Interview: David Brookover

It was through a channel on YouTube, known as the Art of Photography, that I was introduced to the work of David Brookover. Despite all of the praise he was given – especially since he is using printing techniques that very few people use in the modern age – I simply did not see the hype. That was the case for a few months: I would go onto his website once or twice without once being overly impressed by his work. The only aspect of his work that I liked was it being in black and white. However, when I found myself out west in Jackson, Wyoming, my view on his work changed. From the moment I stepped into his gallery – by accident, without knowing who the hell he was – I was truly blown away. And I cannot stand that I was within his gallery at the same time as him (this would have been obvious to me had I paid attention to his website more) and did not speak a word to him. Regardless, I was able to shoot him an email that same day asking for an interview with him. So here we go…

David Brookover

Large Format Landscape Photography

Tell us a little about yourself (who you are, where you are based, what you shoot, etc.)

My name is David Brookover. I`m a professional photographer/gallery owner based in Jackson Hole, WY. I moved to JH in 2001 from Tokyo and opened the Brookover Gallery near the town square. We have been in business here for the last 16 years specializing in platinum/palladium, silver gelatin, photogravure other traditional, historical processes. The majority of my landscapes have been captured using 8x10 view cameras and more recently including digital cameras.

Where did you grow up? Has your childhood affected your photography at all?

I grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas until the 5th grade. My world was filled with walking and watching storms come and go. I was surrounded by space and endless hillsides. My sojourn really began there and each journey can be traced back to the adventures of my youth.

How did you get into landscape/film photography?

I began photographing landscapes seriously in 1988. At that time stock photo agencies were a viable way to make money and travel the world so I spent a lot of time capturing images for a few agencies in Japan where I lived. Over time I moved from 35mm to medium format then to large format as my taste and vision changed.

How do you make most of your money?

I make my money through print sales at our gallery in Jackson Hole. We are open throughout the year with the exception of a couple of weeks in Nov. and April.

How do you stay unique in a world where (almost) everyone has a camera in their back pocket?

You stay unique by photographing what inspires and drives you. It may be love, intrigue or perhaps fear that motivates you but in the end, you have to feel it and dive into what is being demanded by it.

Tell us about your photography techniques and the post processing of your photos.

The majority of my work is printed using traditional darkroom techniques. The common scenario is first Ill get an image I like then decide as to which printing method would best suit the work. Then Ill travel and work with the person who specializes in that printing method. There we will work together until we are both satisfied with the final outcome. Its not a popular approach these days in our fast paced world but its still my desirable way to show what I do.

What is more important: social media presence or in-person interactions?

Hands down in person interaction. Social media can be a crutch or at best a vain attempt to get recognized but means little in the sales arena. People want to hear your story and see the work in person.

How important is having a good website?

In relation to our gallery websites are simply cyber brochures. They help when customers are thinking of a print they saw at a show or gallery but little more.

Do you have any opinion on art galleries? Should young artists strive to be in an exhibit?

If the gallery is well thought out and the images shown have depth and range it has a good chance in building a clientele base. If it's foundation is lean on experience it will be a difficult sell. Most collectors are far wiser than most photographers when it comes to art. They may not understand the technical jargon but they know whats good or more importantly whats not. As an artist you need to have very thick skin and be willing to listen to what they are asking and know yourself and your product through and through.

If you could only take one more picture, what do you think it would be of? How would you begin to make that decision?

Without a doubt a photograph of my wife Yuko and our dog Mocha together. Yuko has been my biggest fan for many years and Mocha by my side for the last 12 years.