Interview: Shannon Brooke (2017)

Model: Masuimi Max
Wardrobe by Lory Sun


Shannon Brooke is primarily a Northern Cali based photographer focusing on commercial portraiture. Shooting everything from fashion to portraiture to music and advertising, her diversity is endless. For over a decade, she has worked with some of the most talented models, celebrities, and designers in the alternative industry. Her images have been published internationally on the covers of over 100 publications, and she recently started an office out of Sacramento, California. Previously a lead photographer at West Coast Choppers and Hot Topic, Inc., she is now a full time freelancer working on her own publications.

Sinical Magazine: Can you talk about your collaboration with Working Class Publishing on the book “Girls”?

Shannon Brooke: My most cherished collaboration in my career so far has been with WCP. They have made my lifetime goal a reality, and “Girls” was just as important to them as it was to me. It was my first solo publication, and I was their first signed author. Together, we obsessed over the details and we learned so much about making a beautiful picture book. They treat me like an artist they truly care about, not just another artist to make money off of. (If that makes sense!) They are loyal, honest, and extremely patient. I tend to be very picky about details and final picture output quality, and WCP was willing to work with me through all my crazy choices. So much that we will be collaborating again on a book this year!

Sinical Magazine: What type of equipment are you currently working with? Have you experimented with any new technology?

Shannon Brooke: Actually, I have been taking away more and more technical, and adding more natural light. If I can light with anything but strobes at the moment, I am jumping on the opportunity. I just lit the new Pleaser Pinup Couture Shoe campaign with old hollywood style hot lights. (actually a single powerful hot light) The campaign should be released this month starring models Gia Genevieve and Vintage Vandal.


Model: Bo Vixxen
Makeup and hair by Jasmine Cardenas
Wardrobe by Dainty Rascal


Sinical Magazine: Have you come across any art or movies that have inspired you recently?

Shannon Brooke: Movies always inspire me! I love a good glamour image mixed with some gore or horror, so Neon Demon was a great new movie to get inspired from...visually. Also, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (Yes, I just watched that movie for the first time this year. What an amateur!) I also just did a shoot inspired by Beyonce’s music video “Why Don’t You Love Me?” Which was heavily inspired by Bettie Page.

Sinical Magazine: How much preparation goes into your shoots?

Shannon Brooke: It depends. Sometimes I storyboard an entire shoot: poses, wardrobe, makeup and hair, could take a week! Other times I show up and know exactly what I wanna shoot when I get there and see the setting and natural light. I work very well both ways. Prepared and on the fly.


Model: Ginny Rosewater
Make up by Maddie Groshek
Hair by Tiffany Raelene\

Sinical Magazine: How do you approach a black and white photo set as opposed to an indoor/color set?

Shannon Brooke: It depends on the tone separation in the actual setting. Sometimes shooting black and white is a better bet if I’m at a higher ISO or if the colors are not popping enough. I can always add black and white filters to add tonal range. I love infrared filters and red/green filters to add tonal range.

Sinical Magazine: What are the stories behind some of the photos in this layout?

Shannon Brooke: Bo Vixxen’s shoot was shot way late in the day, and I only had maybe 30 minutes to get the few shots you see here. Totally worth it, because the light was so pretty before sunset. All natural. The Pontiac in the photo was perfect, except for the fact that we couldn’t close the hood properly! haha, the joy of shooting old cars...

Twistin’ Bangs shot in the mid century modern home with the dramatic cry makeup was inspired by the Beyonce video “Why Don’t You Love Me?” Also, that home was perfectly styled, one of the most beautiful MCM homes I have ever seen and shot in. Huge thanks to Katie Monachos for letting us shoot in her stellar home.


Model: Jenna Sue
Makeup & Hair by Bonnie Holly


Sinical Magazine: Can you talk about your other favorite camera subject: hot rods?

Shannon Brooke: Honestly, I don’t know anything about hot rods. But I can light and shoot them with a girl like nobodies business! There is just something sexy about the lines of a car matching the curvy lines of a woman’s body that just speaks to me. Also, I love vintage styling, and what could be a better prop than a vintage classic in the background?

Sinical Magazine: What projects are you working on for 2017?

Shannon Brooke: My next book will be released this April at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender #20. Hot Rod and Moto- inspired work! Also, I ended my 2016 with a huge bang! After years of being inspired by pinup and burlesque queen, Dita Von Teese, I got to shoot her in her lovely home December 30th, 2016. Definitely a milestone, and I can’t wait to share what this “glamour mission” entailed.

Check out my website or for details about my new book.|


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