Surreal, organic and softly fascinating, Brooke DiDonato‘s images do not leave us indifferent. The photographer from Ohio now based in New York City likes to capture mysterious moments in a kitschy decor, in a suburban aesthetic or even in the middle of nowhere. In any case, in the artist’s works, the bodies play. Behind her lens, she merges subjects with their surroundings with simplicity and a small dose of humour for a surprising and satisfying result. We’ve met her.

Hi Brooke! Before having a career in art photography, you’ve studied journalism and then found that you love telling stories visually. Tell us about your journey.

I really just wanted to be an artist. I started with drawing and painting in my early teens and then moved to mixed media when I was about 17 or so, experimenting with pictures I would make on a point and shoot camera. When I got to college, I was initially studying in the school of design. Then one day I heard about a major called photojournalism and thought it sounded more interesting than what I was doing drawing squares all day. So I dropped all of my design classes and changed majors. That’s the short version.

The surreal sceneries you create are often in pale colours, a bit retro and minimalistic. How would you describe your artistic universe in a few words?

A strange familiarity.

We need to fill in that blanks since we can barely see your model’s faces most of the time. Tell us more about the themes you explore and why you keep a few details a mystery.

I’ve always liked photography as a medium because it preserves the mystery of a moment. The viewer can’t really decipher what happened before that point or after and I enjoy that suspense.

Removing faces came partially from improvisation. I was working almost exclusively in self-portraits at the time and really disliked seeing myself as the subject. Then over time, it started to feel natural working this way… Building broad characters rather than individuals.

What was the best advice you have received about art and photography?

I’m not sure about art specifically, but I’ve been watching a lot of interviews with NBA players lately, and in one Michael Jordan says, «Work ethic eliminates fear». I like that.

What would be your dream project?

I’ll need another coffee for that question!

Follow Brooke DiDonato’s work on Instagram.