A B O U T
Get to know Brooke and her journey into the world below the surface.
WHERE MY JOURNEY STARTED
During my early childhood I have vivid memories of being terrified by of the power of the ocean. One of my earliest recollections of it was at a young age walking along the shore with my parents. The huge and noisy waves breaking the shore beside us and the immense power I felt will always stay with me. It was as if the waves would crash onto us and pull us into its depths.
This fear of the water stayed with me for quite a few years until I learned to snorkel. I found that once I could see what was below the surface, it suddenly became less frightening. As most of my fellow Australians relate, the ocean is one of our greatest playgrounds and from early on many of us have some kind of close relationship with it.
If you had asked me years ago where I thought I’d end up as an adult, becoming an underwater photographer would have surprised me. As a teenager I had an interest in photography during high school and even applied to study it at university, however I didn't get in to the course. Instead I ended up studying Graphic Design in Melbourne. After finishing my studies in design, I discovered a love for scuba diving while on holiday in Thailand. It was not long after that I abandoned my career as a designer and moved abroad to train up to become a dive instructor. The underwater world truely fascinated me and being below the surface gave me a feeling of freedom and calmness. I knew this is where I wanted to be. I spent a several years in Thailand and Indonesia working in the dive industry. During that time I also participated as a volunteer for Marine Megafauna Foundation, assisting with manta ray research in Indonesia. The ocean and conservation became a pretty fully formed obsession for me and I felt very much on the right path. Being a creative person, it wasn’t long until I picked up an underwater camera. My career took another turn and underwater photography very quickly began to fill much of my free time outside of teaching diving and assisting with manta research.
I bought my first underwater camera back in 2014 and I stared to teach myself the basics of underwater photography. I spent hours in the water practising and taking every opportunity to grow my skills. After a few years of teaching diving, I felt very ready for a new challenge and a job with more creativity where I could develop a career. I knew if I wanted to take photography seriously, I needed a to upgrade my camera to a full frame setup. I also was thinking about where I wanted to work as a photographer. I had been following a few Australian photographers via social media for a while who were based on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. It seemed to me that the this might be the right place to go next and further my skills.
In 2021 I moved to Western Australia and began my first job as a professional photographer on a whale shark tour boat. Now nearly three years later I'm still here and feeling right at home in the Australian outback. I work full time as a photographer documenting some our beautiful marine life as well as working with brands and photographing for various clients. Our home here is incredible and we are so lucky to have a healthy and diverse population of oceangoing wildlife such as manta rays, whale sharks, migrating humpbacks, dugongs and many other species. The Ningaloo is just one of those places gives you a sense of magic and it never stops dishing out new surprises, it really is the dream location for any underwater photographer or nature lover. Living and working here did exactly what I had hoped, it set me along on the right path and into my career as a photographer. Just as I had hoped.
Much of my work revolves around my love for the ocean and naturally that is followed by an understanding for the need marine conservation. My photos get submitted to various conservation groups and researchers. Such as manta and whale shark ID catalogues, scientific papers, conservation articles and fundraising. I hope that my imagery can inspire change and love for the natural world by connecting the viewer with my subjects.
While I'm not out in the ocean swimming with the sharks and rays I love to write and share stories form my experiences. I have published work in several magazines such as Oceanographic Mag, EzDive, Mother Magazine, Ocean Giants and Alert Diver.
The most surprising part of my newly formed career so was an award I won last year. In 2022 just two years into my career as a professional I received an international award in photography. (Read more about that here). This was a huge accomplishment for me and I'm forever pinching myself that I have been so lucky to work in such a rewarding field along side some amazing animals and filling my days with such breath taking experiences.
To follow along with all my adventures check my Instagram @brookepykephotography