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Running from Wind

This photograph was one of eight that won a competition last August to inspire a short film made by Ron Howard’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard. The eight categories of photographs included: setting, time, character, mood, relationship, goal, obstacle and the unknown. “Running from Wind” won in the “time” category.

Brooke Shaden is often the subject of her own portraits, as she is here. Self-portraiture is convenient for a photographer, like Shaden, who is brimming with ideas. If a model isn’t available, or if she’s already blown her budget for models for the month, she can always shoot herself. Here, she runs with a friend who’s also a self-portrait artist.

Today’s technology allows photographers to use a remote trigger switch to take self-portraits. That’s what she did here. It’s a wireless technology that fits easily into the hand. Shaden first sets up the shot, placing the camera on a tripod and framing it. Then she moves into the frame, triggering the remote at the right moment. If, in the final shot, the remote is visible in her hand, she just airbrushes it out later.

In this image, she photographed her friend separately, then merged the two pictures in Photoshop.

Mortality and meaning loom large in Shaden’s work. Always, Shaden says, she is trying to question what it is to be alive. She wants her viewers to ask themselves whether the characters in her photographs are living life to the fullest or whether, as she puts it, “they might as well be dead.”