Creating: “The Shadows We Follow”

Creating: “The Shadows We Follow”

Sometimes change is necessary to feel refreshed, inspired, and motivated. It could be something as simple as changing your daily routine. For me, back in November, it was changing my hair color. I made it white/lavender so that I could feel more like a fairytale character. However, after a couple of weeks, that color faded to a bright yellow, and I had lost the inspiration that came with the change. Once my travel schedule settled down I went back to get my hair done and said only one thing: “I don’t care what color my hair is, as long as it’s not yellow.”

We settled on a brown color, though which brown I did not know. I like bold change, and so I left the salon with dark brown hair…and I adore it. It is just the change I need to feel like a character again. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror I hardly recognize myself…I am a natural blondie after all. The other day I was thinking about this change, and although it is only superficial, had me thinking about more internal matters.

Noticing the stark contrast of my pale skin and the dark hair, I began to think about how white and black are perceived through symbolism. Very often the connotation is good vs. evil, and so I decided to create an image with that theme in mind. I used my hair to my advantage in this self-portrait, allowing it to pull me in one direction while my white dress pulled in another. So often we feel this pull: good/evil, life/death, right/wrong.

To create the image I photographed it on my patio, as I so often do, using my neutral wall as a backdrop. My hair was just dark enough against that gray color to isolate it and cut it out from the background to place it on one I photographed when I was in India a week or so ago. I started this shooting process by flinging my upper body forward with my hair to capture that portion. Afterwards, I began moving the dress behind me and capturing that movement.

Mind you, when I say “dress” I really mean “bed sheet”, as that is one of my favorite costumes. It is versatile, simple, and very inexpensive…my kind of costume! No matter how many dresses I buy, I always go back to different colored bed sheets as my favorite of all. There are so many possibilities with them!

Finally I knew that I needed a dust/dirt effect in my final image. I also knew that I needed to photograph something light for the dust on the dress and something dark for the dust on the hair. That was when I decided to photograph just one handful of “dust” – or in this case I used baking flour – and then invert the color when I needed to make it darker. By adding contrast to that shot, the background became darker while the flour became whiter, making it easier to isolate the flour from the background.

21 thoughts on “Creating: “The Shadows We Follow”

  1. Brooke, I really appreciate your sharing the details that lead to the final photo. I am always so inspired by your work. And I am learning so much from everything you share. Thanks for being so giving!

    1. Aww Rebecca I wish I could put into words how grateful I am for you being here and reading what I have to write, and for being so encouraging. Thank you! XO!

  2. omg I LOVE this image! And such a weird coincidence – last week’s theme for my 52 week project was “opposites” and I’m falling behind because I still can’t come up with anything. After talking to a few friends I thought I’d go with “dark vs. light” or “good vs. evil” but I’m still stuck. It’s so weird, but super awesome, that you posted this today!
    I keep going back and staring at the image, it’s so beautiful.

    I also know what you mean about changing your hair color. It’s been like that for me for a few years, whenever I need a change I dye my hair. I always go back to red cause it’s my favorite, but also because it turns to a weird orange/faded red so fast! But that small changes really does make a difference.

    Lots of hugs <3

    1. Oh how amazing!! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I know it will be fantastic! I love with synchronicity happens like this ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I love this, the contrast between light and dark is something I’ve been exploring as well. Bedsheets are awesome! I’ve been doing that or curtains for a while too ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing your process. I always love to see your posts in my newsfeed. I love your work and am grateful you choose to share it with the rest of us.

    1. Thank you Colette! That is so kind of you! Curtains, eh! I should give that a try. Though I think I might have a teensy problem with my husband if I start taking our curtains off the walls, so I’ll have to check out a thrift store ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Aww thank you dear! I just read your blog post about your father – how scary and just amazing that you got through it with such grace, and that you could turn it into an uplifting blog post. I will take this message with me from now on and do my best to cherish all of our days. <3

  4. โ™กโ™กโ™กโ™ก you are such an inspiration to all of us! I have been in awe of your art and watched your interview on Mimika’s page and creative live! As i transition to earn a living thru my photography it reminded me not to get caught up always chasing the $ and I need to start doing one creative shoot a month because that’s how I came to love photography so much is the art outlet! Thx you for sharing the process of your gorgeous art image! you rock!

  5. I just love this photo ! The work behind this photo is just so inspiring to see .The bed sheet idea I just soo clever and you created such an amazing dress that just blows my mind :O
    But your such an inspiration to me and hope to meet you some day in person ! ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

    1. Awww you couldn’t be any lovelier!! Thank you for your kindness, I also hope our paths cross someday soon!

  6. Brooke, thank you for sharing your process. Seeing you work inspires me to go out and create with my oh-so-limited budget. You make it so attainable. <3 <3 <3

    1. That is so wonderful Michelle! And you know, it really is attainable. So many people say it isn’t, yet to create, we need only to be creative! Don’t have Photoshop – use GIMP…don’t have a beautiful dress, pull the sheet off your bed! The ideas can be endless <3

  7. Hi Brooke!
    I love the image and the colors. I really like this tonality that you give to your images. And, also like the break dance movements. ๐Ÿ˜€ And how good it is, coming home from work and read another great post from you. Funny! I spent all day thinking that I needed a quick change, because these last two days I’ve been feeling down. I have so much to do, and not just talking about photography, and I’m wasting time doing nothing. I think my image about sloth, continues to affect me! ๐Ÿ˜€ And believe me just by reading this post I feel better and willing to change. Especially my routine! That must be it, change the routine to feel more refreshed. Tomorrow will be a good day to change. Thank you, Brooke.

  8. I love your work & CreativeLive classes! You have truly been an inspiration to get me out of a major slump. Thank you a million times over.

  9. Brooke – you are so amazing. I love your heavenly art and your down-to-earth approach. Been listeing to your Promoting Passion snips from last year and they are all so inspiring. Can’t wait to carve out some time to go out and shoot some. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for all you do!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *