By Charlotte Sims
Brooke is one of the most unique and genuine people I have ever met, and she does this effortlessly. She was hesitant to be interviewed, because she’s not the person who enjoys the spotlight. She’s most comfortable #BTS, doing everything in her power to make your merch look great or helping get a rescue kitty adopted.
Brooke’s knowledge on set and as a stylist is vast because of her second career as a photographer. She can evaluate the scene from all sides. Composition, lighting, ambience, are all key components in an advertising shoot and Brooke has home court advantage.
She spends almost all of her free time photographing rescue animals in the cutest possible situations and complimenting each photo with an equally hilarious caption. Duncan is Brooke’s own cat, personal muse and perhaps her mouthpiece. His eccentric and colorful personality fills her Instagram feed. She’s a staunch vegan yet will listen and share without judgement. Her compassion she extends to her loved ones and furry friends is inspiring and contagious.
How did you get into styling?
I started out in the photography end of this field. I managed a photo studio and assisted still life photographers. I knew commercial photography wasn't for me, but was happy to be working in the field, making a living and having time to still shoot for myself.
I was introduced to the world of stylists on set and many became quick friends who are still in my life today. When I decided to go freelance, I assisted several of these stylists while continuing to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. While I love taking portraits of animals for magazines and ad campaigns, as well
as for personal use, I also realized that I love getting to work with my hands on a set and be a part of the creative process. It is always invigorating to work beside photographers and art directors helping create that perfect moment, mood or setting.
So you're still a photographer?
Yes. Animals are my biggest passion. I love creating images that bring joy to many people. I'm involved with animal rescue and this talent lets me help homeless cats and dogs each year. As you can see with my most recent project 'If I fits I sits’ , I have been propping and picking the perfect vessel for each rescue kitten or group of kittens.
How do you think starting out in photography has helped shape you as a stylist?
I studied photography in college and worked with a large format camera. Because every image/exposed film counted, I learned to make sure the composition was exactly as I intended. While most photo shoots don't have the luxury of time, I try and make sure to really examine each frame since every component holds a purpose and contributes to the story of the image. My attention to detail was strengthened during my studies with photographers Larry Fink and Stephen Shore, and continues to be a strength art directors appreciate.
Since you specialize in bedding, what does your bed look like at home and do you make it every day?
My bed doesn't look like most of the beds I style. What it doesn't have in fluff though it has in color and character. (And cats!) I have layers of quilts in different blues bought from sample sales of several clients - a perk of the trade! I have five standard pillows, several with patterns to liven the bed up. And of course I have some cool decorative pillows.
Quilts make it easy to make my bed, but I have to admit I don't make my bed every morning anymore. And I would never think of ironing or steaming my bed. I only do that if I'm getting paid!