How to Capture and Reinvent the Patterns of Nature

Stillness, scattered lines, bubble-gum shades and the grit of common salt all come to mind when considering Brooke Holm’s landscapes. Laying out different textures and tones, her photographs play with the irregular patterns of nature in order to create a whole different kind of art.

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Particularly in her Salt and Sky series, featuring aerial abstract shots from the Salt Fields of Western Australia, and shown below among a number of other sweeping landscape images, Brooke manages to create a pastel effect that casts a surreal light over the whole image.

Talking about her photographic approach, Brooke says: ‘the aerials are taken from small planes and helicopters. I think there is an ongoing theme of patterns, shapes, color, light and textures in my photography, and it wasn’t necessarily that I thought I would get exactly that: it’s just how I shoot naturally. You don’t have much time to think about that when you’re flying over something very quickly, and every second matters’.

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In accordance with her titular theme, the images have a certain salty flavour that you can almost feel on tip of your tongue. The textures and colours captured by Brooke combine in a synaesthetic unity, evoking a familiar world in spite of the alien aerial abstraction by which they are produced.

The Plus: Could you tell me a bit about how you got into photography?
Brooke Holm:
When I was fresh out of university from studying TV Production and Advertising I was working as an assistant in an Ad agency in Brisbane. I was the jack-of-all-trades, so they used to get me to go out with their point-and-shoot camera and take photos of billboards and outdoor ads they had produced. I developed a love of photography from there, and used to use my 3 sisters as models; we would do fashion shoots on the weekends for fun. I got my own camera, then went and studied a 1 year photography course at college, and by the end of it I was ready to pack up and move to Melbourne (I thought it was more creative and photography-friendly), where I began and developed my professional photography career.

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TP: How did you manage to get the aerial images?
BH:
My most recent trip to Iceland had me hanging out of a helicopter with the door open, harness on, with SO MUCH wonderment beneath me. Salt and Sky was taken from a very small plane that had a window I could open.

TP: Your ‘Place’ photography is particularly striking, but you have other projects – in interiors and still-lives for example. Is there something that unites your approach to all these?
BH:
Yes. I think the way I shoot is similar in all areas of the photography I produce. Light is obviously a huge factor, and everything else just comes with the aesthetic of my work. I like to find connections between photographs that were not taken in the same environments. For example, if you go to my home page there is an interior, a still life, and a landscape, all side by side. But what you might notice is that the texture, color, light, and feeling of each are united.

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TP: What is it that inspires you when you begin a new project or series?
BH:
Landscape will always play a great part in my personal work, and that is because I am so drawn to it. I like exploring the relationship between humans and the environment, but also the relationships between humans, and the relationship between the organic environment and the inorganic. I like to observe the things that strike a chord with me, and share them. Whether the meaning behind it is positive or negative, there is always a story to tell through photography.

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TP: What sort of projects will you be looking into now that you are based in New York?
BH:
It’s interesting starting fresh in a place because you can ultimately be more selective in terms of what you want to do and the kinds of creatives/businesses that you connect with. There are so many talented people in this city (architects, designers, stylists, etc.) that I would love to collaborate with. I can also focus a lot of time on my artwork and ideas and start finding a place for them. Right now I have creative freedom, which is so fortunate.

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