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The Work That Made Me: Casey Brooks

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Image Partnership's Casey Brooks takes a look at what the work that has made her who she is today
The Work That Made Me: Casey Brooks

Image Partnership's Casey Brooks had a unique eye for movement and rhythm. This has lead to collaborations with Michelle Dorrance, Emma Portner, Soraya Lundy, and principal dancers from The Royal Ballet. Here, Casey explains how Missy Elliott introduced her to music and dance and how Fendi became her proudest work. 


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me...

Missy Elliott’s whole album Under Construction. Music and dance was my first introduction to art. I heard hip-hop for the first time in 6th grade when I joined a dance school. Before then my family didn’t really listen to the radio and the music they did play was mostly Christian music. That was the first year I really started listening to mixtapes that my friends made me. Once I got into photography when I was about 15 I recreated Missy’s album cover with my friend.


The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry… 

I grew up in the south where you couldn’t really buy fashion magazines besides Cosmo at the time. Once fashion editorials were more online I became obsessed with following fashion photographers like Steven Meisel, Tim Walker, and Peter Lindbergh. Their lines! The stories! The sets, were absolute perfection!

I would print out thumbnails that I found online and tape them on my walls. I didn’t know anyone around me who was into fashion and my only context came from the internet. 

But I knew that these images were some of the most beautiful pictures I had ever seen. The sheer creativity that these photographers were afforded inspired me. Their images seemed so free compared to lifestyle or advertising photographs. 


The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting.. 

Dance is what got me into video (I went to school for photography.) I feel like there is some choreography that I could just watch a million times. Here’s a favorite. Go watch Jose Tena perform Candace Brown’s choreography to ‘Bananaz’ ….scroll ahead to 1:38. The musicality is so precise. It’s very satisfying to watch as a visual artist who also loves music. 


My first professional project… 

My first Aeropostale commercial wasn’t my first professional gig by far. But it was my first time making a commercial for a big brand that went viral. I got to shoot what I love, dance, for a product that made sense - stretchy jeans. The brand took my direction and licensed ‘New York’ by Angel Haze and the girls just killed the choreography. Mesmerising movement and a quick product get!


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

The ignorance in this ad was wild. It speaks to an advertising culture that is deeply privileged and removed from real justice. Not one person working on this or reading the script had an issue with it? It just goes to show we need to have diverse representation of all kinds at senior levels throughout the industry.  


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous...  

‘One Flat Thing’ by William Forsyth. This is such a masterpiece by everyone involved. The choreographer and dancers, but more specifically how the director interpreted the modern dance piece that was originally created for the stage. The way the first shot grows and unfolds is perfect. While the dancers slowly come towards the camera it is still and then after a minute of dancing they stand up and the camera tracks them in that same shot. It is so unexpected for the camera to move all of the sudden. The aerial shot of the dancers running in with their tables is also phenomenal. It reminds me why dance on film is so necessary and such a different experience than watching live dance on a stage. 


The creative project that changed my career... 

Nowness Video 

Casi for NOWNESS. I created this film with two of my dancer friends around NYC. I had a pile of index cards with different scenes and actions that I wanted them to improve around. We shot it over two days driving around in my car with the back stuffed with random props and clothes. 

We didn’t really have a linear story to tell, just a mood that we wanted to convey. The imagery feels super surreal and pairs beautifully with the XXYYXX track. It ended up feeling like a sort of Rorschach test for the viewer. They see what they want to see in it. This was on of those projects that came out so smoothly and beautifully. I remember Cass Bird commenting on the post when it came out on Nowness’ IG. That was a cool moment because I love her work so much. 


The work that I’m proudest of...

Fendi Video 

My most recent FENDI campaign. Directing this Fendi campaign was a dream come true. The collection was inspired by the film ‘Gloria’ and they wanted that to come through in the film. I love action films and spy movies, so I was immediately inspired by this feeling of suspense. What I love about fashion is that it’s really about a mood and it doesn’t haven’t put together a linear story like cinema. The creative director, Maria Elena Cima agreed that we shouldn’t try to make our own narrative short, but rather a fashion mood piece that gives a glimpse into the FENDI characters’ lives. The way all the elements came together is so beautiful. 


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Ha! I don’t think I can show you a link to that. But.. I can say that I was once asked to make a house remix of a classic ballet track for a Holiday ad.  We had this famous hip-hop choreographer collaborating with us on the ad and it just felt so odd to have her dance to house music. They were pretty attached to that creative and this being one of my first big jobs I didn’t push back in the same way I would have now. I still have nightmares about that song.

 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most... 

Golden Goose 

My Golden Goose ad shot in Times Square. This project was such a celebration of hip-hop and NYC style. I worked with famous NY choreographer, Soraya Lundy, and hired 50 NY dancers to dance to Chaka Khan’s ‘Like Sugar’ super early in the morning. It just happened to be pouring rain the day of and our production team improvised with the clear umbrella’s. It actually came out much more interesting with this added element of conflict that the dancers’ overcame. And the reflections in the wet concrete added a beautiful visual element. 


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Image Partnership, Fri, 26 Jun 2020 11:28:36 GMT