CCP asks Dianne Brooks the deep questions about her craft
1. What gets you out of bed every day?
The thought that there is so much to do, so much to learn and so many stories to tell.
2. Who is the photographer that has inspired you the most?
I couldn’t pick just one, so many photographers over the years have inspired me, from Ansel Adams to Jay Meisel in earlier days of learning about photography but more recently and closer to home, Brian Cassey and Renae Saxby.
3. What current camera are you shooting with?
I use two cameras, two different systems. The Nikon D810 and the mirrorless Olympus OMDEM1MKii. I love them both equally for different reasons, please don’t ask me to choose!
4. When you are on a shoot do you play music? What other essential items do you have with you for a successful session?
When I’m shooting in this particular community, Yarrabah in FNQ, I take nothing with me but my cameras, a couple of extra lenses and a tripod. I don’t play music (as much as I love listening to and photographing it) as I’m totally focussed on the people I’m with and the land that I’m on, which is Yidinji Country. I’m totally oblivious to anything else except that present moment.
5. In the digital world how important is the print?
To me it is still very important. I grew up with the print, there was no digital option, and I always loved the way an image can be printed onto different papers or mediums and gives a totally different effect. It is all part of the outcome of the work.
6. B/W - Colour - Analogue - Digital.
Put these words in your order of preference and tell us why.
Learning with analogue gave me an awareness of the two different qualities. Film has such a richness of depth compared to digital but digital can be used in vast ways, and it’s immediate. I used to prefer film but now I find a place for both film and digital and digital has helped me create in ways I didn’t with film. I love both B&W and colour but I shoot mostly with colour as it gives me more expression of the subjects I photograph.
7. Have you exhibited your work, and other than the print, how important was the framing process to you?
I have not yet exhibited, it’s been about finding the time though of course would love to.
Framing I have done and it is imperative to the outcome of the whole creative process, it’s the final touch to completing the process, it can make or break an image. If not done properly, it can change the whole look of your work. Got to say I’m fussy about framing and I love a good framer who is definitely part of the creative decision.
Framing is everything, whether it be part of the edge of the image printed on paper, but essentially starts with good composition. The physical frame completes the story.
8. What defines a great image?
Taking the viewer into the subject of the photograph and stopping them in their tracks, making them feel something, or at least question something about that photograph’s subject.
9. What is your favourite photo that you have taken? Why?
I couldn’t choose, there are many I enjoy equally, but mostly I enjoy photographing the children in these images when their faces are full of joy at being able to practice their culture or when they’re on pristine, ancestral land which is at the core of their being.
10. What is the best photography advice you have been given? Tell us by who if you can or want to?
I don’t think I’ve been given any photography advice by anyone in particular, but I learned years ago by reading so many magazines on the subjects I loved (before digital came along) and every time I took a photo I thought was good at the time, would look at it and see what I could do to make it better. That’s a continual practice.
11. When you are not taking photos, what are you doing?
Either walking by the local beaches nearby, getting to the gym, curling up with my cats, but mostly working so that I can afford the next trip up to FNQ where I love photographing the cultural experiences and stories I’ve been working on for years.
Dianne Brooks - August 2022