Deep. A word that applies to Ernie Brooks II in every facet of his life, from the complex tones of his black and white photos taken hundreds of feet below ocean waters to the intense passion that fuels a life of intentionality, dignity, and adventure. Raised by parents who believed in earning your way in the world and giving back as much as you get, Ernie's life is a reflection of these values.
His decades of groundbreaking developments in underwater photography and lifelong devotion to diving as he sought to explore, protect, and document the majesty of marine life are legacies unto themselves. Yet they were woven into an even richer tapestry: three decades of educating and shaping lives at Brooks Institute of Photography, ensuring that his gifts will travel on for generations to come.
Layered beneath all these public feats were pursuits less publicized, though equally fervent: a dedication to his family and three children and a penchant for making large philanthropic contributions with little fanfare.
No one lens can capture all Ernie has explored, contributed and accomplished, but his recent gift to Santa Barbara Middle School might be a perfect snapshot of how his life's many narratives – photography, adventure, philanthropy, ocean, education, family – intersect.