In preparation of the release of our Together We Can Collection, we connected with photographer and creative director Storm Bria-Rose Bookhard (@sbriabookhard) to capture our collection’s story. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to get some insight on what makes her a perfect fit for this collection.
Please share a short self-bio on your journey to becoming a photographer. When did you begin and what inspired you to pursue photography?
Both of my parents are Photojournalists and my Grandfather was one as well so I basically grew up in the back of an ABC news van and surrounded by photo gear. Throughout middle school I would tune into the nightly news and see the footage captured by my parents. This definitely informed my desire to make work that relates to the political climate. I got my first DSLR camera at 13 and planned my first shoot with models and a thought out concept at 15. I haven’t stopped shooting since, but found my passion for working with film about three years ago. It’s most definitely in my blood.
Your art is unique in that it is youthful and fun yet skillful and sophisticated. What is your creative process when approaching a new project?
My work is often conceptually rooted in a specific theme or sociopolitical message so I do a lot of research as a part of my creative process. Whether it be having long conversations with subjects prior to the shoot or collecting archival text and images over time (which I do for my photo-collage and video work), the process of gathering context is incredibly important to my practice. Formally, I am a fanatic for vibrant color palettes and evoking feelings of ethereality.
What are some of the challenges you face in this industry? How do you overcome them?
There are very obviously many issues of representation and equity in the fashion and art industries. As a Black and Queer artist, I try to combat them with the models I work with as well as the concepts/themes I explore. From a creative standpoint, I am far more invested in Fine Art photography as opposed to Editorial work so it is difficult to find opportunities that combine these practices and allow me to have excessive creative liberty in a product-based project. It is really important to me to work with people and companies that have values that align with mine!
Our brand’s mission relies on the tag line, Support Your Friends. One of the beauties of our tag-line is that each individual interprets it differently- what does Support Your Friends mean to you?
To me, Support Your Friends emphasizes the value of chosen family. My closest friends are a group of people that challenge, inspire, and uplift one another. Supporting your friends isn’t just about being there for them in difficult times, it’s about acknowledging their value and being their biggest fan even when they didn’t know they needed one.
Are there specific projects you created/participated in that stand out to you? Why?
I have a work in progress called, “We Are Americans, There Are No Heroes” and it’s primarily a photo-collage based work that I produce on a digital scanner. The project delves into the Presidency as a case study for heroism in American popular culture. I use archival text and images to create the works; calling upon our methods of preserving, memorializing, and idolizing figures of power. As a whole, the work aims to tackle broader concepts of nationalism as a prohibitor and problematize the narrative of the “white American icon.” This project is my first work which relates historical materials to contemporary culture/ politics which is something I am hoping to do a lot more of in the future.
What are some of the goals you have as a photographer? Do you see yourself continuing in the photography industry?
Right now, my career path is focussed in Curation. I am hoping to work in the museum field to facilitate exhibitions and public programs. I think a large part of this aspiration comes from being an artist and understanding how important the presentation of artworks is. I view it as an overlapping responsibility of artists and curators to craft their message and figure out a way to effectively communicate it to audiences.