Jess Brohier: On unplanned beauty


Melbourne based photographer and art director Jess Brohier proves chance does not always favour the prepared with her experimental series A Vacant Dream. See more of her work at the 2019 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award finalist exhibition launching at Skylight Gallery in Melbourne November 7.

Tell us a little about yourself, the focus of your work, your study or career to date, and your process as an artist?  

Hello! I'm Jess, an artist currently based in Melbourne. Photography is one of the mediums I use to understand and interpret my findings in the world, and through this I very luckily happened on a career. The focus of my work has always been to attempt to understand myself and the people in my surrounding environments. An underlying intention of the art I create is always to invoke feelings of connection or a certain mood. 

Image by Jessica Brohier

I have a double degree in psychology and sociology and following this I also studied a Diploma of Visual Art with a focus on painting and illustration. Photography was a love I discovered alongside this, until it gradually took over all of my creative drive and I found myself unable to do anything else. 

My creative process is half planning and the other half sheer spontaneity. I often begin with a base idea, however for me the creation happens mostly in the actual process and collaboration. I usually have a vague idea of what I want to create but then it can flow in any direction once we're in motion. 

How did this shoot come about? Did you have a brief, or intentions in creating this body of work? 

So this shoot was pretty much exactly what I mentioned above. It was a collaboration with some friends that I'd met recently and we wanted to have a day where we all contributed to see what we could achieve. Usually I do have at least some rough idea of visual aesthetic or story before the shoot day, but this one was especially unplanned. Ironically, it turned out to be one of my favourites so far!

On the morning of, I had no idea how this project would look, or any idea about location or mood as I hadn't seen any of the clothes and had never worked on editorial with the stylist or make-up artist before.

Sometimes I find it really exciting to throw a wild card in the mix and work with new people, as you never know what you're going to get.

The model was a friend of mine however, and through shooting her before I knew she would be incredible regardless. 

I went in completely blank on this day and happened to spot the location as we were driving to the meet up place. We came back and I decided to shoot the whole day in the same spot as it just looked so dreamlike and the lighting was perfect. The story for this one pretty much wrote itself as we went. 

Image by Jessica Brohier

What was the experience like on set while shooting? 

It was a great day and everyone brought incredible energy with them. Everything just flowed from start to finish. The there was a moment where Megan was standing on the sand and I saw these birds flying around, and I could just see that photograph of her and I knew I wanted to create something surreal to encapsulate this dreamy, floating mood we were all feeling.

I got that shot and it was one of those moments where I just felt that I was in the right place, doing the thing I should be doing right at this time in my life. 

The 2019 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award finalist exhibition launches at Skylight Gallery in Melbourne November 7.

Image by Jessica Brohier