“The scents of autumn
Drifting over dampened tracks
I saw you first…friend?”
Each visit to Jackson photographer David Brookover’s gallery is a surprising reminder of his work’s genius, sensitivity and splendor. There is NOBODY taking pictures (seems too quaint a phrase) today the way Brookover takes them. Refreshing his catalog several times a year, Brookover travels the world in search of that “something” that illustrates what he’s feeling—what he wants to convey to the world.
Our natural world responds. The rarest creatures allow Brookover in. Something new: many works on exhibition in his downtown Jackson gallery are accompanied by Brookover’s own haiku; he feels every side of an animal, a flower, a cliff, a tree, an ancient holy site, our rivers and mountains.
Describing his work, Brookover is in motion, replicating the act of creating photographs in thin air, filling space with the sounds of the process. It’s a dance, a performance. Brookover’s storytelling prowess is authentic, even engrossing.
This essay began with the image of a Spirit Bear, but we’re doing a half circle here, because I want to tell you about Brookover’s new flower images. He’s created eight in all, very limited editions of five, using a gum bichromate over platinum, a 16-step process taking six weeks to two months to complete. Brookover’s journey toward making these photographs includes some of history’s greatest stylistic photographers: David Chow, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Sally Mann.
Collectors’ response to the images is strong. New Jackson Hole property owners have already singled out Brookover’s work to place in their new homes.
“I was looking for someone who did gum over platinum printing, and I’d read this article by Chow, who’s now deceased; but it referred to Stan Klimek. There are only two people in America who do this painstaking work, and I called Stan,” recounts Brookover. “I called him up, we talked and connected instantly. I met him at Photo LA, and I knew I had to work with this guy. We got these prints in the gallery this spring, while I was in Africa, and the depth and rendition in these is just amazing, especially the gum bycromate.”
Brookover, known for his outdoor photography, had been wanting to try still lifes, and do them elegantly, as a platinum printing process. Working with Susan Bullock of the Jackson Hole Flower Company, Brookover chose flowers and compositions. The images were shot in a little studio beneath Brookover’s gallery that had previously served as storage space. A lighting specialist, Alex Herring, who’d worked with Brookover…and Annie Leibovitz…told Brookover he needed some no-messing-around lights.
In came the strobes, up went the set. High key or low key photographs? That was the question. Measuring precise quantities of pure platinum and palladium is essential to achieve the perfect effect for each photograph, an extremely difficult process. Platinum, explains Brookover, is a colder, blacker metal than palladium, which is very warm.
Onyx black embraces gleaming frost. These prints are aglow.
Don’t think Brookover’s fun factor is lost in the process. He’s having a ball. A virtuoso of movement and sound, Brookover practically dances through the gallery.
“So how we made these, let me show you! We built ourselves a 4×4′ Lazy Susan. And we spun it around, three of us, with the paper was on it, taped down! We get the solution of palladium, a syringe, we had a glass rod 6″ long. We put it down in front of the glass rod and create the perfect circle. We knew we could get the image on the paper, so we followed with a brush behind it, went out a little bit further, threw some more down behind it, and we got a little “Jackson Pollock-y” with another brush. We followed it with another brush…..and we had these SPLATTERS! Not just splatters, but STREAKY splatters!”
Taking a beat, he adds, “This is one-of-a-kind. It’s very special.”
Brookover cut his photographic teeth in Japan, and his wife, Yuko, is Japanese. Japan’s culture of beauty and balance permeates their lives; some would even say it’s evident in Brookover’s landscapes and wildlife images. Even the framing is perfection; pearl white silk wraps each frame interior.
“For Coups De Pinceau we got a long and very thin brush, dipped it into the palladium solution and created countless tiny brushstrokes,” Brookover points out. “Look at the orchid. There’s no image where we added the palladium. It’s one-of-a-kind, as well. This has a true Japanese feel. Going forward, after purchasing all my new brushes in Japan, wheneer my wife travels to Japan she buys me brushes!”
Coming next month: Brookover’s newest wildlife and landscapes. www.brookovergallery.com
The “who-what-where-when” are all in this flyer, but not the story behind this very special combination of horses and women.
“I have always admired Sari’s watercolors – the intensity of the colors, the fluidity of the subject matter, the interconnection of abstract interpretation and botanical accuracy (in her flowers) have always appealed to me,” says Marden. “We became friends on Facebook, really through the art connection, and then I discovered she was interested in helping people paint horses as well. Personally, I am looking forward to this because I am a dabbling water colorist and hope to be able to stretch my skills and perceptions under Sari’s tutelage.”
Marden describes this as a residential workshop allowing participants to stay on the ranch, enjoy wonderful cooking three meals a day, and focus on making connections with the horses and painting.
“Women & Horses” is a five-day workshop with an introductory evening on Day One.
“This is a very peaceful location with splendid mountain views of the Wyoming Range, the best-tasting water in Wyoming, gracious hosts and lots of places to relax and be creative,” says Marden.
Horse Warrior events range from parenting classes to teen leadership guidance, to womens’ workshops and a Cancer Kickers program. During “Women & Horses,” particpants will spend mornings with Marden and the horses and afternoons painting with Staggs. Diamondfly Ranch, adds Marden, lends itself to a variety of subject matter, particularly the ranch’s 20 friendly, gentle horses.
“Women & Horses” has room for 5-6 students, so contact Horse Warriors SOON to register for this very special class. Cost, contact information and dates are in the flyer. Enjoy, you lucky women! firstname.lastname@example.org is the email.