STEVEN BROOKE STUDIOS
VIEWS OF ROME
from the publisher
believes in the myth of Rome. The intensity of his gaze and the poetry of
expression are unusual among artists who have worked in the Eternal City.
The two hundred photographs
that comprise his Views of Rome transcend the experience
particular moment. Like the Rome of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the
Brooke's Rome is ultimately a Rome of the imagination. Inspired by the
eighteenth-century Dutch and Italian vedutisti, Steven Brooke emulates
imitates his artistic predecessors. His goal is to acknowledge the vedute
tradition while reshaping
and extending it to accommodate the qualities of the photographer's art.Views of Rome is a unique guide to the most
significant sites of ancient, Christian, and modern
architecture. Steven Brooke produced the work - the first collection of its
kind in over
years - during his tenure as a fellow of the American Academy in Rome in the
early 1990s. For
this book he has written detailed captions that provide the history, location,
directions to each site.
A Common Reader, 2002
an essay I once wrote about wandering in the streets of Rome, I asserted that
photographs could never do justice to the city's evocative fabric of structure,
space, and time. Well, I've spent so much time savoring Steven Brooke's
photographic Views that I'm happy to eat my words. Brooke's...photos are
artful documents of the Eternal City - beautiful and transporting."
Weeks, Art Critic, Florida Times Union, Jacksonville,
Brooke's photographs of Rome at the Cummer Museum of Art are nothing short of
"Brooke presents an
absolutely stunning collection of monochrome photographs depicting typical
of Rome and an array of other, less familiar architectural jewels. This
guide is divided
into three historically significant and culturally distinct eras. Approximately
200 black-and-white photos capture the unique essence of ancient Rome, Christian
Rome, and modern Rome. Each photographic representation is accompanied by a detailed explanatory
caption, and many are offset by exquisite period engravings. Three essays by prominent art historians serve
as an introduction, but the superb photographs stand alone in this sumptuous testament to the timeless
power and social value of architecture from a photographer of considerable artistry and talent."
VIEWS OF JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND
A Common Reader, 1998
the view-painting tradition...Brooke artfully and comprehensively surveys the
vistas and architecture of Jerusalem through the camera's eye. His careful
black-and-white photos have the alluring intelligence and time-soaked
suggestiveness of engravings; his text and detailed captions teach a short
course in the history and geography of the city and its environs. A valuable
Word Trade Review
VIEWS OF JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND photographer
Steven Brooke recreates the tradition of the earlier vedutisti artists with an
exquisite tour of these sacred places. Stressing the landscape and architecture,
Steven Brooke's photographs are painstakingly composed, mostly shot early in the
morning to capture the stillness, and printed in glorious duotone. The images
are often shown with corresponding 19th century engravings that create a
fascinating dialogue with the past. All the major historical views are here:
overviews of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, The Temple Mount, the various
Stations of the Cross, The Western Wall, the Church of St. John the Baptist, the
tomb of the Virgin Mary, and the room of the Last Supper. The author contributes
an essay on the history and architecture of Jerusalem, and each of the more than
two hundred photographs includes historical notes that further enrich the
VIEWS OF JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND.
IMAGE MAKER: Steven Brooke documents the design legacy of Florida through his
by Georgia Tasker, Miami
Precise, clean and impeccably composed, Steven Brooke's photographs of homes,
gardens and even cities reflect the man himself. At 61, he is lean, with
close-cropped salt and pepper hair, a cordial and easy manner, sure of his
tastes and abilities.
Morton, senior editor of the publishing house Rizzoli, says of Brooke, ``For me
he's the best. Technically, he's superb. His compositions are always great.
Lighting . . . he's good at everything.''
new books feature Brooke's photography: Florida Modern, with University
of Miami architecture professor and author Jan Hochstim, and Casa
Florida, with writer Susan Sully. The styles, the yin and yang of Florida's
complex image of itself, have this in common: Brooke's photographs reveal them.
Because Brooke makes it easy to discern the intent of the design, nothing
extraneous stands between the reader and the subject.
covers significant houses in Florida designed between 1945 and 1970, when the
modernist movement included such well-known architects as Carl Abbott, Mark
Hampton, Rufus Nium and George Reed.
some cases, Brooke's photographs may be all that's left of a design legacy as
homes are razed, taking to the ground with them part of the architectural
heritage of South Florida. About McMansions going up in their place Brooke says,
``People want some ersatz version of romanticism. And they're easily satisfied.
The houses go setback to setback, so these horrible things are right up on you.
''George Reed and Rufus Nims . . . that [architectural] legacy . . . I don't
want to say it's lost, that's far too cynical,'' he says. ``But it will take
something I cannot foresee to bring it back.'' By photographing the modernist
houses, Brooke says, ``I want to express my appreciation for those buildings.
They're subtle. They require a sensitivity because not only don't they beat you
over the head, they're very attuned to the landscape.''
Miami resident Brooke has been producing Florida design books for years,
documenting everything from the new town of Seaside in the Florida Panhandle to
the stylish curves and flutes of the Art Deco district in Miami Beach. He has
been a contributing photographer to Architectural Digest for two decades.
of things he does, I think is terrific, that makes him above others, is that he
doesn't do a lot of angle shots,'' says architect Mark Hampton, a leader of
modernism in Florida. ``He [shoots] straight on. He really gets the essence of a
closely associated is Brooke with photographs of Florida that it is a surprise
to discover he once was a molecular biologist and that he is not Florida-born,
but comes from Detroit. What is not surprising: He got his first camera at age
8. ''If I'd been able to draw or paint, I probably would have gravitated toward
that,'' he says in his studio. ``I've always had a camera.'' His first was a
Rollei twin lens reflex, a classic medium-format camera that must be held at
waist level by the photographer, who peers down into the 2 ¼-inch-square
viewfinder. Even as a graduate student at the University of Miami, where he
studied chemical evolution and the origin of cells, he used specialized
techniques to capture images of cell components.
34, though, he had tired of lab work. ''I wanted to run my own business,'' he
said. ``I wanted to do things with more artistic qualities. I gravitated toward
a very precise kind of photography.''
Architectural photography, which is done with large negatives and big cameras,
is not every photographer's cup of tea because of its more meditative and
sometimes mathematical processes. ''The construction of the picture plane
follows very precise rules,'' Brooke explains. ``I had studied them in 17th
Century perspective paintings. I figured it out.''
Brooke's artistic bent came from his mother, an opera singer and concert pianist
who had a music scholarship at age 9. ''She practiced constantly,'' he
remembers. ``All that concerned her was the next concert. She was loving, but I
wasn't the only thing in the world. She had a career, and I respected that. I
was a willing acolyte for her hard-core teaching.'' Another mentor was a
thoracic surgeon who had expertise in astronomy, botany and the arts. From this
man, Brooke learned to ''keep all of your interests going'' so when he retired
from science he had another complete body of interest to which he could turn.
to a friend who was a Miami interior designer launched Brooke's photographic
career in 1979.
springboard for him was the struggle to get the Miami Beach Art Deco District
onto the National Registry of Historic Districts. He collaborated with the late
Barbara Capitman, the Art Deco crusader of the early 1980s, to produce Deco
Delights, a history of the district. He took a famous photo of the Senator
Hotel before the wrecking ball hit, says Brooke's wife Suzanne Martinson, an
artist, Brooke understands and appreciates modern architecture, says Martinson,
who is a modernist in her work. ''We have the same tastes as far as
architecture, but he also appreciates an older, more Gothic type of structure,''
she says. ``He's into the essence of the building; architecture that's very
their son Miles was born, the couple often traveled together to Brooke's
out-of-town photo shoots. 'People say, `Oh, gee, what a life,' '' Martinson
says. ``But he works like a dog because of his perfectionism. He likes available
light, not artificial, and he's on his feet from 5:30 in the morning to 10 at
night. I finally bowed out and said this isn't fun.''
Photographing a house usually takes three full days. Armed with a design plan,
Brooke makes a list of shots. Then he styles them. ''If I'm shooting for an
interior designer, I'll go over the rules I have for accessorizing, the things I
don't want,'' he says. ``I don't want white accessories, white flowers. I don't
like ferns; they're tacky. When we have floral arrangements, I insist on only
one species of flower being used rather than half a dozen. ``I generally take
things out of the shot. I like things clear.'' Brooke will even check the height
of the artwork hung in each room. ''Usually, pictures are too high,'' he says.
``If things are a little off [in a room], when you look at them on film they are
a lot off.''
painstaking effort has garnered him awards from the American Institute of
Architects and a prestigious client list including Robert A.M. Stern, Michael
Graves, Florence Knoll Basset, Mark Hampton, Benjamin Baldwin, Arquitectonica,
Philip Johnson and Charles Gwathmey. He has been the author and photographer of
seven books, coauthor/photographer of 19 and major contributor to an additional
seven, including Imagined and Real Landscapes of Piranesi, published by
Columbia Books of Architecture.
Piranesi was an 18th Century printmaker whose work contrasted the grandeur of an
idealized Rome with the seediness and decay of his times. His engravings were a
departure point for Brooke, who created photographs -- some from the same
viewpoints used by Piranesi -- of the timelessness of both ancient and modern
Rome. Brooke photographed the city while a fellow at the American Academy in
Rome in 1991 when he was a recipient of the Rome Prize. The American Academy
awards fellowships to 15 emerging artists and 15 scholars every year.
Views of Rome won
the American Institute of Architects 1992 International Book Award. Five years
later, in 1997, Brooke was a Fellow at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem and
produced Views of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. That city, he wrote, is
the ``only city in the world with an historical fabric comparable to that of
musician who played in orchestras and bands throughout high school, college and
graduate school, he still plays bass, saxophone and trumpet. But the horns need more time than he has,
he says, so these days he provides bass accompaniment for his 11-year-old son
Miles, who plays piano.
vegetarian, Brooke works out every day. He's busy researching new books of his
own, while reading The Historian, Praying for Gil Hodges because
he's crazy about baseball, and The Templars and the Assassins, a history
of the Knights Templar, which he is going to illustrate.
don't look at much photography,'' he says. ''I look at paintings. But I'm crazy
about George Hurrell, a glamour photographer during Hollywood's golden era.
''The most riveting images are from portraiture,'' he says. ``I think
portraiture is what photography does best of all. I'm experimenting with it.''
from the Jerusalem Post