Brooks Jensen Arts

Welcome to my little corner of the web — and the world

My photographic artwork tends to divide itself into themed projects, each exploring an idea, place, or vision. Within each project listed below, you will typically find several types of media presentation — perhaps a folio or chapbook, a free downloadable PDF eBook or media monograph, a video, or other medium. Feel free to explore to your heart's content.

Winter Trees VII
The seventh of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

The skeletal complexity of winter trees is one of their primary characteristics — one that I could stare at for hours on end. One that I have stared at for hours on end. Tendrils, veins, pathways, neurons, delta patterns, roots. Not one single straight line anywhere.

Computer/tablet e-media:
Adobe Reader Computer Monograph | iPad/Android Monograph

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

The Corn Winnower
of Xiang Sha Wan
From the Sketches series, Stories from the Middle Kingdom

When I think of camels, I think of dunes and heat and thirst. At the outpost of Xiang Sha Wan near the headwaters of the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia, we found plenty of camels at the edge of the massive Gobi Desert. We also found a bitter winter wind that bit man and beast to the bone — instantly freezing every drop of water.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Market Day, Baotou, China, January 2011
A video example using environmental audio

I've assembled some images made during a recent trip to China into a simple, uncomplicated slide show to demonstrate the power of simple environmental audio. I encourage you to review the slideshow with your audio muted, then again with the audio playing. It's an amazing difference! If you are a photographer, start capturing audio to go with your images. It's fun and and incredibly powerful addition to a presentation of still images.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF computer media eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Suspended Without Wings
from the Sketches series

When I was a boy, no doubt influenced by the superheroes of my boyish fictions, I dreamt of flying. It was a difficult lesson for a young boy to learn; that the immutable laws of physics – gravity – could not be overcome by even the most fervent dreams and wishes of fanciful youth. I know, there are balloons and airplanes and helicopters – but I wanted wings.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

On the White Wall
from the Sketches series

Every white wall starts as a coat of clean, pristine paint — and the hopes of its painter that the purity will last. But as every photographer knows, a perfectly pure-white object is a blank spot. Without some break in the purity, without some flaw in the surface or some texture in the blank, a white wall is perfectly invisible, perfectly featureless, without character, without life.

Computer/tablet e-media:
Layered Computer PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Uncle Kenny
from the Sketches series "Stories from My Ancestors"

Everyone has an “Uncle Kenny” — or should have, a man who works hard — with his hands — his entire life. His hands reminded me of his old tools — bent and scarred, a testament to years of use.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Fog in the Hills and Aits
from the Sketches series

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls deified among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. (From the opening page of the 1852 novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens)

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Hilo Palms
from the Sketches series

I have never been a great fan of palm trees. In my limited experience, palms were stick-like weeds with crudely-formed, tufted tops found along the freeways of southern California. Clearly, I had never been to Hawaii. Recently, during my first visit to those balmy islands, I learned how limited my experiences had been. There they were — the palms! — overflowing with life in a ravine near Hilo. What complex beauty! They were jazz brought to life in an explosion of jiggity details and repeating, graceful arcs that make a chord of wonder for a photographer’s eye.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Worlds Within Worlds

Learning photography by photographing through the microscope, I was struck how the vast cosmos looked so remarkably like what I was photographing in the tiny worlds in a drop of pond water. Seeing photographs of the great nebulae through the telescope reminded me of the amoeba under the coverslip. These similarities gave scientific testament to the words of Lao Tzu that, "The great Tao flows everywhere, to the left and to the right." Everywhere, including the cosmically vast and the microscopically small. Science, photography, Zen. Weaving these threads has been the constant theme of my artmaking ever since.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook
| iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

The Winter Light of Lvzu Temple
from the Sketches series "Stories from the Middle Kingdom"

It never occurred to us to question the sanity of visiting inner-Mongolia in the dead of winter. Sure, it would be cold, but the photographic possibilities promised to be a warming counter to the bitter winds. For days, we’d photographed in the freezing Gobi desert. When someone offhandedly mentioned the ancient Lvzu Temple in the city of Baotou, we jumped at the urban opportunity.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Longquan Swords
from the Sketches series "Stories from the Middle Kingdom"

I had an opportunity to photograph the one of the famed Longquan sword makers in Lishui, China. I wish I could tell you that they were making swords of legendary fame. I don’t know, and I suspect there was an element of the tourist trade involved in their production. Be that as it may, I can assure you they cut with ease — a testament I can verify by how easily one cut my finger before I realized just how sharp it really was.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:

Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

The Fisherman with One Eye
from the Sketches series "Stories from the Middle Kingdom"

As I photographed the group, the one-eyed fisherman suddenly posed as though he knew this was a moment of importance. He stared directly into the lens and waited for me to finish making the photograph. We smiled and both nodded, the only language we shared. I wanted to know his story, but all I have is his portrait.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Living Landscape

Chinese classic poetry combined with fan-shaped landscape images. From my exhibition in Xiang Sha Wan, China in 2010. Details . . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF computer eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Prints | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees VI
The sixth of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

This year, Boreas (the Greek God of Winter) must have been feeling particularly spry. These three folios were photographed and produced from a singular and spectacular storm the morning of February 23, 2011.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees V
The fifth of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

Atop each and every limb and twig an outline of white grew, poised, balancing, waiting. Mid-morning arrived with a stiff winter wind. The snow crystals first blew off the twigs, then the branches, then the limbs. Each gust created a burst of cascading snow, driven down in small avalanches. By late afternoon, it was over and the winter trees were once again black outlines against a grey sky.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees IV
The fourth of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

All five images in this folio were photographed in a single session the morning of February 23, 2011. I awoke at 5am to a dark, heavy rain. An hour later, the cold had descended. Snowflakes started piling up more rapidly than I'd ever seen in my life.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Photographing in Japan:
Rikuzen Tomiyama
A short video made on location before the 2011 tsunami

The small oyster farming community of Rikuzen Tomiyama was one of those many place so devistated by the 2011 tsunami that struck the north coast of Japan. This video was recorded there just 9 months before the devestation as I photographed this quaint fishing village.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Uchiwa-e

The uchiwa, or rigid paper fan, is a practical device in the heat of Japan. Over the centuries, uchiwa have become an art form with a charm all their own. The paper prints that are used to make fans are called uchiwa-e, the suffix indicating the print itself.

In the fall of 2009, I traveled to Japan with an experiment in mind of making photographs for the uchiwa format. I now understand why this format suited the Japanese printmakers so well; everywhere I turned I found subjects ideally suited to the fan-shaped image. Details . . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF computer eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folios

Tangerine Gifts

In 1990, David Grant Best and I photographed in the northern region of rural Japan known as Tohoku. From our experiences and photography during that trip, we produced in 1992 a handmade artist’s book called Tangerine Gifts.

Now, using recently rediscovered original letterpress text signatures, this LensWork Special Editions folio recreates Tangerine Gifts in the new “folio format.” As a folio, eighteen of the best images from this trip to Tohoku have been selected for this reissue, produced from new scans of the original negatives. Details. . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF computer eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

The New 100 Prints Project

In 1986, I committed myself to a photography project I called The One Hundred Prints Project. This project —The New 100 Prints Project — was inspired by the first one. Again, it is a bit of a motivational construct. By committing myself to post a new image every third day for a year, I hoped to push myself to create 100 new images. "Artistic discipline" is a bit of an oxymoron, but being an artist and not producing work is just plain moronic. This project, completed in just 9 months, is a testament to what can accumulate if one does a small thing with regularity over time.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees III
The third of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

All five images in this folio were photographed in a single day following a heavy winter storm in December of 2008. A two week stretch of cold, arctic air covered our normally balmy corner of the Pacific Northwest, followed by a typical, wet southwester. Over a foot of snow fell in Anacortes! This is not a particularly unique weather event for so many regions, but here, where I live, it was almost unheard of.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook
| iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Silva Lacrimosa

Out photographing with a friend, we stumbled into the remains of the fourth largest forest fire in the history of National Forests — the Thirty-Mile Fire in the Okanogan forest.

I found myself more and more saddened by the story I began to feel in the charred remains of the forest fire. I knew I was simply projecting my human emotions on the forest, a philosophical flaw that is fallacy. Nonetheless, as I photographed a drip of sap on the sooted bark, I began to cry. The tears of the forest were flowing through me. Details . . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees II
The second of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

The images in this folio were photographed on a single, glorious day of sun and snow, in March of 2008. A bright, clear sun, perfectly muted by high thin clouds, a sparkling, snow-covered landscape, dry pavement, a warm breeze, and no schedule nor obligations. I poked along down Highway 395 from Pendleton, Oregon to Burns, Oregon and drank it in, a refreshment that only such light, landscape, and fresh desert and mountain air can provide.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook
| iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Wakarimasen

For a few years in my youth, I studied Oriental calligraphy — Chinese and Japanese, in particular. I love the dance of the brush, the shapes that are both words and graphics that capture the motion of the master calligrapher's hand. These graffiti shapes on the wall of Fort Worden reminded me of the calligraphy I studied — and like the calligraphy, they seemed to be words that I could not read. Hence, wakarimasen — Japanese for "I don't understand." Details. . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

October Seas

This portfolio is the result of a few incredible winter days in late October 2005 from the rugged central Oregon coastline. I've tried for over 20 years to photograph that silvery light in the surf that bathes the ocean on stormy days, but I've never been successful. During these three glorious day, however, the light and sea, the clouds and even a flock of birds, smiled on me. The twelve images in this portfolio were photographed in the short span of one weekend. Details . . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Hope Eternal

In North Dakota there is wind. On occasion, it stops blowing for a while, but not long. It blows day and night, spring and fall. It's a hard land to make a living on. This keeps many from trying, but not all. There are those who believe they are stronger than the wind, stronger than the winters, stronger than the elements that fight them day and night. To them, hope springs eternal.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Bass Mood

Near my home in Anacortes is the Padilla Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Fancy name for a giant low-tide mud flat. It's a great place to be a bird or a mollusc. The mud is dark, wet, slippery, sloppy. In the rain at low tide, it's a droning bass tone . . . which inspired this short video. Runs 5:11.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Winter Trees I
The first of an annual series, each with five images of winter trees

This folio consists of five images — admittedly, some of the best images from years of photographing winter trees. I've "culled the archives" to start this series of folios with an opening crescendo.

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook | iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Print | Chapbook | Folio

Made of Steel

From my grandfather I learned to love the polish of long-used tools and the unmistakable aroma of oil and fresh metal filings. I can still smell his shop and hear his voice – thick with his old-world Armenian accent – echo in the tall ceilings. I guess he also taught me to love the stories and manners of old, greasy machine shop men. Details . . .

Computer/tablet e-media:
PDF eBook
| iPad Monograph | Android Monograph | Video | Web presentation

Handmade printed media:
Popular Edition Prints | Chapbook | Folios