After studying Russian language and culture, Kate Brooks began working as a photographer in Russia in the years just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her most notable work from that period was the haunting images exposing cruelty and neglect in state orphanages that were published worldwide and used by Human Rights Watch to campaign for orphans' rights.  

Following September 11th, Brooks moved to Pakistan to photograph the impact of foreign policy in the region and daily life in Afghanistan. In 2003, she covered the American invasion of Iraq and the beginning of the insurgency for TIME. For more than a decade, she proceeded to work across the region, documenting history as it unfolded for TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The New York Times, the New Yorker, etc.  

Brooks has been the recipient of numerous international awards, and her work is regularly published in American and European magazines. Her photographs have also been exhibited in Europe, the Middle East and U.S. including at AIPAD, Paris Photo, The Southeast Museum of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Annenberg Space for Photography, Tethys Gallery in Florence, the Jam Jar in Dubai, Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. 

In 2010, Brooks' love for filmmaking was sparked while working as a cinematographer on the documentary The Boxing Girls of Kabul about the female Afghan national boxing team. Her introspective collection of essays and photographs, In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11, was selected as one of the best photography books of the year. In 2012-13, she was a Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. There she researched the global wildlife trafficking crisis before embarking on directing The Last Animals.  

The documentary premiered at Tribeca Film Festival on Earth Day and was awarded a Disruptor Award, alongside those who sacrificed their lives protecting Garamba National Park. The film was widely recognized for its ability to disrupt the status quo and change hearts and minds, later winning a Wildscreen Panda Impact Award in consideration with Blue Planet II. The Last Animals was distributed through National Geographic, Hulu, Netflix, Discovery+ and AMC’s Sundance Channel.  

Following that project, Brook Executive Produced Tigre Gente a documentary about jaguar trafficking between South America and Asia that was distributed in Latin America by National Geographic. Currently, Brooks has two film projects in development.