Promoting Passion Video Blog: I AM ME

Promoting Passion Video Blog: I AM ME

I have been thinking a lot about self-portraiture and why I adore it so much. It certainly isn’t because I love being in front of a camera or because I adore the way I look. It goes far beyond our traditional standards of beauty and into the realm of self-discovery, which is so much more beautiful than what any industry can tell me. Self-portraiture is a way of putting yourself in your imagination and becoming the character of your story. It is the ability to understand your own strengths to create an impactful image. It is so much more than meets the eye. It is your own personal declaration of pride, love, and strength.

For these reasons, I am starting a project entitled “I AM ME” which makes the very clear statement that we should be proud of who we are no matter our differences. The most powerful message of self-acceptance must come from within, and if at all possible, that message should be spread far and wide.

What I ask of you is this: Create a self-portrait. It does not have to be personal, or it can be the most personal thing you have ever photographed. It does not have to be traditional, but must feature you (or part of you) in some way. Along with your self-portrait, I want you to finish this sentence with one word: “I am ________”. 

In the comments of this blog post I want you to share your self portrait by pasting a link and writing the sentence “I am _________”. The deadline is March 15.

It can be incredibly scary. It might be less scary than you think. It might be very difficult to push past how you see yourself to see the truth: your physical beauty is irrelevant. By not seeing yourself for the person you are (a beautiful and unique individual), you buy into the idea that there is a universal standard of beauty.

Let’s not. Let’s do something to change it. Let’s decide, all together, right now, that we can be the main character in our stories. I sincerely hope you’ll join me on this.


249 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Video Blog: I AM ME

  1. Hi Brooke!

    It’s funny because the photo thats in the link below was made the day before you posted this but what is awesome is that you were describing the way I felt when I took this picture. I was unsure of myself. I had become so used to taking pictures of others, I had forgotten how much fun it can be to actually be in front of the camera. Even though I did have some trouble getting the camera to focus on me and not the background it was worth the experience 🙂

    Your work is amazing and I love your videos!

    “I am determined”

    1. Hi Liam! I love your self-portrait because of how expressive it is – everything from the emotion to the lighting speaks to me.

    2. I am hopeful!

      Hey Brooke,

      I am from Belgium and I am so happy that I found your pictures 2 years ago. I have never seen something like that befor and I started to take pictures. You encouraged me and make me feel comfortable, when there were times i stopped believing in myself and had doubts. I hope one day I can turn my passion to my work, even it will be a hard way. Thank you for all your inspiring works and words.

      MY PHOTO : out of the underwood
      (rise whit all your emotional baggage and leave them behind, get a destination)

    3. Hi Brooke,

      I just found out about you today from a classmate during class. Your work is really incredible from what I have seen so far. I don’t know what else to say other can’t wait to read more of your posts learn more about your work and you. Ha

      “I am so unlimited and full of so much light, joy, and happiness”

      Here’s my photo “Radiant Smile”

  2. OH I love this project. It is amazing and so inspiring. It has made my insides jump because of the beauty of the meaning of this. I have struggled with this theme. I was always scared to do self-portraits…but as always…was inspired by your work and the work of so many amazing photographer friends. I am in week 4 of my self-portrait project and I just finished last week’s image this morning. I am in love with it. I am falling in love with my work as I slowly discover my style and my dreams. I am falling in love with who I am. Because I AM ME.

    Here is my image:

    Thank you for this. Your image is incredibly beautiful! <3 xoxo

    1. Hi Brooke,
      I am from Estonia. I`m sorry that my english is not so good,but i hope,that you understand me 🙂
      Some time ago I found you randomly from youtube. I could`nt stop before I looked through your entire channel. You inspired me so much.I`m very shy and self critical person.You encouraged me to express myself and step over my biggest fears.
      Photography is my hobby,i have so much to learn,but I enjoy it so much.
      This is my first self portrait i have ever done.I call it “Escape from reality”
      I am Me, I am fighter.

    1. Martin, I think this is such a unique image and I could stare at it for minutes on end, taking in the rich details. Indeed, this image portrays the freedom that you speak of.

  3. I get so excited when I see that you’ve posted a new post/video! It always makes my day.
    That image is so so beautiful, I love it so much. It might just be my favorite one of yours.

    I’ve been doing mostly self portraits (partly cause of convenience, and partly because like you said, I love putting myself in other worlds). I have an idea in mind that I wanna submit for this project but I haven’t done it yet, so as soon as I do, and if it works out, I’ll come back and post it here 😀

  4. Brooke you are such an inspiration to me, you make me believe that I can be somebody important and my photos will and can matter. You inspire me to be better and be better then myself. I love your work and the person you are. You’re great please keep making this world beautiful with your work as I soon hope I can accomplish myself someday.

    I am who I want to be and who I want to become. I’m trying hard to be better at what I love which is photography, I’m trying my best to get my skills higher then I’ve ever imaged they could be. I want people to make up stories with my art even if it’s not the story I was trying to tell, I want more beauty in this world and that is why I want to be a photographer a fine artist creature, conceptual artist.

    1. Michelle, you ARE somebody important…and it isn’t even a matter of if you can be someone…you already are. And sometimes that extra bit of time is just for you to realize it. I think your self-portrait is lovely and the books are a good representation of fantasy and exploration.

  5. I am alive.
    Last year was hard for me, but I have grown as much as I have never before. There have been obstacles where I couldn’t imagine a way to get through, but living day by day, taking step by step I am where I am now which is truly magical.
    I have taken this self-portrait in a moment of greatest fear and despair, I felt broken and numb, unable to stand, so I decided to let go and float into a world of peace and security. I put all my emotions into this picture and I could transform fear into hope. This is the biggest gift I could ever make myself.

    1. Annamaria, this is absolutely stunning and so unique. I love the perspective and colors and shapes. And truly it does say “I am alive” – it is an amazing embodiment of that sentiment.

  6. I am EMPTY.

    I moved to London over a year ago, and I miss my family and friends so much. This image is called ‘Illusion is needed to disguise the emptiness’

    I created it to show how alone I have felt without my family by my side. But also it shows the strength that I have had to endure to keep going to peruse my dreams. The arms represent the family and friends that are there for me and they hold me through the bad times.

    This image spurs me on to keep going and achieve my dream and helps me through the bad times.


    Thank you for sharing your inspiration and processing of your work. I want you to know that they are sure some people that do not appreciate it, but here are we – people who love your work and are glad to follow it. Thank you.

    Through my life I’ve always tried to hide my beliefs, thinking, simply because they were different from others. I think today it’s the end.
    I am an artist.

  8. I am happy

    This is a hard space for me to fill Brooke. I’ve been thinking about it since this morning that I saw the video. I am what.. what am I? This year i’m trying really really hard to succeed as a fine art photographer, and the fact is, besides it´s definitely hard, i’m happy trying to do this. Everytime i´m sketching a concept, asking to me friends if they are available for me, when i’m importing the pictures, when I’m editing in the computer, I just feel happy.

    I didn´t felt like this in a very long time, doing something that I love, so thank you for sharing this with us, and I let you with a simple image that I did a couple of weeks ago, where I took a bus at 4 am, travel to another province (here in Panama) and landed in a national park before the sun appeared. I spent the whole day taking pictures, all by myself, and I was kind of scared because it was the first time i was doing that, but at the end, is worth it.

    Have a nice day, week, everything.

    From Panama


  9. (Upssss, gave a wrong link the first time.)

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration and processing of your work. I want you to know that they are sure some people that do not appreciate it, but here are we – people who love your work and are glad to follow it. Thank you.

    Through my life I’ve always tried to hide my beliefs, thinking, simply because they were different from others. I think today it’s the end.
    I am an artist.

  10. This is my very first self portrait- I took your advise Brooke and stepped out of my comfort zone.. I am not one who likes photos of myself at all.. This photo was taken on a very cold day (-35) with wind chill – for this photo I wanted to show my side of being a day dreamer, somewhere between the real and supernatural, I am often seen as being cold and distant and I feel this way a lot- I used red lips in this photo to show I am alive and loving – under the surface.. the moon is one of my favorite things on this Earth and I really wanted to incoporate its beauty here…

    I am hidden

  11. This couldn’t have came at a better time. I just finished taking about 50 shots for a self portrait this morning. Will just be getting started on editing today. Hope to have something awesome to show the world!


    I am free.

    Free to be who I am and live the life I choose,

    for 6 years I was trapped in the wrong relationship, unable to be myself, not allowed to do what I wanted in life.
    Today I am once again bound to another but I am free to live the life I love and now there’s no holding me back, it seemed fitting my self portrait was on a train, travelling home from a job, the beaming sun representing how I feel inside, Im glowing!


    I made this project called “The Present” for the same reason you comment in your video: It’s the ideal of being someone i can’t be in real life. I’ve done selfportraits for already 10 years and always the same reason: I want to show who i am inside.

    We were born with a name, a last name, a nation, a body and lots of tags that limit us to what we really are, we’re born with layers of subjectives that hide our real self: Our soul.

    Our soul is made with love, and that’s the only way of showing who we really are: Loving everyone in the present.

    Each image moves because they are energy:
    I am present energy.

  14. This is more like three self portraits but all three were taken at the same time and I feel like together they tell more about me than anyone of them alone. I took this for an assignment in my photography class last semester and I was terrified to show it. I have taken to calling this “who I was, who I am, and who I hope to be someday”. The more I look at it the more I feel like I am becoming the third picture and that makes me extremely happy.

    I’m not scared. I’m not weak. I am strong.

  15. I am shy.

    I rarely do self portraits, but you are inspiration to that too <3 I am shy, and not always know how to speak up for me… I am just a dreamer and maybe that`s why I feel so connected to you and you

  16. “I am immersed”

    I haven’t really done self portraits before. At least not ever one of my crazy concept pieces, like the ones you saw at Photoshop world. I decided that this was my year to really IMMERSE myself into my artwork, and to start hopping onto the other side of the camera. I LOVE IT! I’ve been having so much fun!!! So far I’ve done five of them and I couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback I’m getting. Also, I finally understand what you have been saying about how it feels to put yourself into other worlds. I can be whoever, wherever, whenever I want! 🙂

  17. I am new.

    I took this the day after After Dark ended. It represents a new me, a new day, rising from what I think I had to be to who I am.

    The funny thing is, I thought that the FB page ShadenInspiration was private and that only members of the group could see it. Imagine my surprise that my FB friends could see it too. Scary, because I only wanted a select few to see it. But that’s ok, because now they know the new me. 🙂

  18. I Am Enthusiastic!

    Hey, Brooke! Greetings from Texas. Was it cold that way or what?
    I’m still finding who I am but I do know the person I want to be: enthusiastic. Do you know where the word enthusiastic comes from?I found out this morning an I wanted to share with you:

    The source of the word is the Greek enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, “having the god within,” formed from en, “in, within,” and theos, “god.”

    This has nothing to do with religion but when we’re connected with our Creator we allow Him to move inside us and bring our gifts to the surface. Please take this with an open mind and a humble heart, independently of beliefs, religion or spirituality. I want to live the gifts that my Creator designed for me since I was in my mother’s womb.

    “Dirty Girl”

  19. I am ON A JOURNEY

    Funnily enough I took this picture just before seeing your post. I’ve set myself the challenge for 2014 to take a picture a day of something that on that day has made me happy. I have travelled the world for 3 years and since i’ve been “back to reality” I have struggled to appreciate what I have and what I am, wishing myself somewhere else all the time. Not realizing that this is just part of the journey.

  20. I grew up in circumstances that lead me to believe that my body was ugly, horrible, shamefull and not really mine, so I´ve been fighting really hard all my life (I`m now 48) to get the feeling that my body is okay and that it belongs to me.

    I have yet never really had a boyfriend and am still struggling to get there.

    Art fo me is a way to work with my childhood and my fears and shortcomings.

    And especially working on these selfportraits called “Educationel Plates” have been very provoking for me and caused a lot of anxiety. But I´m also proud of how they turned out, they makes me like my body more and help me overcome my childhood.

    “This is MY body and it can be beautiful too””

  21. What a great project to create Brooke!

    My sentence for this is just: I am.

    We so often get swept up in the labels for what we are, or what we should be, without stopping to appreciate that fact that we just are. I’m on a personal journey to accept myself for everything that I am, and to find enjoyment and enthusiasm within that. I love this idea of getting everyone to come up with their own sentence, to help them find strength, but I think the name of the project sums up what we should all be striving for: I AM ME (and that’s an amazing thing!)

  22. Hi Brooke,
    I am from Estonia. I`m sorry that my english is not so good,but i hope,that you understand me 🙂
    Some time ago I found you randomly from youtube. I could`nt stop before I looked through your entire channel. You inspired me so much.I`m very shy and self critical person.You encouraged me to express myself and step over my biggest fears.
    Photography is my hobby,i have so much to learn,but I enjoy it so much.
    This is my first self portrait i have ever done.I call it “Escape from reality”
    I am Me, I am fighter.

  23. Brooke I think I should say thanks to you, your videos have inspired and encouraged me to believe in myself and believe that I can express all my ideas, dreams, fears in photography and that there are no limits for imagination, I made this picture thinking about it, thinking about what you said “we can be the main character in our stories”.

    I am a dreamer.

  24. Brooke,
    Thank you very much for being “you” and being such an inspiring person. I started watching your videos 2 weeks ago and since then I took two self portraits. It is huge deal for me because I have never been comfortable with my face and expression in photos. But after seeing your portraits ı realized that portraits are about how you express emotions, imagination, how you convey a message or a feeling with that photo. Thank you so much for opening my eyes my soul and and my imagination to lots of new worlds.
    I am grateful.
    Here is my first portrait:

    Here is the second:

  25. You are so right that if we don’t tell the world what is beautiful some body else will! I may feel lost and hopeless some days but it’s just another part of me that eventually gets me where I need to be.

    I am hopeless.
    I made this image because I was overwhelmed with school, trying to start a business (or two), my family and myself. After I finished I felt a huge relief and since then I have been using self portraits as a way of escaping the “rules/limits” I place on myself.

  26. This is just all kinds of fantastic and I am all over it! I love self portraits for exactly the reasons you point out. Off to brainstorm for an epic self portrait! 🙂


    Entitled : Beginning

    “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” (― Hermann Hesse, Demian)

    I AM finally listening to the teachings my blood is whispering to me. This is just the beginning…

  28. Self portraiture strikes a deep chord with me. It’s how I learned to use my camera, from a 10 second timer on the world’s oldest point and shoot- to figuring out remotes, lighting, and familiarizing myself with what I could do with my DSLR. It’s how I still learn, and will continue to learn. It’s returning home, bone tired, but still energized to experiment with something new, or just plain fun. It’s getting scrapes and bruises, and looking at them as mementos of your personal adventure. It’s learning to tell your story- and most importantly, discovering what your story is, and grows to be.
    Thank you, Brooke, for being such an inspiration, and spreading the word the way that you do. I feel like there is so much more potential, and so much more to learn- and I’m just so excited for it. It’s wonderful to read your blog, and see your lectures. You’re like the guiding North star of creativity, and keeping such a vital part of people alive, and flourishing- it’s amazing and I appreciate it so much!

    I am Here:

  29. Brooke, I’m sorry I posted old one, I’d like to do one for this occasion so would you mind not posting the earlier comment? 🙂
    Thank you

  30. I am me.

    There’s really no other way to describe myself. I am me like you are you. I didn’t know what other word would describe myself. I am a self portrait artist. I do photograph other people when they allow me to. I started my self portrait journey when I was diagnosed with depression four years ago. I didn’t want to depend on medication so my amazing art teacher insisted I do art therapy.

    At first it was drawing & journaling down my feelings but then I felt like I was still holding myself in. I’m not the best at drawing but I’ve always been good at photo manipulations. So I received a tripod from my art teacher and got to work, took lots of self portraits and spent from a few minutes to an hour creating self portraits. Within each self portrait in my Bathroom Self Portrait series has a meaning that only I know. It could be a plain and simple portrait or something totally different from what people would usually see.

    After a year of doing self portrait art therapy, I got off the medication and began the journey of loving myself. Three years later, I’m the best me I’ve ever been & i’m very thankful for my teacher for pushing me into that direction.

    **I wrote a blog about beauty too

  31. I am free.

    Brooke, I want to thank you for inspiring me. I have had people tell me that the only reason I am a good photographer is because I have photoshop and a nice camera, and that no one cares if I can simply click a button on a camera. So many times I have wanted to quit and delete my instagram. But you inspired me to keep at it. I could never thank you enough. This self portrait is my favorite photo I have ever created. It captures me. I hope I can just keep improving in my photography, and maybe attend one of your classes when I am old enough to fly out on my own. Never stop doing what you do.

  32. I am CAPABLE

    I spend so much time dwelling on failure or even just the possibility of failure. This image was an insane concept that I dreamt up that I never imagined I could actually create. And then I went for it and through the process I realized that the journey of creating it actually had more weight than if the image turned out the way I envisioned. For that reason, this image reminds me that I’m capable of creating, of success, of happiness, of everything and anything I can dream up.

  33. This post makes me so happy <3 <3 <3 I am deeply connected to self-portraiture. Even though many artists, like yourself, portray characters and not themselves in their self-portrait images, to me there is still always more of a bond to witness in self-portraiture – like they are giving so much more of themselves. About 90% of my inspiration is usually drawn from my emotions. This is what drives me to create and that fills me with the need for expression. As these emotions and expressions are so deeply personal, using a model for these just does not have the same effect for me and hence why so many of my images are self-portraits. Self-portraiture is indeed my favourite genre – not only to create, but I love to see the self-portraiture of others. Of course I also love taking images of models and working with others. My models are usually just my friends and we head out for adventures to create images – which makes these memories very special. I have done a number of conceptual images recently using models that I am extremely excited to be posting in the upcoming weeks. Yet, it is the still the magic and power of a self-portrait that touches my soul. I have found it to be incredibly healing and such an important journey of self <3 Thank you for this initiative Brooke. I am currently working on a deeply personal image at the moment that I would be honoured to share as part of this initiative. I see you have given us a deadline, so I best get my butt in gear and start working on the processing 😉

  34. Thank you Brooke for PROMOTING PASSION and inspiring us to attempt anything that we are desiring to create.

    Every year on my birthday (29th Feb) I try to focus on myself and jump in front of the lens for a scary brief moment. I do this mainly on request by love ones because I’m never in photos.


    Hopefully, this year’s birthday photo will tune into a feeling(s) that I carry internally that I believe others don’t see. I think this challenge will be hard but rewarding

  35. HI brooke,

    thanks for this opportunity. My picture represent what i was in the past. i had changed my life to be no more ”caged”

    (sorry for my bad english .. iam french! i hope you understand :3 )

    I am a caged bird:

  36. I am Fearless!

    I have social anxiety, so to get out and do a shot like this was way out of my comfort zone, but you have inspired me, so I mustered up the courage. And even though a small crowd had formed on the beach to see what I was up to, I proceeded to flail about like a mad woman to get this shot. In that brief moment, I didn’t think about the people on the beach or what they might think of me. In this exact moment, I was fearless. And that is how I hope to live my life from now on.

  37. Hello Brooke,
    Thank you for giving us this opportunity- to express ourselves and share our work with you. Your book and your posts inspired me and helped me to go out from the hole I was.
    Here you can find my image:

    I am Alice, The Mad Hatter, The Evil Queen,…I am who I am

  38. I am fierce.

    “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” -William Shakespeare

    Great idea, and great blog. I love your work.

  39. Such a beautiful photo! You are an inspirational photographer.

    I am working with simple software, so please forgive the low image quality. Shot last summer during the smoky days of fire season here in Southern Oregon.

    “I am Free”
    ( You can not capture my heart or chain my soul. I am free! )

  40. Hi Brooke! I am beyond motivated to give this a go! I recently created an image with you in mind the whole time and the inspiration I drew from you for that surely showed in my final product. I am looking forward to participating!


  41. It is not only a beautiful idea but the concept is well said. We have to teach people how to look at a picture and how to review advertising images.

    Your subject make me thing about a movie which has inspired me recently : “Another Earth”.
    Then i created this picture called “Another me”. I was placing in that image all about how i evolved as a person since a few years and what changed in the way i see myself.
    Now i can look at that photograph and see what i want to become and realize it depends on me and i have the strength to support the life i want to live.

    So, i am me.!art/vstc3=surreal-ii/photostackergallery53=16

  42. I am fearless…because seeing is believing, right?

    I’ve lived in fear over so many things for my entire life. Lots of my fears have been irrational, but persist into my adult life even though I know they are rediculous. And then so many real fears… 🙂 This new year is bringing a LOT of changes for our family, and with it new fears to work through. I found I was, without realizing it, attempting to hide from these new changes and fears…and so this self-portrait was made to remind me that I must face my fears…

  43. Brooke, what an amazing response your call for art has gotten! I’m so inspired by looking at what everyone is posting and creating.

    Your words “The most powerful message of self-acceptance must come from within” really struck me hard and resonated with a me on a cellular level. I’ve been working on a self portrait project that is centered around that idea of looking inward and accepting, forgiving and loving whatever I might see.

    So this is my most recent image from that exercise:

    I am Me; I am Resilient.

  44. I am safe.

    Actually, my first instinct was to say, “I am itty-bitty” lol, but “I am safe” is really the reminder I need right now. Posting here definitely goes outside my introverted comfort zone, so sincere thanks to you, Brooke, for offering the opportunity and encouragement to do so. *Very* new to the world of conceptual photography (just since November 2013), but am eager to set aside several months this year to experiment! Super. Crazy. Awesomesauce.

    Ok, hitting the “submit” button now. Almost. For the fourth time. Ack. Oh this is so silly. Submit.

  45. “I am PUSHING THROUGH”.!i=3050724700&k=57PGmvb

    i had an idea in my mind….and it may be not all the way there…but I’m pretty determined…so i wanted to show motion, determination and using EVERYTHING I AM to push through these walls. So, as of right now…this is my first run-through….I may try another….if this one epically failed 🙂

    Thanks for the homework assignment!!!!
    I love introspection.

    Now, to learn how to get the rest of these feelings and thoughts into art. <3 ;0

  46. I won’t leave it, I want to protect this , because this is mine, no one can take it from me ,, I am survival .. Tree is strong and i hold it tight, don’t want to lose it, keep it standing and as it is growing we are together… The tree is my dream, my passion and i’m the survival of it…

  47. Brooke,
    I just wanted to thank you for the project called “I Am Me”. Sometimes finding the road to self discovery is a journey in it’s self. Your imagery has resinated with me on a lot of levels, and you have inspired me to move forward, and be determined regardless of what the outcome my be, good or bad. I don’t want to live my life being afraid to express myself through imagery any longer. Life is way too short, not to welcome the path of self discovery. I just wanted to say thanks again for sharing all your incredible stories with the world, you are an inspiration to us all. 🙂 God Bless.

    I Am, Me, Myself, & I

    I hope this link works below:

  48. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and fantastic user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

  49. Hi Brooke,

    Thank you for sharing your talent to us. 🙂

    Here’s mine.
    “I AM NEW!”

    I took this photo the day after my birthday. Another year has been given to me, another opportunity to live life beautifully. Last year I’ve made quite a lot of mistakes, bad decisions but instead of thinking of what could have been done, I live the present and learned a lot of things, I learn to appreciate LIFE more day by day, that brings me to a NEW ME.

  50. Hi Brooke!

    First I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis and truly helping me find my love for photography and portraits.


    These two images are 3 of my favorite self portraits. I hope they inspire you as much as you inspire me.


    I couldn’t come with anything on “Who Am I?”, I have several words that describe my personality, however is your personality all that you are?? So I decided on I Am Ever-Changing, I try to be a better person then I was yesterday or the day before that…so therefore I am always changing if even in the smallest of ways 🙂

  52. oh man i feel bad i was just posting to post, and i came off kinda arrogant; im sorry

    thank you for being so kind and for being such a positive inspiration 🙂

  53. Hey Brooke!

    You are literally the most inspiring person ever. I know you probably get that all the time but don’t become numb to it. We all truly mean it. Shooting this pushed myself. It was uncomfortable and I didn’t know how people would react when they saw this image. It perfectly fit what this video was about. Anyways, I am honestly really proud of how it turned out.

    I am perfect the way I am.

  54. Hi Brooke,
    There are so many of us who admire your art but I will try to reach you anyway.
    I have been fascinated by your conceptual art and your unique imagination. You inspired me to finally stop worrying and begin to live. Recently I started realising my ideas, which were hidden deep inside my mind for many years. I thank you for that and always looking forward to see your new creations.
    ‘I am burning’

  55. I am … fractured

    This would have been impossible without Brooke. I NEVER make self-portraits. Avoidance, in a way, I suppose. Once I read the project, I knew I would do it. I saw these shadows on my bedroom wall, and they looked the way I feel at this particular point in my life. Fractured.
    Thanks, Brooke. I feel good. I feel better. I feel that I am on my way to becoming whole again. Ouch. Wow. I did it.

  56. I am capable:

    Last year I tried to create a certain image I had in mind. It all went terribly wrong and nothing pieced together how I wanted. I was disappointed, as this had been happening a lot at the time. I could feel my confidence slipping away a little more each time. For awhile I have felt uninspired/motivated towards my photography, I have ideas, but they never feel complete in my head.
    Today I was reading through the posts on your blog and I came across a piece you had written on your views of failure. I instantly thought of the image I was trying to create this particular day at the beach. And I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, knowledge, inspiration, and just everything you devote to us. Reading that small piece was honestly all I needed to give me inspiration to venture through my archives, pull out the photo’s from that day and create something on the spot. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s something, and that’s all I’ve been needing to do. And I can’t thank you enough. I hold so much respect for you, and I truly look up to you both as a person and an artist.

    I am capable, not matter how much I doubt myself.

    Never stop being you. xx

  57. I am overpensive.

    Most of the time, I am thinking, worrying way too much. I wish I could help it, but it has been like that for ages now.

    In many situations I can feel how it is holding me back from having fun, and I hate that. In other situations I simply love it, because I can see that I am not like many others, even most of my friends. I long to think individually and search for what I really want.

    Although most of the time it is a painful process and I would like it to be a little less prominent in my life, I can not imagine what person I would be without this trait.

    In the end, it is like a constant reminder of who I am. And I have to admit that this may be a good thing.

  58. I am… a dreamer, flower lover, happy soul.

    Thank you so much Brooke, you are an amazing person and I deeply admire you. You inspire me and make me want to give my best. I am a scientist and hobbyist photographer and new to conceptual photography. Finding you has been a true eye opening photographic experience and a revelation to me 🙂

    Thank you!

  59. Dear Brooke,

    I wanted to tell you how much you have inspired me to stop thinking about all the things I have to do and start concentrating on the things that make me happy. I sat in awe through your CreativeLive workshop, wishing that I could meet you in person to tell you how much your passion and rejection of fear have effected me.
    I also daydream constantly and am forever finding places or ideas where I think to myself, I wish I had someone who would go here with me to shoot. You have really given me the confidence to go out on my own, with whatever I can find to create the images in my mind. Life is just too beautiful and too short to live under the fear of other people’s perceptions, and I don’t want to anymore.
    Thank you and I hope I can rise to your challenge,

  60. Brooke, I love your works, your words and your story that how become a fine art photographer. They all inspired me so much! Especially the words of “Promotion Passion Week 2”. As a Chinese I am not easy to get all the words by listening, but I did listened your video again and again, and wrote down your words, then saved and shared with my friends. That words is so awesome! I have been moved a lot. No matter how busy I would be, I will keep shooting and use my images explain my feelings and stories. I hope I could live on my dream all my life.

    The self portrait I did is Dreamer:

  61. It took me a while, but I finally shot an image that I feel represents who I am. Or a part of me.

    I am Forgiven

    It took me the longest time to forgive myself. This picture isn’t my best, I know it, but it’s the most personal. It’s a self portrait, and I feel like it shows exactly what I felt when I decided to let go – free.

  62. Hey brooke , hi everyone. So I don’t want to write to much in here but this blog post inspired me to go out and shoot a self-portrait especially for this “project” , I just took an idea that I had for a while and made it a self-portrait.
    I am different…

  63. I am Brazen. Portrayal of Aging Hollywood and Fashion Icons. This is a series I have wanted to do for a while and decided to go ahead. I didn’t do it before because I am older and not pretty physically in the conventional definition of Society. I am wrinkled and aged but after viewing your master Your Craft workshop I no longer care I am not young and Beautiful. I have something to say, I am valuable as a human being and have dreams as anyone else. So I did the series as myself as various characters. It was humbling and frightening but oh so liberating. I am here. I am worthy. I am putting it all out there. Thank you for showing me it isn’t about the outside, it is about what I have inside and what I can give to the world. 55 and no longer afraid to face the mirror

  64. I am….an untold story.

    Firstly, I just wanted to say apart from your amazing talent you are such a wonderful person and I think this project will inspire so many people:) In my self portrait I am trying to portray that I and many other people have stories which are never told which are kept hidden for whatever reason. I believe people should look beyond appearances and never judge a book by its cover as you never know what is underneath. Thank you for inspiring me to be more honest and more creative, I can’t wait to do more self portraits!

  65. I am…a day dreamer.

    I love your projekt here and thought for a while what kind of picture woulds souits best…well and one thing I constantly do is thinking and dreaming about my life and things I could do….but unfortunetly mostly never really start to try 🙁

    So the picture shows that I´m always with my head over the clouds and mostly wish I could be anywhere else in the moment.

    And I have to tell you that your an big inspiration !
    I honestly not always understand what you try to tell with your picture….but still they have such a strong influenece on me and giving me the will to put more thought, backround and creativity in my pictures.

    Thank you for being such a inspiring person 🙂

  66. I know it is already late but I wanted to share my image anyways because I love this community and seeing so many brave people here helped me jump…even a little late.

    I am MYSELF

    Seeing so many people not afraid to dream, grow and tell their stories is uplifting.

  67. This reminds of the “I am” project I started at the beginning of the year. The best piece I’ve created so far is “I am: Wandering”:

    You are so inspiring Brooke, and I wanted to just tell you that I’ve decided to leave Chicago and go back home to double major in Photo and Nutrition. I’ve found that right now, I don’t love photography anymore considering I’m doing it because I have to–not because I want to. I hope leaving the city and figure out what I want to do will make me happy.

    So, if you ever need an assistant in Texas–let me know. 🙂


  68. I can’t put into words how much your work (and your words) inspires me. This link is to a blog post where I featured my photo for “I am strong”. This was SO difficult… but I’m so glad I saw this post, because I never would have done this otherwise.

    Thanks for just being you – this was an eye opening project to be a part of, for sure 🙂

  69. “I am rising”.

    I rarely share a lot of myself online or my true feelings irl. Nobody knows (well, except now I guess :)) that I used to be depressed, for quite a long time. And by then I used to think that I AM this dull person with a negative look at the world and almost no feelings of joy. I just wanted to hide forever, not realizing what other people liked about this life. But now I am feeling better and can finally understand that I am somebody else, who that is remains to be seen. A happier person for sure and someone with a huge passion for creating.

    If only I can find the courage to share that passion with someone I would feel so much better. This is the first step, inspired by you Brooke. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and soul, you are an amazing person :).

    My self portrait for this project:

  70. This task gave me a really hard time since I couldn’t decide how to complete the sentence. “I AM ___” … What?

    After a long talk with my boyfriend I finally realized that there is barely a “me” without “him”. Might sound cheesy but I don’t bother, he is such an important center in my life that I couldn’t finished the sentence any better:


  71. Brooke,I don’t know where to begin! You’re one of my biggest inspirations, in everything in life. I love the way you can transmit all your passion, your creativity, your positive view of life. You are magic! Your photos are so magic, so beatiful! I’ve learn a lot of you. I’m a very young girl, but I’m very interesting in grow up my mind, and you really help me to do that, to increase my imagination, my passion, and my dreams!! And I’m full for hope. I belive that I could be bigger, and that I could promote my dreams to everybody and full them with hope; just like you! IM A BELIVER!


  72. Brooke, the timing of your post was so perfect, yet I still wasn’t ready to share. I’m glad the deadline is the middle of this month. I started doing self portraits as a way to heal from the past 2 years in which my life was unknowingly being controlled and directed through the secrets and deceptions others kept. Rumours were spread to justify their actions. Initially when I found out, I tried to prove myself to them and others about who I really was. Now, I look back and only regret that I wasted that time trying to prove myself to those that continue the secrets. I really don’t give a damn anymore and have chosen to rise out of their cycle of deceit.

    I am TRUTH.

    I have 2 links that represent this:
    – “Rumours”
    – “The Messenger”

  73. Brooke,

    The stories that you tell through imagery, and the spoken words you say or type are truly inspiring.

    A friend from a group introduced me to this post, and they thought I should share my photo that got some positive feedback.

    There are times that I struggle with my bodily image; my bones protrude from under my skin, I am small and frail, and there are stretch marks located in different parts from growing up. I am constantly asked whether I eat, how I am so skinny, and told that I am “lucky” to be this skinny. While they may not seem harmful, they are, and they are questions I do not know how to properly answer.

    However, I am learning to love myself, and am starting to realise that the only people who can dictate what a real flaw is is yourself. I have some, but they are what make me, well, me.

    So in short, to complete the sentence:

    I am ME.

    Here is the self-portrait that represents me titled:

    “Burdens // Fears”

  74. I wanted to thank you, Brooke, for this project! I’ve been going through a lot of soul searching lately, figuring out where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to be doing, and, consequently, who I am. When I read this blog post I knew this was exactly what I needed to work on because it coincided so well with my life right now. So I immediately sat down with my idea journal and began brainstorming. After a while I came up with an answer that I wasn’t expecting, but that describes everything about my life at this exact moment.

    I am searching.

    I am searching for a home, for a job, for a companion, for guidance. I am searching for so many things right now it scares me. But I know if I keep on going, I will find what I’m looking for.


    “For Mauro”


    Dedicated to my brother, Mauro Introna 1971.04.24 – 2013.08.29.
    A very emotional image. Every element in this image has special meaning, i.e. the colour of my dress, the prop, how I am holding the prop, the location, the sunset and the 2 birds flying overhead

    My brother and I had a complicated relationship. The fact that we are both as stubborn as ever, both born under the Taurus star sign and both with the same Italian blood, it was always going to be a dangerous cocktail. But despite the sparks that flew around between us, I always had so much admiration and love for him. I would do just about anything for him – and he sure threw a few strange requests my way over the years.
    We also shared many other traits, such as:
    – A great love for the outdoors and being at our happiest when surrounded by nature; whether the sea, mountains or open fields.
    – A deep connection with animals, especially cats.
    – An interest and career surrounded by computers and the IT industry.
    – A proud love and association to our Italian heritage.
    – Over the last few years, I also joined his love of travel.
    – The fact that neither of us would allow a TV in our homes. Nor ever missing this particular annoyance in our lives.
    – And something I believe that we both learnt, particularly from our father, was to enjoy a life surrounded by simple, good pleasures. No flash and fanfare.
    We also had very similar taste in music – thankfully so, as we sure pumped up the music and raised the roof when we were kids. We enjoyed good music like Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Bob Marley – to name just a few. But a particular favourite was U2 – which we both discovered together way before they became mainstream. At the U2 Pop Mart concert years ago, he phoned me in the crowd and after some explanations we were able to spot and wave frantically to each other from across the stadium. I remember him being rather chuffed with himself for finding me.
    My brother was so brave. In hearing about his fate, he accepted it with great courage. He was satisfied in the belief that he had lived his life to the full and that he was content. I am sure there are very few of us that could say this. A great lesson to be learnt.
    Mauro, I am grateful for the chance to have connected again and for the quality time we got to spend together. It was humbling to have spent your last moments with you. May you go on many more adventures and continue to dive the oceans you loved. I will miss your challenges. Tell Pops I love him and I will love and miss you both every day…

    Sleep tonight
    And may your dreams
    Be realized
    If the thundercloud
    Passes rain
    So let it rain
    Let it rain
    Rain on him”
    – U2

  76. Thank you for this amazing project, Brooke! You inspire us artists to trust ourselves and not be afraid to create.

    Last year was very difficult for me and my family; my heart was broken and I lost my father. My life as I knew it fell apart, and for a moment, I felt the temptation to give up, to quit my dreams, to numb my heart. I felt more vulnerable than ever. But then I realized this was not the right way, this was not person I wanted to be. So I decided to use these storms and tests as stepping stones to become stronger, to love and trust myself again and to be more compassionate with myself and others.

    I learned to see vulnerability in a whole new way. For me, being vulnerable is to have the courage to accept myself completely, including the dark and imperfect parts of myself. As Brené Brown said: “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging”.

    So my title would be I AM VULNERABLE:

    Blessings! 🙂

  77. “I am one with the sea.”

    (I have lived on Cape Cod my entire life until the past year and a half. The Cape is entirely surrounded by water. Being surrounded by water everyday has subconsciously affected me. Living in the city now, I yearn for the smell of the salty air and the sand beneath my feet. In my creative imaging work, I am only using photos and textures from Cape Cod to keep the project as close to home as possible. This body of work represents my connection to both the land and sea.)

  78. I’ve been taking pictures for a couple of years but I don’t have experience on fine art/conceptual photography. However, I want to learn and improve because that’s what I really want to do. I want to create.

    I’m sorry it’s not the best quality and it doesn’t have a story. This was my first photo outside with me on it. It has a lot of flaws but from them I learned. This is the first of many, I’m sure.

    I chose “I am fearless” . And that is something that I’m still pursuing. I’m a person with a lot of fears but I know this will be the “I am..” from my future self.

    Thank you for everything Brooke.

  79. Dear Brooke
    I know I am slightly late but I have just been able to read your post.

    I have been thinking a lot about who I am and what I want to do in my life and after reading your blog and watching your videos I am working towards discovering my self, trying new things and as you said previously make more meaningful images.

    This photo is my first composit photo.
    It has a double meaning. I wanted to represent a part of my life that at the moment is missing, my relationship with my best friend, but also the distinction I find in my self at the moment between the strong person I want to be and the one I have been so far, scared of moving forward without knowing the outcome, clinging on to what I know now.

    “I am devided” seems the most appropriate for this phase in my life.

    Thanks to you though I am learning so much. Being truthful to my self and being brave to pursue what makes me happy. I don’t think I could ever thank you enough.

    I hope to be able to meet you some day.


  80. I had this project book marked from ages ago, to remind me to post a new self portrait as I had a few new ones planned out at the time, but I never got round to them, I ended up taking some new photos of my friends instead which I absolutely love! So I only seen this reminder on twitter just now. I have this self portrait though from a couple of months ago which describes me accurately, as a dreamer, which can either be a curse or a blessing. I am going to take it as a blessing! Friends and family used to always call me a dreamer, say that my head is in the clouds, or in dream land, kindly and half heartedly implying that my ideas where not very realistic, and it used to really annoy me back when I was younger, but now, I take being called a dreamer a compliment. Or being called weird, I love it! I am happy to be a dreamer, to do things out of the ordinary (like get into my milky bath in my pj’s for a photo at 2 in the afternoon) 😀

    I am a dreamer

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