Dreaming of Ophelia

Dreaming of Ophelia

When I think about who I am, I fall back and forth between two different characters. One is vibrant and happy while the other is more fascinating to me. She is not who I am, but who I dream of. She is melancholy, a dreamer, someone who longs to live in a fairytale world. She is spirit and ash. She rides the wind.

I have been creating so many images lately with heavy compositing, and I was loving that experimentation. I have no plans on stopping, either. But in that haze of image editing I decided to try for a simpler composition and shoot in my favorite spot in the forest. I went with my friend Kyna to take some photos. We had tea and chocolate and then sat in the ivy, burning candles and playing with wax.

Earlier in the day we visited a local Goodwill and found many books for the photo shoot. I bought about 25 of them and decided to make do with those. One that we found, which was extra special, was a huge anthology of Shakespeare’s works, with illustrations. It was incredible timing, as I was fashioning the character of the image around Ophelia.

When we got to the forest I opened up the Shakespeare book and turned to Hamlet where I found the page you see in the final image. I put a vine in her hair and posed her quite similar to the woman in the book, and decided to go for a play on characters: one mimicking the other.

To read is to escape; to become someone else; to wish for a new life. So much of reading is becoming, not just imagining. We can feel what they feel, and in doing so, become those characters, even if for a brief time. Escape, release, and imagination. These emotions are what books are made of. Enchantment.

Who are your favorite storybook characters?


11 thoughts on “Dreaming of Ophelia

  1. I absolutely love this, not just the story but the concept as well. I fell in love with Hamlet when I wrote my HSC English paper on the play a few years ago, and recently based part of my university photographic series around the same character. I always get so excited seeing other peoples interpretations. And I’m always in complete awe with your work Brooke, you’re an inspiration :):)

  2. you are so inspiring!! One of my favorite characters is Max from “Where the Wild Things Are” Hope you have happy holidays! Hugs

  3. I love this image so much. The wax on her hand and the beautiful book. What a great find at the Goodwill <3 Love it Brooke.

  4. Lovely photo as always. I too love to read. It helps me escape when times get rough, it teaches me new lessons, it lets me know that I’m not alone in this world. A book can be a magical thing. That’s why I decided to become a writer.

  5. This is whimsical and beautiful Brooke <3 I totally love all the little details you included and toning. In a way, I wish this was a self portrait as I think you being the character would have matched the drawing in the book… and well, you know I love self portraiture the most, but your model has a wonderful whimsical and nostalgic look about her expression here that I love it anyway 😉

    I think if I had to consider my favourite childhood storybook character, then it would be Cinderella. Having been bullied and often teased as a child, I felt I identified with her character the most…

    One of my favourite characters now would probably be Arwen from Lord of the Rings. I feel much of my work is often inspired by Lord of the Rings as a result.

  6. Hi Brooke, I’m a librarian from Croatia. I work at primary school and so thrilled with your awesome photos. This one is just …. BIG WOOOOW!!!!!!!!! Your ideas are so great and spontaneous.. I would like so much to see similar photo with kid envolved!

    Is that possible..? 🙂

    Best wishes and thank you for sharing your work!

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