The Rise and Fall of the Famed Brooks Institute of Photography

So you appetite to apprehend the adventure of how Brooks Institute of Photography rose to become one of the best celebrated photography schools in the world, alone to bang its doors in 2016. For over 70 years, Brooks was the abode to abstraction photography. Generations of acclaimed photographers got their alpha walking the halls of the Mission Revival-style campus in Santa Barbara, acquirements the ability from advisers who were leaders in their field. Acceptance came from about the apple to abstraction landscape, portrait, fashion, and photojournalism beneath the aureate sun of Southern California. If you capital to become a photographer, you went to Brooks. But the agenda anarchy and banking troubles ultimately accepted too abundant for the iconic school. In the end, Brooks couldn’t acclimate bound abundant to the alteration apple of photography. Though the academy is gone, its appulse on photography will endure. This is the adventure of the acceleration and abatement of the acclaimed Brooks Institute of Photography.

The History and Early Success of Brooks Institute

The Brooks Institute opened in 1945, founded by columnist Ernest Brooks. It bound became acclaimed as one of the top photography schools in the world.

For decades, Brooks was advised the Harvard of photography schools. It admiring acclaimed photographers as advisers and produced abounding notable alumni. Ansel Adams, America’s best acclaimed mural photographer, able workshops there in the 1950s and 60s. Added acclaimed photographers on agents included Wynn Bullock, Ruth Bernhard, and Morley Baer.

Brooks’ two-year affairs focused on both the abstruse and aesthetic aspects of photography. Acceptance abstruse aggregate from developing blur to arrive lighting techniques to adorning their artistic vision. The school’s area in Santa Barbara, a breathtaking littoral city, provided affluence of opportunities for acceptance to convenance in ideal surroundings.

By the 1970s, Brooks had broadcast into alum programs, including a Master of Able Arts in photography. However, ascent costs and the acceleration of agenda photography led to crumbling acceptance in the 2000s. After years of banking troubles, Brooks Institute assuredly bankrupt its doors in 2016, catastrophe an era for art schools but abrogation abaft an constant bequest through its acceptance and alumni.

Though the academy is gone, the basic role it played in abstraction American photography will not be forgotten. For over 70 years, Brooks Institute produced image-makers who pushed the boundaries of the average and alien new perspectives. Its appulse on the art anatomy is permanent, alike as technology and esthetics abide to evolve. The academy may accept met an all-too-common fate, but through the assignment of its community, its spirit lives on.

Notable Alumni of Brooks Institute of Photography

Some of the best acclaimed photographers in the apple got their alpha at the celebrated Brooks Institute of Photography. Notable Alumni of Brooks Institute of Photography

Brooks opened its doors in 1945 and over the decades, able and aggressive abounding now acclaimed photographers. Some of the notable alumni include:

Ansel Adams: The allegorical American mural columnist advised at Brooks in the backward 1940s. His arresting atramentous and white photos helped accompany photography into the able art world.

Herb Ritts: The acclaimed appearance and account columnist advised at Brooks in the 1970s. His beautiful and affectionate photos of celebrities like Madonna, Richard Gere, and Brooke Shields appeared on annual covers and ad campaigns about the globe.

Joyce Tenneson: The able art account columnist accepted for her anapestic and evocative appearance additionally advised at Brooks in the 1970s. Her dreamy, soul-stirring photos accept been featured in above museums.

Douglas Kirkland: The acclaimed celebrity account columnist and photojournalist abaft iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe and abounding added stars advised at Brooks in the 1950s. His works accept appeared in Look, Life, and Playboy magazines.

Philippe Halsman: The Latvian-American account columnist advised at Brooks in the 1930s. He’s acclaimed for his absorbing “jumpology” portraits of celebrities like Salvador Dali, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Alfred Hitchcock for Life magazine.

With such an absorbing account of notable alumni, it’s no admiration Brooks Institute of Photography produced some of the 20th century’s best affecting and memorable photographers afore closing its doors in 2016. The academy may be gone, but its appulse on the apple of photography will alive on forever.


So there you accept it, the adventure of how Brooks Institute rose to become one of the arch photography schools in the country, alone to bang its doors due to banking troubles and a abortion to accumulate up with the alteration times. While the account came as a shock, the admonishing signs were there for years. The assignment actuality is that no amount how celebrated or accomplished, no academy is allowed to disruption. Technology, amusing changes, and bazaar armament are consistently about-face industries and redefining relevance. For Brooks, the actual accoutrement and mediums it congenital its acceptability on, analog blur and darkroom techniques, ultimately led to its downfall. Though the accident of such an iconic academy is sad, its abode in history is secured. The abounding able photographers shaped aural its anointed halls, and the enduring mark larboard on photography will endure, alike if the academy itself did not. Nothing lasts forever, so acknowledge the access of places like Brooks while they’re still around. The approaching is unwritten, so who knows, maybe a activation is still possible. For now, we bid a addicted adieu to the acclaimed Brooks Institute of Photography.

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