Richard E. Brooks | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Richard E. Brooks


Historical Note:

Richard E. Brooks is a Chicago, Illinois fine art photographer, designer, and marketing consultant. A native of Jerseyville, Illinois, Brooks graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois, Urbana campus, in 1967 as a member of the Centennial Class.  He joined the University's Agricultural Communications staff as the first-appointed Teaching Assistant to Dr. James F. Evans in 1967 while taking graduate level coursework in advertising. Dr. Evans was his 1964 student adviser.  In 1968, Brooks began a career in photography as Communications Specialist in Photography and Instructor of Agricultural Communications where he taught photography classes for Agricultural Journalism, and conducted photo seminars and workshops for the Cooperative Extension agents. He also mentored the Illinois 4-H Photography Program for many years by providing photography workshops and serving as Judge at the Illinois State Fair.  In 1971, Brooks launched the Richard E. Brooks Co. in Champaign, Illinois and specialized in editorial and product photography. Eight years later, he designed and created Cyclorama Studios in Urbana, Illinois, a 5,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art photo facility which was destroyed by a tornado in 1980.

Throughout his career, Brooks has received numerous prestigious photo commissions from the University of Illinois Foundation including the iconic image of Chief Illiniwek featured in former President John Corball's 1977 coffee-table book.  His ten-foot Chief Illiniwek photographic mural was unveiled at the 80th Chief Illiniwek Banquet in 2006.  In addtion on October 1, 1988 Brooks was the creative force and Executive Producer of the "Country/USA" project which documented through photography rural America on a single day using one hundred and two professional photographers and hundreds of 4-H and FFA members in all 50 states. This project generated 127,000 photographic prints which were later used to create the Country/USA coffee-table book that was published in 1989. The book was recognized by the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA) with prestigious awards, and sold 11,000 copies.

Brooks moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1990. He continued his editorial and product photography while using his marketing skills to advance a second parallel career in commercial property management. In recent years, his focus has been on fine art photography, especially landscape scenic marketed through his Studio R company.

Sources: Kimberly Meenen, Agricultural Communications Senior Director of Development, University of Illinois ACES Office of Advancement



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