The Photographer Project: Gayle Brooker

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?  October 30,1974

When did you first pick up a camera?   Tell me about that. When did you know you had a talent for photography? Natural talent or learned process?

We always had cameras around the house. When my dad was younger, he was an avid photographer. He took these great BW shots of my mom and oldest brother from their time in Germany. He had a darkroom and processed his own work. My mom is a painter and her mother was a painter so I didn’t fall far from the tree. I took a lot of art classes in high school and college which taught me about the fundamentals of composition and light. After my first photo 1 class in college I was hooked and encouraged by my professor to keep working. So I kept at it all the way into grad school receiving a MFA at RISD in photography. Which led me to teach BW photography classes at the College of Charleston for a couple of years.

What do you love to photograph?  I have always been drawn to photographing people. I also have a long background in shooting food and love still life.

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased. With whom would you dine? What would you ask them?

My maternal grandmother: I would ask her about her upbringing, her artistic career and my mother as a young girl. (I never was able to meet my grandmother).

My mom, to see her relationship and love for her mother.

My husband, he has an incredible memory, is hysterical, and a great conversationalist.

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

I know while I am shooting when it feels right, the light, the moment, the gestures, the connection. But the surprising ones come when I am in the moment shooting freely. Those are seen later after the film has been processed.

What makes you feel connected to your subject?  When I photograph a wedding or kids or food, I am subjectively connecting with my subject. I think about what I felt on my wedding day, all the excitement, joy, nerves, and energy. I let the day fill me with their feelings and try my best to convert that photographically. I think about my love for my kids. How funny they are and how quickly they can be sad or frustrated and then laughing once again. With food, I think about how much I love food it transports me back to my childhood or honeymoon or some colloquial time.

What are your thoughts on editing? Like it or abhor it? Do it yourself?

I love culling my own work. Picking my favorites. Color correcting is not my favorite. I do it sometimes and sometimes I pass it along to a third party.

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?  I would like to shoot more food and still life.

What’s on your photographic bucket list?  Travel more with my family and keep shooting my girls as they grow. It’s quite the challenge to stay focused on shooting my own family.

What inspires you?   Beautiful light and real moments.

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client?  This rarely happens, but when it does I definitely want to resolve the problem right away. No matter what, I want my clients to be happy with what I delivered to them.

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?  Find your voice and develop it, and learn to understand how to differentiate yourself from all the others. The best way to do this is to photograph often and photograph things that you personally move you.

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?  I am friends with a great group of female photographers (most of us are film shooters) from all over the country. We get together once a year and share stories and inspiration. I would love to do at least one photography workshop a year. There is so much to learn and be inspired from my peers.

What makes you feel loved?  The way my husband looks at me, my kids laughter, a warm embrace from my parents, time well spent with my friends, snuggling with our dogs.

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?  Early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is at an angle. Also, partly cloudy days are fantastic sometimes. I love the way the light dances in and out of the clouds.

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @gaylebrooker

FB: @gaylebrookerphoto

Website: http://www.gaylebrooker.com/

What makes you feel pretty?  The way my husband looks at me, getting dressed up & putting on make-up, having my hair and nails done.

Candids provided by Gayle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *