There is a certain song that we sing, sometimes without realizing that our voice escapes our clenched throat, that vibrates through the air, noiseless, until it beats against the place it was meant to find. The lyrics are without words yet speak to a place inside where the voiceless booming of magnetic poetry carves itself in deep. Words are not necessary in this song. It is a pounding mystery. The ocean beating rocks against one another, or the crack of thunder. It carries inside itself a booming melancholy, or a rich light, and when we hear it (for only we can) we know it to be true. Such is the way with certain places. We release a song and hear nothing until it hits hard the place that makes it sing. Such is the way with humans. Such is the way with the soul.
Iceland – June 4th 2015 – 9:00pm
We arrived at the lava rocks with both joy and sadness. It was our last stop for our 5-day adventure together. The friends that I loved would be departing the next day and right then, in those few hours, we would spend our last moments creating art together. I stepped out on the rocks for the first time and bounced. I felt like a child, touching and smelling something for the first time. We rejoiced at so many things that evening – the way the clouds continuously changed, each calling to one another to look in different directions, each of us in awe. We jumped from rock to rock, holding hands, calling out, and laughing. We each strayed off by ourselves for brief moments, taking it all in. And I went with one of my best friends to shoot a private series.
The cold lessened that evening more so than the other days. We felt warm with life and excitement and so creating art nude and exposed felt easier than other times – more comforting. Soon enough we were barefoot, letting the moss tickle in between our toes, and I was glowing with inspiration. When I was photographing my friend, I wondered if the power that we felt would translate in a single image. There are times when I wish I could bring the viewer to the shoot, make them (you) feel the air and touch the ground and let your heart beat to the rhythm of that creativity. But in the moment, knowing there is no way to translate such a feeling, I had to settle for doing the best I could with what I had – a powerful woman nestled in the heart of all hearts, the soft ground covering the dangerous lava rocks in the land of fire and ice.
And so I created five images in a series, making her body look like the landscape. I photographed the first image and asked if I could keep going, changing my angle each time to create a triptych of the same model in nearly the same poses from three different angles. I photographed one pose of her reaching for the camera. At first it spoke to me as someone who needed to be rescued, but the more I looked at her reaching there in that place, I felt she was beckoning to me. Pulling me in and telling me to stay forever in this place where my heart sang more than ever before. Finally at the end of the shoot the inspiration fever had caught on, and Jen asked if she could join the shoot, which I was absolutely delighted about. And so I ended the session with both of them there in that powerful place, a finale to a poetic and emotional day.
Model, Images 1-5: KD Stapleton
Model, Image 5: Jen Brook
Jenessa Schultz - These are really beautiful, Brooke. And I agree about the reaching image – she’s definitely pulling the viewer in, not asking for help out. That trip must have been amazing.
brookeshaden - Thank you Jenessa! The trip was most incredible, thanks to the people I was with. I wish YOU could have been there with us!!
Jenessa Schultz - I might have died in happiness to be exploring a foreign land with people who’s hearts beat to the same rythym as mine <3 hopefully someday soon I'll be able to afford to make it out to a retreat.
Tom Newforge - This series is stunning. You truly have an incredible gift, Lady. As I stumble through 1 image from that day, you crank out a whole series of 5 that looks as though you’ve spent months getting it ready for a gallery showing. It really is so incredibly impressive considering that you somehow found time to get these amazing shots while also spending time with all the people you were with. I cannot wait to see what else you produce from those 5 days. I’d be completely content to just be able to say that “I was there” and watched one of the most talented artists of our generation perform magic and create.
brookeshaden - Dear Tom, You are too nice and I don’t deserve that. Reading your words gives me more motivation to create though, and for that I am so grateful to you. I need to be more like you – encouraging, and kind. Thank you for inspiring that in me today.
Robyn Russell - These are just inspiring Brooke. I’m in awe. Basically, speechless – which you know doesn’t happen a lot.
Hanna - Those words just made me stop breathing for a while- so incredibly beautiful and poetic. The images as well, stunning. Minimalistic in the right way and at the same time breathtaking. I will join you next year in one of your artist retreats, so looking forward to it!
Anh - I truly enjoyed seeing your creative process brought to life with music. Hope to see more of it. I am inspired by your passion.
Paulo Carvalho - How I missed this wonderful texts and works! I do not even remember how much makes me feel good, reading these posts from Brooke. Awesome! Lovely images! I must say that this series is truly phenomenal! I agree with Tom and I also hope one day to say “I was there”. 🙂
KaLee Kilgrow - I love the raw emotion and the color scheme of these photos. absolutely stunning!!
Carla Vermeend - Last month I was at the same spot. But these pictures gives me an other great feeling of this magic place. Thank you for your inspiration.