Artist Profile: Brooke Holm

THE AMBITIONS OF AUSTRALIAN-RAISED, NEW YORK-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER BROOKE HOLM FLY ALMOST AS HIGH AS THE DREAMY AERIAL LANDSCAPES THAT HAVE WON HER INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM. HELEN MCKENZIE WRITES.

Brooke Holm

Brooke Holm with her Salt & Sky series.

SHE LIVES IN NEW YORK’S design epicentre and has built a formidable reputation as a go-to photographer in the demanding world of advertising. Between architecture, still life and design shoots she has managed to have no small number of solo gallery exhibitions for her landscape photography. You would think that 31-year-old Brooke Holm, who is on the road for a quarter of her life, has no time for dreaming, but in fact her dreaming is almost as large in scale as her ethereal aerial works: as she tells Art Edit, the high-shooting photographer harbours a burning desire to travel to the moon – or maybe Mars.

Brooke’s correspondence with NASA reads something like this:

Dear NASA,

My name is Brooke Holm I am a photographer (please see my website). I would like to go on your next mission to the moon, or Mars.

NASA’s response is something like:

Dear Miss Holm,

Your work is very impressive but unfortunately we are not planning to take a photographer into space in the near future. Perhaps you would like to join our astronaut program?

Talking to Brooke from her apartment in a converted knitting factory in the über-cool Brooklyn sub-pocket of Bushwick, East Williamsburg, it is a hard to know just how seriously to take the space talk. But to put these pipe dreams into context, Brooke has recently found herself being chased by walruses, dangling out of helicopters and getting way too close to a polar bear – so maybe she’s not fooling.

Brooke was born in California to an American father and an Australian mother. At age ten, she moved with her mother and three sisters to Brisbane. Brooke has now been living back in the states for three years, but her thoughts are still split between the two continents.

“I would to love to be in Australia for six months and here for 6 months each year,” she tells Art Edit. New York is, however, where Brooke needs to be. She says: “It’s really cool because I have access to amazing designers who I didn’t have access to before. I’ve been able to collaborate with people I never thought I would. It’s so exciting.”

In Australia, Brook is represented by Melbourne gallery Modern Times and has been back to Australia for her landscape exhibitions. Last year’s show, titled Mineral Matter, featured spectacular images of Lake Tyrell, Victoria’s largest salt lake. In 2015, her work from a trip to the Arctic Circle was shown, and next year she’ll debut her recent work from Namibia. In fact, 2019 is looking to be a big year for the artist. She’ll also be returning to the Arctic as part of a prestigious group of scientists and artists on a 17-day expedition to photographically document the impact of climate change.

Brooke’s landscapes are not just beautiful to look at; they also offer a deeper meaning to be understood. “When I first went to the Arctic, I learned not only that climate change is affecting certain places more than others, but also what is going to happen when certain areas are no longer habitable, and the refugee crisis becomes so much worse. I want to portray the beautiful, amazing, side of nature that needs protection, share that with people and hopefully provide some sort of connection between that person and nature,” she says

With her feet firmly on the ground and the impact of climate change to show though her photographs, Brooke may be light years from her space dream, but she did hear back from NASA again.

“No, I’m not going to the moon yet… But I did get invited by NASA to come and photograph their rocket assembly facility in New Orleans. I went for two days – it was so exciting!”

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