Jonathan Brooks is a native Miamian who enjoys tapping into his ancestral roots for artistic inspiration. His father is from Wisconsin and his mother is from Cuba. Like many artists, Brooks’ life experiences have also had a profound impact on his subject matter and the manner in which he translates that as a fine arts photographer.
“I loved those iconic black and white photos from Time-Life books I used to see as a kid and the polished fashion photography of Vogue. The fashion photographer Herb Ritts is my idol for his composition, lighting, and use of black and white,” said Brooks.
Brooks graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree from the University of Miami with a Communications Double Major (Advertising and Fine Arts: Photography) and a minor in Marketing. His lifetime passion for art and sketching was almost extinguished while studying architecture in college. He found that the rigidity of architectural drafting took the creativity out of drawing. He turned to photography.
“Photography became my way of painting,” said Brooks.
The artist has the ability to capture something that goes beyond what the camera “sees.” He imbues his subjects with an inner spark and a depth that invites the viewer to learn more about the subject captured on film. He is both a fine technician in the highest sense and a fine artist.
He is a versatile photographer, shooting landscape, fashion, portraits, and documentaries with a keen conceptual eye. His work has been exhibited at Art Basel, in New York City, Amsterdam, and the United Kingdom. The passing of his father also has had a profound influence on his work and gave rise to his series of photographs using the contrast of a skull and a living person. His SKULL series was featured on a recent airing of CW Network’s award winning series, The Vampire Diaries.
Flourishing in the art world is often a daunting task, yet Brooks has mastered the ability to remain in the public eye through the many outlets he has found for his talent. The award-winning artist shot his first short film (5 SKULLS) and authored a book (The True Cuba). He writes and photographs reviews for GreatFoodList.com; has a line of bilingual greeting cards on CardGnome.com called “Teach & Greet;” and is the shop owner of Jonathan Brooks Visual Arts on Etsy.com.
Among his accomplishments, Brooks counts: his art on a 25-story tall billboard in Times Square, a photo used on a popular primetime German television show, an image called “Over the Rainbow” that received Photo of the Year 2014 at the inaugural Miami Photo Salon during Miami’s art week and his “Dream” photo available at West Elm.
His book, The True Cuba was the artist’s response to the controversial children’s book, Vamos a Cuba. The children’s book was removed from library shelves by the Miami-Dade County School Board in 2006 because it was deemed to be propaganda extolling the virtues of life under the Castro regime.