Ann Brooks Photography

Photojournalism, art photography, studio happenings & resources

Posts Tagged ‘Europe

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

Summertime is travel photography time

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Summertime is travel time for many and for most that means travel photography. Fifty years ago my first travel photography began casually with a Kodak Baby Brownie in Europe. And truth be told, for many decades my photography continued in a pretty relaxed manner.

By 2003 I had decided to take my photography more seriously and signed up for my first  photography workshop with Santa Fe Workshops during their annual month in San Miguel Alliende in Mexico.

The workshop instructor was Bob Krist for “Spirit of Place”, travel photography. During that week I found Bob to be the consummate teacher. I couldn’t have chosen better for a first photography teacher. Even as an award winning travel photographer, published in National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian and Islands he taught without ego and with great generosity, sharing his years of knowledge.

Ann BrooksI arrived at Bob’s workshop, a newbie in the realm of serious photography, feeling very much an outsider with my glistening little silver Pentax SLR among all the other participants toting big black Canon’s, Nikons and tripods.

After the workshop participants’ final slide show on Friday, Bob quietly said to me, “you’re going to do just fine with that camera” and confided that he would have been happy to have made one of the photos I had captured that week, himself.

Followup: I seldom used that Pentax film camera again as 2003 turned out to be the change-over year for me. It was digital from then on. In 2009 a Canon 40D.

Dancing Colors ©2003 Ann Brooks“Dancing Colors”  Dia de la Revolución parade, San Miguel Alliende, Mexico ©2003 Ann Brooks

And my photo from that week that Bob had so admired (above) turned out to be my lucky break. National Geographic found it and licensed it on several occasions for use in one of their international publications. Speak about beginners luck!!

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Though I was able to participate in a travel photography workshop from Bob Krist in person, here are some ways you can get some great tips from him today. In April Wall Street Journal interviewed him. Check it out.

And you can see a multi-media slide show of Bob’s work with good information on getting the  travel photos you want.

Don’t miss Bob Krist’s blog with ongoing travel photography tips, information, workshops.

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July 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

Lucky Gabriel!

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Originally posted on 3/14/2009

Mary Beth was in my studio last night during San Rafael’s monthly Art Walk. She was showing her son Gabriel images I had made in Europe as a teenager.

My grandmother feeding pigeons in Venice’s Piazza San Marco taken with a Kodak Baby Brownie. I remember thinking, “What a fool she is making of herself!”, but then, what do teen-agers know?

Mary Beth reminded me that the last time she visited my studio, I shared my experience of working with the photos on my computer, when suddenly detailed memories of the trip, buried in deep reaches of my brain, came rushing back. We talked about the value of early experiences and of memory-jogging photos. What is “early”? I was eighteen when my grandmother shared places she loved in Europe and North Africa.

Then Mary Beth told me her big news. She had just made reservations for a week in Paris. In June, in Paris … Gabriel will have just turned ten. Lucky Gabriel!

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March 17, 2009 at 2:52 am