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Retro Pin-up Photographer Shannon Brooke:

Photo by Shannon Brooke
     Hot rod gals and Hollywood glamour; photographer Shannon Brooke covers it all. She's part of a growing number of women who are picking up cameras and creating some amazing modern-day pin-ups. Brooke has the ability to make her models look both comfortable and beautiful and her photos brim with a playful sensuality harking back to the classic era of pin-ups. This talented gal makes looking at girlie photos so much fun!

     Here now is an exclusive interview with Shannon Brooke.

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Java's Bachelor Pad: Maybe it's me, but nowadays I'm seeing more and more women getting behind the camera to take pin-ups. Why do you think that is? Is it all the Bunny Yeager effect? lol.

Shannon Brooke: The reason why I like to photograph women is probably the same reason why guys photograph women…they’re hot! Haha, that, and my ultimate passion first before photography is making women feel as beautiful as every one else sees them to be. I am sensitive to this because of some rough times growing up due to a scar on my face. Kids in school made fun of me, and I never really felt pretty. Always a self-conscious girl, I found that through my photos, I can fulfill that empty spot by making others feel beautiful. 

JBP: I know you do more than just pin-ups, but it seems the pin-up is where your passion lies. How did you get started in pin-up photography? Is there a driving philosophy in your work? In other words, what do you want to accomplish with your photography?

SB:I didn't “get started” doing pin-up photography. I just fell into it by accident! I think I had an assignment in school to take a photograph of  something representing the word “Classic” and I shot a horrible version of a pin-up with a 1958 Ford Fairlane. The lighting was so bad, and I was doing the hair and makeup! Haha.
     I feel like the meaning of my pin-ups lie within the archetypes of a femme fatale and the virgin. Pin-ups of the 1940's and 1950's were so sweet and innocent with their angelic faces, and huge smiles. Rarely were they nude, with a few Vargas exceptions. They were innocent, but had a tinge of the femme fatale in them because of the way their clothes fit their sexy bodies! Collectively, I am drawn to the pin-up style because there is a high level of class. I am one of those porn-haters, and I feel like a woman can be even sexier with her clothes on!

JBP: Who are your influences? That is, who do you look to when you are looking for ideas, hints, tricks?

SB: My new favorite photographer is Rocky Schenck. I have been studying his Hollywood glamour type photography for lighting ideas and such. He is the contemporary George Hurrell or Cecil Beaton, which are other photographers I will always look to for ideas and light. Then there is always my friend David Perry.  He has taught me so much, and I feel so lucky to have worked with him.  Alberto Vargas, Perter Driben, and George Petty are my posing and styling references.

JBP: In your photos, I see two different styles. On the one hand there's the classic glamour with classic Hollywood influences and then there's the tough girl/hot rod side. How do you balance between the two? Is there one style you're more drawn to?

SB: No way, I love both! Most of the time, I will decide what sort of setting fits my model the best. Sometimes a certain situation doesn't fit a model's personality. 

JBP: Tell us about how you work with models. Are you the boss or do you work in more of a partnership with the gals? And speaking of those beautiful gals, you've worked with many that are familiar to fans of Java's Bachelor Pad. What was it like to work with them? Do you have a favorite so far? And are there any gals you're dying to work with?

SB: Are you kidding, I am always the boss!! Haha, but I am a super lenient boss. I like to have the freedom to pose the girls how I want them to be, and, oh gosh, my lighting…sometimes I feel like I pay more attention to those darn lights than the girls. Something I make sure I ask my models at a shoot is this: “Is there an outfit you brought that you have been dying to shoot in?” First of all, that will be the outfit they look the hottest in, secondly they will be so excited to wear it that their expressions will be dead on! There is nothing better than making a model feel appreciated and able to have decisions during a shoot. On the other hand, I have my ideas that we will shoot for sure, then any ideas that a model may have comes after. Haha
     Every lady I have worked with has been a joy.  I don't treat one model different from the next. They are all ladies that deserve to be respected, and they are all uniquely gorgeous. 
     If I were to choose any model in the world to work with it would be Drew Barrymore! How cute would pin-ups of her be?!? 

JBP: Tell us about your recently "Girls on Film" project (which is worked on with fellow pin-up photographersMichael Millam--of Nightmare photography, Marco Patino, and Maggie St. Thomas). I'm sure you guys talk about pin-up photography a lot. What is the subject de jour currently?

SB: It was a pleasure to be shown along side these amazing photographers. I need to thank Maggie for the invite, I met so many wonderful people because of this event. I hope there will be more shows to come! 
     I don't think there really is a main subject we talk about most...maybe emerging models!?! Haha, I think we just gossip more than anything else, what else are friends for? 

JBP: What projects are you currently working on?

SB: Right now I am working on my 1940’s Hollywood Series, although I feel like I have a lot to learn in lighting techniques for this style!  It is a great exercise to strengthen my technical skills as an emerging photographer. 

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Shannon Brooke's Website>>>

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