6 children of which you’re homeschooling 3? That’s a LOT to take on. I hope you can find the time to plan more You-shoots since I think it’s important to give your creativity an outlet. Because you’ll be happy when you do. And when you’re happy, you’ll accomplish more. At least that’a my opinion. Keep up the great work and good luck with future shoots!

  21. Brooke there is so much to comment about here; the butterflies start as hungry hungry caterpillars and magically transform, if they’re lucky, into beautiful fluttering pollinators. They get some help along the way; the plants they feed upon, sunshine, soil, water, shelter… People also need help in their journey through life! We can tend a butterfly garden, but at some point the butterfly floats away and you just have to let it go and live it’s own life.

    I’m so happy to see you’re getting the tools you need to do your art: it’s teally a gift to all of us! It’s hard to write this, and something I probably need to work on, but since this is a giveaway contest, we could use the prize money to put towards a camera since our old camera is finished.

    It’s too awkward and painful sometimes to look back and think about what I would have done differently. Instead I focus on my new project which is getting back to my original goals of filmmaking. I am outlining my first professional feature film screen play! It’s never too late to be creative!

  22. Hi Brooke, I never comment on things like this but felt inclined to do so, so here I am! I’ve had a lovely day celebrating my wedding anniversary & probably don’t need your gift as much as another may but after my camera breaking 6 weeks ago and it still in for at least 2 more weeks, I figured why not try? I complained to my repair man about having to use the college camera for my final major assignment which I now cannot loan again as it’s booked out on others final majors & he’s promised me 2 weeks longer & loaned me his d4s – fabulous! So imagine my dismay to get it home & realise it runs off a compact flash and not sd & I don’t own one! I literally cannot afford to buy one with framing and printing costs for final major plus repair costs for my camera (d610) so figured yes I don’t need as much as others but why not try? Not being able to create is making me stifled & anything’s worth a try st the minute! I love your work & your humbleness and hope one day to be as inspirational to others in both art and humanity. Xx

  23. Hello Brooke,

    Ever since I first saw your creative live workshops I felt very curious about your style and what you create. It amazes me how you can be so honest, raw and share your passion and thoughts so easily, or at least it looks like it is easy.

    I love photography and how it can serve to many purposes, right now I am very far from where I would like to be in a creative point of view, I know I need to let myself try and fail, and that will give me more confidence about sharing regardless of what people would think. I feel I can write to you because you seem to care about people and take the time to read and answer all of our comments and I appreciate that in someone that I think is great and successful.

    I want to come to the PPC2018 and this give-away will be very helpful for that…in any case thanks for paying it forward, you have a big heart…hugs

  24. OMG! This is strange! LOL
    I create digital art. Having retired early with a disability, some 14 years ago, I dove in, head first, to Photoshop and translating my art into digital. This, obviously, requires a PC, and one that can handle Photoshop!
    I have managed all this time with whatever PC I could get, afford, manage to fix or have fixed. I’ve gone through many fixes, plus, three replacements and as many EHD’s!
    I find myself at an impasse, now, however. My PC is fritzing and I don’t know how I am going to replace, or fix it. I belong to Photoshop Artistry Group, among others, as well as, doing promotional work for several digital scrapbook designers. (Teams of us create layouts with new kits to help promote those kits. We get the kits for free for our services. The practice is fabulous!!) I stay active is my point. I make no moneys whatsoever from this. I’ve found a niche for myself among the online digital artistic communities. That is what keeps me going!
    I honestly don’t know where to turn. I have gone without getting on Photoshop a lot lately because of my PC’s issues. I find myself in a terrible funk! I need to spend my muse’s energy! I can’t do this! LOL
    Seriously, I thought about a GoFundMe page, but, that feels so selfish, somehow. I could not believe it, then, when I read this post! Some way to obtain a PC that is almost possible! LOL I know there are so many needy folks and folks who have things much worse than I do. I wish them all the best!
    But, on the off chance I could win, it would help me in more ways than imaginable!
    Thank you, Brooke!

  25. I really like the different self-portrait style, you did a great job. It is always fun being a beginner again, I am trying to inlay some brass into steel and the learning experience has been great! 😀
    What kind of paint did you use? And does it wash out well?

    And as for the giveaway, the next thing I am saving for is my train ticket to PPC.
    But I really just want you to make a video about the new computer and how it works! I love a good computer!!! 😀

  26. I’d gift it to my artist daughter and her artist kids to remind her to believe in her art heart and go buy some supplies and just make art and be art. Nice thought, this. eh? blessings.

  27. Back in the year 2013, I found you on the internet. I was really amazed with your photography and you as a person. You inspired me to do self-portrait / photo manipulations and it is really fun. I truly adore your art, looks surreal, but the feelings are real. Keep being inspiring!

  28. Ive been doing photography for the last 11 years and got so burned out and stopped creating anything new for a long time… and for the first time ever Im refinding joy in creating stuff that is just for me, even though its provocative and probably offensive to some, but its what my soul has longed to do and Im finally doing it. And now Im having to learn things new – mainly right now how to get myself in focus for self portraits – I have no idea just yet, but Ill keep pushing! Would love some tips if you have any – thanks!

    1. Hey Addie, so great you’re doing self-portraits as a way to find joy in photography again. I had trouble finding the right kind of photography for me and felt like a failure for a long time until I started taking self-portraits, just for fun, just for me. You can use a prop, a chair, a pillow, another person and manually focus on that/him/her?
      Good luck and most of all enjoy! I’d love to see your work :)!

  29. Am I the person in most need? No. But could I use the help? Absolutely! I joined Promoting Passion in 2016, and am hoping to return in Joshua Tree. I left PP2016 feeling so inspired, but my direction was not quite there. I have turned a creative page and need some creative bonding time under the incredible umbrella that Promoting Passion helps cultivate. Thank you, Brooke, for giving back in so many ways!

  30. What a wonderful take a way! Create as if you are beginning again! It’s always nice to have your world slanted to change perspective and I think this comment did it for me, so thank you. Thank you for paying it forward as well, I’m a strong believer in that. (Please don’t enter me, I know there are so many that truly deserve and need it!)

  31. Hi Brooke!

    It’s Sam again.

    First off I want to say I am VERY shy about asking for money and it is something that I NEVER want to do. But I am going to do it because I am in a position where I need to put myself first. Let’s start with the fun question though!

    What would I do if I could begin again?
    I still feel in some ways, I am still in that beginning stage. I am still figuring out how my voice, perhaps even my style. I am SO excited to finish school and have much more TIME to create. But one thing I would definitely do differently is allow myself to create things without any expectation of social media responses, likes, and honestly just spend more time playing with different subjects. I feel like I was exclusively focused on levitation photography for several months when I started, and I wasn’t really open to other types of photography. If I restarted, I also would have loved to cleared my mind of the thoughts of “what can I do with my gear”, because now I realize gear is perhaps the least important part of making an image.

    The part I am uncomfortable about asking for:

    As I have mentioned, I am making a huge life-changing move across the country, possibly as early as June (OH my gosh!). As reality slowly begins to settle in, so do expenses. There are several expenses that I am beginning to realize add up quite a bit. First, I realize I need new suitcases to bring all of my clothes with me. Next, I am going to need to buy a new desk, and other items for my new apartment. I also need to pay for the plane ticket for me just to get there, and I would definitely appreciate some help. $150 would actually pay for almost half of my plane ticket, which would be a HUGE help. Or it would allow me to buy a new set of luggage AND a desk.

    I look forward to seeing who you choose.

    Thank you for being the youiest you!

  32. Brooke, I think your work is amazing and you’re truly inspiring in many different ways. You’re already giving a lot to the world with your art and imagination, it’s very generous generous of you to also give away some money. I’m going through a financial shortage right now, but to be honest, if I had $150 extra I would totally spend it by taking my younger brother to the cirque du soleil (he’s coming to visit me from Brazil next month and he always wanted to go to one of their shows… I was saving to take him but some unexpected situations are making it very difficult right now).

  33. Hi Brooke.Thanks for your inspiration and sharing your passion. I Remember, when I saw you on CreativeLive first time, maybe a year ago… I though this girl is insane…, but in some minutes, everything changed 🙂 I was insane… I couldn’t stop watching you,…that night was long… I haven’t slept 🙂 and from that day, everything changed… I quit my job, I bought a camera… and…it is not so easy as it seemed 🙂 it is hard work. as someone said – if you buy a camera, you became a photographer, if you buy a violin, – you own a violin. I own a camera 😀 Every day I watch one lesson on CreativeLive. A little bit basics, all courses on photography in live, and these steps are soooooo small. I would love to purchase your course, and a book, where is your art- Impossible photography… I could dream a lot, what I would do if…. 😀
    Thanks Brooke, for all the things you do, and for your beautiful art. And I hope to meet you one day in a person. 🙂
    P.S ( I apologize for my English – I am Latvian, living now in Italy)
    Have a nice day.

  34. For a long time I felt as though my creative expression was hindered in some way. I could feel this energy building up inside me, propelling me to create, and yet I could not really do it, and later I came to realize it was because I was using that energy in all the wrong ways. I’m a portrait artist at heart, and working as an illustrator would have me create portraits for a living, but nonetheless it never felt like a true expression of mine – it was all very mechanic, lifeless, the reproduction/execution of an idea rather than its creation, which at the end of all days would leave me drained and frustrated, depressed, unsatisfied. It was only recently that I made the decision of beginning again, which is something that may seem very counterproductive when you think you have anything figured out, but that is, in fact, extremely rewarding, as you’ve been discovering yourself! It was the best decision I have ever made! I decided to begin again by putting creative expression as my priority, and so I left behind all illustration works and turned to fine arts with all my heart and soul. The first surprise was to discover I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and within the possibilities contained in the unknown I found so much excitement and joy, it just seem to have brought me back to life. I’ve never felt as excited and happy as I’ve been the past few weeks, when I have been creating and learning just for the joy of it. The only little downside of all that is that my finances are still to catch up with the changes, and so the money could very well help me keep going and meeting my expenses, which goes for bills and rent and supplies that I need to continue to follow the path I have only just stepped into.
    I sincerely admire your work and what you’re doing is simply beautiful and so very inspiring, I hope you will keep that curious spirit alive and continue to expand your creations to its fullest. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for giving back to this amazing community – we’re all in this together, and what little thing you’ll do for one will always work in benefit for the whole. Much love to you!

  35. This is beautiful Brooke 🙂 I love the tones & the texture. I have this rose gold metallic body paint around, you have inspired me to finally experiment with it! It looked like so much fun in your video 🙂

  36. Hello Brooke! I’ve been following your work for more than a year now, and even saw your Fine Art Portraits class from Creativelive. You have inspired me and my friends in ways I cannot even describe. I am a student of Graphic Design in Merida, Venezuela. Fortunately, I am in a relatively good position regarding money in comparison to my classmates… which is why it pains me to see so many talented people with such limitations because of the situation our country is in. If I happen to obtain the money, I will use it to organize a contest in my Faculty of Arts (Universidad de Los Andes), possibly a fine art / illustration contest + fine art photography contest, in order to give the money to someone who is a passionate and great artist, and wins the prize. If that should happen, I would document everything and take pictures of the event in order to show it to you and share it. 150$ may not be a lot in the US, but in Venezuela it is really a lot of money, that could help a student to buy medicines, food and keep on going with his/her arts and crafts. It could help the winner to begin again, and to believe in his/her craft… to rebuild passion and to believe that dreams are possible, even if the situation in our country is more than difficult. Thank you so much for your work, you’re an inspiration to many!

  37. What a wonderful thing to do! In essence, I am starting again. I have always loved Self Portraits and was drawn to Cindy Sherman in High School. I did a lot of self portraiture in college but never composite. In the last year, I have been starting all over again. As a portrait photographer who got really great at studio and natural light portraits, composite portraits of myself are completely new. I edit them in a new way than I would my studio portraits and of course shoot them differently. In studio, I love shooting with my 50mm between 2-2.8 and I shoot very close up. With my self portraits I shoot with my 24-70mm around 4.0 and very far away. I am used to creating many images with my studio where as my self portraits I shoot many images to create one final piece. If I won, I would donate the money to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (where I adopted my two kittos). Animals are my weak spot and this amazing shelter provided me with the two most amazing cats I could have ever asked for. But also being from Venezuela, I would give it to Yuliana (above) who is currently living in Venezuela where things are so hard right now. You can’t even get basic necessities and it is so dangerous there. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given in life and for having moved to the USA before things got really bad there. I know that who ever wins this generous gift, will do amazing things with it. Thank you for being you.

  38. When I was first starting out with self portrait photography, one of my main setbacks was self consciousness. I was terrified for people to see me, to really see me, mind and body. Because of this, I held myself back from creating dozens of ideas I had floating around in my head. Because of my fears, I dimmed my creative light. Eventually I started caring a little less, realizing that my art is not about my body; it’s about my heart. I’m still self conscious, but I care less about what others think of my body, and I am freer to create the things I see in my head. If I could start over, I would work harder on loving myself, and creating despite my fears. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I know that there are definitely others who need the prize much more than I do. I’m just happy being able to see your works and watch your videos. Your spirit is so kind and genuine, your art is honest and beautiful, and you’ve truly inspired me beyond words. So for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3

  39. I’ve always been sick (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, IBS, etc) and I’m getting worse (almost 40 years old). I love photography but the most, photo manipulations. I can’t do all I have in my mind, but I continue trying over and over again. I don’t give up!
    I can’t work and that extra money would be amazing. I have so many problems out of my health that something nice it would be a big motivation. Even just a few words from you. That would be amazing ^^
    Thanks for all your work, your kindness and motivation.
    Hope life continues being good with you and all the people you love.
    Much love,
    PD: I’m still trying to improve my English after 5 years living in USA. I’m a mess XD

  40. I would us the money toward fixing an old Rolleiflex I picked up. I’m going to begin shooting film which I haven’t done since I was a kid. I’m so excited to begin this mew journey!!

  41. I would use the money to create some photo art I’ve been wanting to get out in the world ❤️ it’s been a tough few months money wise so any props and costumes would make so much of a difference. You’re an inspiration, Brooke!

  42. Even though I’ve had nothing but bad luck and major bills this year: broken ankle (no insurance, missing work, I am my only income), fridge died, toaster died, dryer died, car needed repairs, may be losing my studio space so will have to pay higher rent besides moving everything (what’s next?!!)…I’m not nominating myself. I’m nominating a friend.

    She moved to my area a few years ago for a guy that turned out to be mentally abusive. She got away from him but suffers PSD from that experience. Last year she started having bad luck. Large car expenses (still needs more fixed), lost her job that she loved (even though they have kept her on in other departments, she didn’t have full time at first), worrying about her adult children, and I know there were more issues. She has been trying to save up to buy a newer camera but the financial difficulties haven’t allowed her to save up.

    She is also fabulous at drawing, but she hasn’t been doing much drawing because she is feeling so down. At least my broken ankle got her to draw some. She gave me a sneak peek at something she is drawing for me (I was blown away at what I saw).

    Wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for her. She tries focusing on the positives out of everything, but we all know how hard that is when it is one thing after another going wrong.

  43. Hi Brooke, What I will do with 150$? Well I will paid it foward also by buying treats for models who will shootin TF this summer with me. I in the developping mode of the new me. I will try to push my limits and do conceptual photography for almost the first time, at least at those levels. Have a great day

  44. I find this so interesting that so many people are not needing help and so kind and willing to pass it on. In reading this I feel ashamed of the fact that I do need help. I had a Nikon D300 for as long as I can remember. They fit in my hand so well. About three months ago it died and I died with it. It is my passion and I have been doing photography for over 30 years. My shutter just gave up. It would cost to repair more then the camera is worth. I don’t have what I need to just run out and purchase a new camera so I have been saving and still need more funds to make it a reality. I would love to purchase a D800 but that is really pushing my dreams so I settled on a little more realistic D7200. I am close, but not close enough.
    I wish I had met you when I started photography I would be amazing by now. I love your work, your outlook on life and your inspiration. Thank you, Brooke, for all you do.

  45. Hi Brooke,
    I’ve admired your work since I was about 15 or so. It’s been great to see you grow, and I often find my own work in film to express similar topics and emotions you portray in your work. I’m sorry about your laptop, but I’m glad Microsoft came to the rescue! Keep being you and doing the great and unique work you do!

    As for the $150, I would do it so I could see my fiancé again…We’ve been separated by distance for nearly 5 years now and were supposed to be married 5 months ago, but there was a problem with my visa application to the US. Since I am not allowed to enter the USA while my new application is processed and he can only fly to Europe this summer to see me once, I would spend the money to meet him in Vienna where he will be doing research. It’s a very simple wish, to be next to the person you love the most and are separated the most from, but it is also a privilege most people do not appreciate. To me it means everything to be able to physically be in my fiancé’s presence, to be able to hold him, instead of crying because I cannot remember what it feels like to be held.
    On another note, whether I’d get $150 or not, I hope you keep creating the work you do. It speaks to me on a completely different level, processing hidden feelings or thoughts, rediscovering things about myself, and I often find myself inspired by your work when I try to make films.

  46. Hi. I’m john from the Philippines. I have started to take interest in photography since I was 15 or 16. Back then, my parents were not in good terms then eventually decided to separate. I’ve been left with the responsibility to look after my siblings since I was the eldest. I was depressed that time and was thinking about negative things but I would say that photography saved me. I took photos and it ‘opened my eyes’. I felt like I am seeing the world for the first time. Whenever I feel sad, I would just walk and notice details about things that I’ve never noticed before. There’s always this urge to take a picture of something. I don’t know but I am hooked. It greatly helped me in going through my life and I learned to appreciate the things I have and people that I interact with. 🙂 I took my photos with my phone and I think it will be better if I have a camera. ^^

  47. Hi Brooke!

    You probably don’t remember me, but I took your workshop in NYC like 5 years ago. It was awesome and totally stirred a life long love of photography!

    It feels a little weird asking for the money in this giveaway (as I’m sure there are always so many more people who need it!) But right now that type of money would certainly be helpful. Sadly, back in November (two days before thanksgiving) my apartment burned down. By the grace of god the things that matter to me most – my partner, neighbors, our cats, and photo equipment all survived…but it’s been a rough few months: we had to move in with family far away, have none of our own furniture, and have been struggling living week to week.

    $150.00 isn’t a life changing amount of money, of course, but just thinking off the top of my head: for us it would either a) cover a month of groceries. or b) let us take a weekend air bnb trip upstate to get away for a weekend and take our minds off how hard these past few months have been. Either of those things would make me and my partner super happy. 🙂

    Whomever you give it to though, I know it will be someone who deserves it very much and I am already so happy for them!

    Have a great day. xoxo


  48. I don’t need the money – although I can’t justify spending any money on photography – I would like a calibrator for my laptop, but considering people that are struggling to live, I can wait. I have to say something about your going back to your roots and a lesson I have learned and hopefully resonates with others. I used to be a painter and had no hindrance to ideas when I was younger. After a long break bringing up my daughter, I thought I could just switch this creativity back on. I learned that I didnt have the patience with the paints, so thought photography would be ideal for me. However, I learned that my struggle was with the creative process. I have shot many landscapes, many weddings etc and got caught up in the process rather than the creativity and realized that this was because I had lost the avenue of creativity. Realizing this and armed with an abundance of technique I turned to creativity, but soon learned that one’s unique “creativity” or “storytelling” (that feeling of complete assurance that you are tuned into what you are here to do) isn’t something you can just switch on at will. I have come to the realization that the creative process is blocked by resistance, trying too hard. There seems to be a frequency that you have to tap into to have that ecstasy that comes with the creative process. How to get there, stick a toe in everywhere and don’t commit yourself until you have electric shock feeling. Classes are good, but the key may well be going back to your roots with ease, doing other things that make you happy because creativity. happiness and joy are the same frequency. and eventually the ideas will come.

  49. Brooke! I love to read you, is like a good way to give me an impulse for the week. I’m from Paraguay and here to live or pay bills working with art is really hard. I’m learning mostly online and improving in every way I can. Thank you for you weekly newsletter. Love!

  50. You recently said you returned to your darker roots, primal inspiration, I think it is a wonderful decision, these darker images also are the ones among your pictures which inspire me, love the recent one with the tested out spine, the series from Creative Life Fine Art course, the one with two “sisters” in white on the escalator, these really resonate with me. I totally understand the decision to start learning anew, even the greatest artists may be threatened with stagnation at some point, although I believe an artist usually, as George Crewdson once said , has only one story to tell, you still need keep discovering the means to do so.
    I always used to write then turned to photography after some sort of a crisis, as much I love it, it somehow feels nearly like esciapism compared to writing. Remember you saying once that self portrait makes you feel the full ownership of the picture , I feel the same and find self portrait most fulfilling, although love portraits in general, unlike you I’m drawn to faces. I started simply. Just learning craft on Portraits it now moving slowly more towards a concept, a story .
    It has not been easy to reconcile creating with hated full time office job, chronic fatigue and pilling debts , life seems to be pushing against art and art against life, who knows which and to what extent will win in the end…

  51. Brooke, you are truly inspirational, both as an artist and as a human being. Thank you for sharing yourself so honestly with the world and for paying it forward! A week ago I met and became the assistant for a local artist. Twenty years ago he suffered traumatic brain injury when his car was hit by a truck while waiting at an intersection. He lost relationships and his life went from being a dentist and teaching classes at Harvard to being unable to read or write. He was bed-ridden for a year after having back surgery. Art had been a part of his life since childhood. Even as a dentist, he worked on art projects as a hobby. He used dental material such as alginate impression material to make masks of his friends’ faces and melted down old gold fillings to make jewelry, such as wedding rings. Since the accident he has not been able to work but has been able to create art. But even his art has changed and he believes it’s for the better. His colors are bright and his subject matter is both what is physically around him and the moment he is in. His work is happier and he is more prolific than ever before. He is 73 yrs. old now and wants to share his art and positive outlook on life as well as support and inspire others with disabilities. If chosen, I would give the $150 to him to continue his work.

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