“I love shooting with people who bring something to the table. It should be a collaboration, not just me documenting a face.”
When Brooks Ayola was born, he was hardwired to be a photographer. Starting off snapping shots of this, that and the other with his handy Instamatic, he found he had a knack for catching his subjects in that perfect moment where lighting, timing and stellar composition all blend seamlessly. After trying on several other hats, like beach lifeguard, radio broadcaster, and cabinet finisher, twenty five-ish years ago he listened to that odd inner voice nagging him that he was a photographer, and never looked back.
Brooks focuses on freezing moments in time in a way that brings the subjects to life—even if that subject happens to be an extremely hungry bear. “I shot a grizzly bear for Yamaha and the only thing between the bear and me was a trainer throwing chunks of chicken into his mouth and a small electric wire,” he recalls. But when it comes to photographing people, Brooks says, “I like to keep things simple so I can concentrate on the subject. I want people to look into the eyes of the subject and feel like they know that person better, or feel compelled to ask themselves questions about that person. In most cases, I want them to feel like the person on the page is looking right at them, waiting for a response.”
When not making images, Brooks enjoys life with his wife Marisa and their two kids, Lily and Bennett.