I am very glad to have discovered Steven Brooks’s portfolio. His work slowly releases details of nocturnal and crepuscular atmospheres, quiet and calm. It is easy to be captured by this magic silence that, as himself wrote us, seems to call us into the scene. There is no desire to excessively impress the viewer, but to be caught by the wonderful and serene fortuity of our daily encounters.
«I’ve never been much of a talker. Regretfully, I’m not much better at listening. I think I’m too distracted by everything I see…and I see everything. I’m especially fascinated by the world we’ve built. Literally, the objects, structures, and infrastructure: built for a myriad of purposes, most of which are relatively fleeting, especially in America. I like to observe cycles of formation, reclamation, and reuse—natural and man-made—the flux of all things tangible. I’m also interested in the relationships between our built and natural environments and how they relate to us, whether people are present, or just the clues they leave behind. Coupled with my visual nature, these interests led me to photography and inform my process. My research is incidental to daily life.
To me photography is, simply put, an exercise in pointing things out. Although I appreciate “democratic” photographs that appear to be made in an offhand, casual manner, that isn’t what I’m after. I’m more interested in infusing a touch of formality into my pictures. Dramatic or unusual light and a carefully composed frame can transform the most banal subject matter into a scene that appears conceptualized, even painted. If not quite idyllic, the scene might say, “Look at me. I’m fabulous.” I like that irony, and I find the process of discovering it endlessly invigorating. It motivates me to keep looking, everywhere and always.
When I was younger, I believed that I was compelled to roam and take pictures as a means of better understanding the world. Although that is a nice sentiment, I’m no longer convinced that it’s even remotely true. If anything, I’m increasingly perplexed by it. What I am confident of, however, is that photography helps me appreciate the world simply by making it more interesting. It allows me to revel in perpetual curiosity».
© Courtesy Steven Brooks