Tell us, Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Michelle Brooks, and together with my husband, Derrick, we own MichelleB Photography. We focus mainly on wedding photography (including engagement and bridal sessions), but also enjoy doing family, children, and graduating senior sessions. Our style could be called a combination of photojournalism and creative traditionalism –we don’t like the stuffy, rigid formality of conventional photography, but we’re not way out there on the “expressive-interpretive” end, either! We strive for spontaneous captures of the memorable moments of interaction within the events in a person’s life.
Why do you do what you do?
Photography has always held a fascination for me. The ability to take one tiny fraction of time, freeze it with the click of a button, and produce something that for a lifetime can be picked up, and with a glance, bring back a flood of feelings and sensations surrounding that moment—what can compare to that? For Derrick and I both, photography is a means of expressing ourselves creatively while documenting the essence of our client’s occasion. And it’s fun!
Tell us a little about your background?
Derrick has run a successful commercial business for over 25 years. My professions have included waitress, retail store management, antique business, Realtor, mortgage loan officer, and bank teller, which is what I currently do part time. MichelleB Photography has been up and running for about a year and a half now, and it is by far the most enjoyable venture we’ve been on!
Who are you most inspired by?
Personally, by my husband. His big-heartedness constantly motivates me to open up in new and better ways. Other photographers inspire me to keep pushing my skills to higher levels, and some of my shutter gurus are Jasmine Star, Bobby Earle, and Katelyn James-Alsop.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Weddings! Hands down. Yes, they can be stressful, but there is so much energy and excitement and life going on—it’s impossible not to be inebriated by it.
What themes do you pursue?
Hmmm…I’m not really sure how to answer this question, other than to say we pursue artful portrayal of life’s moments.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
There’s this young couple we’ve known for a few years; the kind of couple everyone loves and who love everyone. They each had very successful careers, beautiful middle class home, all that goes with it. One day they made the decision to make a drastic change in their lives - give up the big home, the demanding, lucrative careers- in order to pursue together their ministry. Watching them make these changes, and seeing the happiness it has brought them to rid themselves of some of the trappings of a “successful” life in order to put first in their lives what is most important—that really struck a response within Derrick and I.
What song/songs/music genres inspire you?
For me, artists that have a kind of haunting intensity; like Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne, Adele. But I also LOVE those kinds of Scottish/Irish dirge/ballad type songs—like that song “My Ain True Love” from the Cold Mountain soundtrack? Yes. Chills. Now Derrick, he all about the bluesy stuff; Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, certain Ray Charles stuff.
What do you dislike about your work?
That we are not yet able to do it full time.
What do you like about your work?
Seeing the look on people’s faces when they look at a photo of themselves and hearing them say, “Wow, I did not know I could look like that!”
Name something you love, and why.
Chocolate. Because it’s chocolate.
What is your dream project?
To do a destination wedding in Italy. Oh, yeah.
Favorite or most inspirational place?
Well, I haven’t been to Italy or I’m sure that would be my answer. But Derrick & I have been going to the Gulf of Mexico area of Florida (Navarre, Destin, Pensacola) for about 15 years and it continually invigorates and replenishes us.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When asked this question, Dwight Schrute of The Office responded, “Don’t be stupid. Changed my life. So now, when I think about doing something, I ask myself “Is this stupid?” and if it is…I don’t do that thing.” Gotta love The Office! Sorry, I digress. For myself…someone told me once not to ever resent sacrifices I decide to make. I try to live by that. Oh, and my daddy’s advice since I was a toddler to “Play pretty”….meaning, be nice to others.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
One day, one sweet, sweet day, for Derrick and I to be full time photographers. Can’t come soon enough!
You can contact Michelle here on Twitter, see more photos on Facebook, or her Flickr and drool over her phots HERE on her site!
Also, for my fellow locals, MichelleB. Photography will have a booth at the upcoming "Wedding Festivals Expo" in Anderson, SC at the Anderson Civic Center on Saturday, January 29th, from 10am-3pm!
XOXOXOX- Trashy Betty