The Inspiration Issue: Brooke Shaden (Part 4/5)

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Photos by Brooke Shaden

Inspired by fairytales as well as life and death, Arizona-based fine-art photographer Brooke Shaden crafts images that she describes as “dark yet whimsical”—her models recall Little Red Riding Hood or Sleeping Beauty as if they found themselves trapped in an eerie, lush, and perpetually overcast land.

The photographer’s upbringing in a rural town —“among the Amish and rolling hills and farms”— directly affected her aesthetic today, as well as her initial foray into photography. “From the time I was little, we were rewarded for climbing trees and playing in the mud, so I grew up thinking that was a normal life, and a beautiful one too,” she says. “I remember bringing a notebook to write stories that were filled with fantasy and science fiction, though I didn’t know it then, and I still find inspiration in those same days: where I climb a tree and write stories and then turn them into images.”

With an upcoming artist retreat called “Capture Inspiration” and a book titled Inspiration in Photography: Training Your Mind to Make Great Art a Habit, Shaden renders herself the ideal guest editor to tackle the topic of inspiration, one fantastical photograph at a time.


"Connecting with the earth is the best way to feel at peace with the origins of my being, in my opinion. It is inspiring to me to think that we are all dust in the end, and that is evident everywhere I look in the world. There is life and death and beauty and…nature. It is simply the one thing that I feel represents who I am."


"I have never felt comfortable in a city environment but instead felt like I was 'home' when I was in nature, and that feeling continues on for me still. Nature, has always inspired me, not only in photography but also in my writing and imagination. Now that I can use it in my images, nature has turned into something timeless that represents a world that could be our own or somewhere else entirely, and I love that about it."


"I love visiting the forest, sitting in the dirt, and touching the leaves on the trees. I love to feel the soft ground under me and find inspiration in all of the beauty that a forest can hold. It is dark and mysterious and you can get lost in the uniqueness of each tree."

Tagged with: