Who is Brooks? Who can say.. But, one session in the water with him, either with a camera or a board will tell you the entire story. Brooks is a true-to-bone, genuine, rad human being. Equally as skilled on a board as he is with his camera, he’s a stoked presence in any lineup. Theres a lot of ego that floats around in the photo side of this industry, Brooks is the last person to carry that.. and that above all is one thing that should be supported. His work and ethic speak for themselves. Check out more of his work at: iambrooks.com or follow him on IG at: @brookssterling
We’ve gone through this before.. but for those who don’t know you, Who are you, what do you do, where are you from?
My name is Brooks Sterling. I’m a surfer, photographer, and designer from Southern California.
Vans, Single fins, film & friends…seems to be a constant, but what else gets you up in the morning?
To be honest…there is nothing I like more then taking photos of the things I enjoy in life. I’m fascinated with the fact that a photo captures a moment in time that can’t be relived. 1/1000 of a second, frozen in time…forever. I also enjoy the stoke that people get when they see photos of themselves surfing, skating…living life.
What was your first official photography gig?
I’d have to say that their’s nothing about photography and the action sports industry that’s official…everything is far from it. Your phone rings…and the next thing you know you’re shooting photos. Brands seasonal campaigns are a little more planned out then that, but they still are usually last minute. I’ve never shot for the larger corporate brands, but I’m sure it’s much more planned and a lot less fun.
Whats the most random job you’ve had? McDonalds, Walmart, jiffy lube?
During high school I stocked beer and milk in the fridge at a local grocery store. I’d wear a black hoodie, turn up my Walkman, and hang out in a fridge for hours…probably the least fun job ever.
Whats the best job you’ve ever had?
I’m still searching…but shooting photos of surfing in the water is by far the most fun.
Owning and running a high quality print magazine…long live print!
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everyone…designers, architects, photographers, makers, etc. Pretty much anyone that is passionate about what they create.
Why Shoot Film?
Shooting film teaches you to slow down the process and think about each individual shot, especially if you’re in the water.
Weapon of choice?
My go to camera for personal work is the Nikonos V. It’s simple, easy to use, waterproof, and takes great photos.
You’ve done a number of print projects, what are those? Why make zines? Why print your work?
There is nothing more satisfying then seeing your photos printed. I think if you asked any photographer, they’d tell you that they get excited every time they see one of their photos in print.
I really like making zines because they are an inexpensive way for me to create something unique and tangible with no rules or pressure.
Is it important for you to be a part of a creative community of people?
Yes, it’s very important. I think surrounding yourself with creative individuals makes you more creative. You can draw inspiration from each other, work on projects together, and maintain a high level of motivation for creativity.
Do you find that your community is online and spread out geographically, or do you have a local community in SoCal as well?
Most of the creatives I collaborate with are local – or at least within a few hour drive of where I live. I find that it’s easier to work together on projects if you can occasionally meet up in person. I also work a lot with the guys at Belgium based magazine, Co11ectif. We seem to email back and forth a lot…and occasionally FaceTime.
What kind of personal projects are you working on now?
Julian Martin and I have been going back and forth with a few ideas for the future of our photography. I’ve also been chatting with Shane Cox about a few new projects….but nothing solid yet. For now, more photo shows and zines.
What advice would you give a young photog starting out?
Shoot as much as possible. Shoot film, digital, disposable cameras, thrift store finds….just shoot. Perfect your style, perfect your craft…but most of all, have fun!
What kind of impact do you hope to leave with your work?
I hope that people see my photos and think to themselves…that looks fun…lets go surf!
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