While there certainly is no shortage of surrealist photographers these days, its widespread practice as both a theme and style makes it difficult to stand out. Just like any movement that becomes common, the challenge increases as it becomes more difficult to be noticed in sea of parroted artistic expressions. This however cannot be said of the mystical photography of Brooke Shaden.
Shaden makes use of a combination of clever digital Photoshop techniques and ethereal imagery to uproot us from reality. She catapults us to distant places of the mind’s eye. From red deserts of sand and fabric, to white wintery forests, Shaden’s dream-like images are laced with wonder and enchantment.
Shaden was born in March of 1987 in Lancaster, Philadelphia, and grew up near the “Amish Country”. She attended Temple University, finishing with two bachelors degrees in both film and English. Shades relocated to Arizona, where she now resides with her husband and three feline companions. She took up her passion for photography in December 2008, and has not stopped loving it since.
She began creating self-portraits to have total creative control, and has since evolved into a notable self-portrait artist. For Shaden, her work endeavors to replicate her own thoughts and ideas, transporting herself within worlds she thinks she wishes she could live in. It is a self-indulgent but artistically productive exercise, leaving us with some thought provoking images of the surreal.
Brooke’s images which attempt to create other-worldly places uses painting-like techniques as well as the aspect ratio of the seldom seen square format. It is a marriage of traditional picture properties along with bizarrely strange and unfamiliar imagery. Brooke’s photography makes no pretense at skirting the philosophical; in fact, they collectively allude to the profound enigma of what it means to be alive.
See Shaden’s self-portrait work here.