Ann Brooks Photography

Photojournalism, art photography, studio happenings & resources

Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

iPhone 4s has an amazing camera!

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Down the hall on the right you can see the “Ann Brooks” shingle hanging over my studio door. Hope you’ll come visit.

I just posted a story about Art Works Downtown’s Dia de los Muertos gallery exhibition. I took all the photos with my new iPhone 4S camera. Absolutely amazing camera – though also a phone. In any case I’m loving having it with me everywhere I go. It’s gotten me back into photography.

You can see the story and all the iPhone 4S photos on my other blog, Ann Brooks Studio which I’ve usually thought of as my jewelry blog.








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December 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

1950s North African market influenced my future travels, photography, jewelry

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The North African souq which was to influence my travels, my photography and my jewelry for years to come. Taken with a Kodak Baby Brownie.

I was a very impressionable teenager in the 1950s, when I first set eyes on a North African souq.

My grandmother and I had been traveling independently in Europe, from Ireland and Scotland, south through England, France and Spain. It was not all that long after World War II and Europe, itself seemed very “different” to this American teenager.

But I was in no way prepared for what I would see across the Straights of Gibraltar in Morocco, in Tangiers. The French were still present there and it was not unusual to see a European woman pushing a stroller on the same sidewalk with an Arab woman, covered from head to toe, with a toddler in hand. And Coca-Cola signs in both French and Arabic — on the same sign! The snake charmer! I found it all quite amazing.

But it was the sight of the the Arabs gathered in a souq, that North African market, that sunk deeply into my psyche. That view would influence where I chose to travel in future decades and even the jewelry I make today, a half century later!

It was my first view of how other people in the world lived that seemed in no way connected to the life I had known growing up in California. It stirred my my curiosity, my passion. I knew I wanted to see, learn more about other people, far away lands.

But then, time out to marry, raise a family and I was pretty tied down for two decades. I did manage to take my own children to Europe in 1973.

The yearning did not go away. Mexico was near and satisfied some of that need. Finally, in 1989 I saw India for the first time, but it was not till 2005 that I was able to return to India and made contacts with a Muslim family in Rajasthan that I would end up doing a photo documentary about their teenage daughter the following year.

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March 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

To my surprise, I’m doing jewelry photography!

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Before I got into serious photography I was a jeweler and always depended on a professional, Hap Sakwa, to photograph my nationally reputed fine art jewelry. I had very high standards, not only for my jewelry, but for the photography that represented it. Here are examples of Hap’s photography and my earlier jewelry.

~ jewelry: Ann Brooks, photos: Hap Sakwa

By last summer, and for the last five years I’d been solely a photographer. In August I was puzzling over what to do with a substantial stash of beads I still had. Maybe sell them.? To whom? Then I had a better idea. Use them to make jewelry and sell it to get a return on the beads. Beaded jewelry was a come-down after having been a fine art jeweler. For physical reasons I couldn’t do that any more, so hey, why not have fun doing beaded jewelry? And in addition to my studio at Art Works Downtown, why not sell it online?

So, I’ve been having a great time designing and making beaded jewelry. Then I had to face the challenge of how to do my own jewelry photography. Sure, I’m a photographer, have a good camera but jewelry photography is a real speciality, needing equipment, lighting conditions and experience. Research on the web brought me to these great videos by NYC photographer, Michael Seto on how to photograph jewelry. I adapted some of Michael’s ideas to my own situation, determined not to use traditional lighting, but the diffused natural light coming through the bay windows in my living room.

Teaching myself the ropes of jewelry photography has been a steep learning curve and I’m still learning. So far, I’ve learned a lot about using my Canon 40D that I didn’t know before and a some new things about using available light. Though you can see lots of my jewelry photos here on my shop pages, here are a few examples.

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January 7, 2010 at 2:29 am