February 2018 Feature Artist - Susan Saunders, Photographer
on Instagram at #smsaundersphotographer
Attitude (c) Susan Saunders
Susan Saunders grew up in south Texas, on a ranch near the Mexican border. Her passion for photography was kindled when her aunt gave her a Kodak Brownie camera when she was twelve. Her constant companion, Susan used it to interpret her experiences growing up in this stark environment. Ranch life left her with an affinity for wide-open spaces, and animal life of all kinds.
Attending Barnard College in Manhattan was a substantial visual and emotional adjustment. It was while she was at Barnard that she began to photograph city street life, during a particularly exciting time in the city’s history, the late 60s and early 70s. Captivated by the gritty New York street scenes her early work documents both the magic and the mayhem of the rough and tumble everyday life of New York, and her inhabitants. The lonely vulnerability of the individual balances precariously against a backdrop of burning ghettos and invulnerable skyscrapers.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Susan worked in publishing, soon becoming a freelance writer of children’s books. She continued to photograph, largely in black and white, not only because it was more affordable to process, but also because she was drawn to the images of artists like Ansel Adams, Miguel Alvarez Bravo, and Minor White. Galleries in the city were a continuing inspiration.
Today, Susan’s work reflects a life shared between the more rural Northfork of Long Island, especially in the off-season, and the rugged Fundy coast of Nova Scotia. Both places are a paradise for photography when a quiet solitude replaces the bustling distractions of tourism.
As a storyteller, Susan is also drawn to the portraiture of people and animals. Her photomontages encourage the viewer to provide their own narrative.
Sunflowers Under a Stormy Sky (c) Susan Saunders
For the past year, Susan has been working with a mirrorless camera, converted to access the infrared spectrum of light, yielding images that are reminiscent of magic realism, and then some. That is the work that we are celebrating in The Fat Canary Journal. In some the colors and composition yield a hyper-tranquility.
White horses and sunflowers appear as mythological visitors, whispering their own tales of place and time. The ultramarine hay bales huddled under an orange sky in Top of North Mountain and the field of green transected in Portal reflect masterful compositional skills. Other images Broccoli at Sunset, Inlet at Dusk, and Pollards yield landscapes reimagined, or even alien universes conjured up by this talented photographer.
Recent Shows and Galleries
June 2018 Landscapes, two-woman show, gallery, Westhampton Beach Library
December 2017 Small Works, William Ris Gallery, Jamesport NY
December 2017 Artful Holiday Show, pop-up gallery, 155 W. 29th St., NYC
December 2017 Small Works, Ille Arts, Easthampton NY
September 2017 Kindred, two-woman show, William Ris Gallery, Jamesport NY
March 2017 Juried show, Color of Light, Photoplace Gallery, Middlebury VT
January 2016 Juried show, Pinhole to Plastic, Photoplace Gallery, Middlebury VT
October 2016- present William Ris Gallery, Jamesport NY
May 2015- present Love Lane Gallery, Mattituck NY
Street photographs from the 1970s and ‘80s have been included in several recent NY Times articles about the period, as well as various internet collections like Vintage Everyday.
Top of North Mountain (c) Susan Saunders
Morning Fog (c) Susan Saunders
Fishermen (c) Susan Saunders
Portal (c) Susan Saunders
Broccoli at Sunset (c) Susan Saunders
Inlet at Dusk (c) Susan Saunders
Pollards (c) Susan Saunders
for a print version of this issue please click HERE
or email editors@FatCanaryJournal.com