Brooke Ashley Barone

by Emily Wells


Brooke Ashley Barone

"I think its really important to stay curious because it keeps you open."

Brooke Ashley Barone is the kind of photographer who is deeply committed to her growth as an artist. She's constantly looking at her own work and reassessing where she wants it to go. A few months ago, we chatted over ramen about how she decided to commit to shooting entirely on film, though much of her popularity in the L.A. photography world was gained through digital platforms like Instagram.

This kind of reflection is impressive in a young artist of only 23, as is its resulted images: Brooke's photographs are lucid and communicative; they show a deep intimacy with her subjects and a uniquely developed aesthetic. Most of all, her curiosity about the world shines through — these are the shots of a person who is seeking something.

I caught up with Brooke about her approach and drive as a photographer:

When and how did you start with photography?

During my teen years there was something going on and I was capturing these intimate moments where I was photographing my friends and boyfriend. It didn't click for me until later on when I needed to find a way to express myself creatively that the camera would become a full time tool for self expression.

What drives you as a photographer?

There is an innocent curiosity that runs through me. The camera has become a vehicle for me to explore and capture those curiosities. I think its really important to stay curious because it keeps you open.

You've gained a lot of your following through Instagram. What do you see the role of social media as in young photographers?

Social media is supposed to be this "blip" - a small interaction. I feel as though I am fully immersed in this world in the same way I would communicate in a full conversation. As social media takes on young photographer's lives, it evolves into a new form of interaction.

You recently made the choice to switch from shooting digital to shooting entirely on film. What inspired this choice, and how has the transition been?

As my taste constantly evolves, so has my ability to see photos as fine art. The mood, lighting, the grain - there's an emotion I connect with in particular with film. I became numb with digital because the instant gratification was so accessible I took it for granted. I needed to feel again, and the process that goes into using film allows me to slow down to where I can become more present.

You take photos of women — models, your female friends, yourself. How do you engage with the female form/issues of objectification in your images?

When I shoot women, it is a very empowering and impactful movement. I create a freedom and liberation through the female energy. There is an equality between the model and I. I try to bring out vulnerability in the models I work with because strength is formed as an ultimate outcome. There is no objectification occurring when I am creating; I come from a place of pureness that is raw and authentic to each woman. I am telling her story, which is very unique to each experience. I want to empower their soul through their emotional state.

Who do you admire as a photographer?

That's like asking me what my favorite food or song is. There are too many to name a list. I admire photographers that push boundaries. I am so lucky to be surrounded by other amazing photographers in my life who have the ability to help me through my process. They show me through their work and what influences them, and we all inspire, push and love each other further.