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Meet Susan Platt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Platt.  

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a photographic artist, with my career spanning over 38 years. I have been involved in the photographic industry, from working as a photographic assistant and staff photographer at a portrait studio to a portrait and wedding studio owner/photographer to a fine art photographic artist. During my portrait and wedding photography years, I taught numerous classes in studio portrait and environmental portrait studies, my style and approach to wedding photography in artistic and technical ways. My photographs have been published in Pet Life Magazine, Craft & Vision Magazine, and featured in the book The Power of Creativity published by Contemporary Art Curator Magazine (CACM) and have received several awards from CACM. My work has been exhibited at PhotoLA, the Round Hole Square Peg Gallery, throughout California, Barcelona, Spain at the FotoNostrum Gallery, and an upcoming solo exhibition at the Artifact Gallery in NYC Sept. 2024.

I am a faded jeans and baggy shirt kind of gal. I prefer casual over formal-my Birkenstocks or hiking boots over heels or dress shoes.

I can’t survive a morning without coffee. I am fun-loving, and I love to have fun.

I have a hard time sitting still.

I love horses, especially the wild ones. I am confident, and I am grateful.

I strive for excellence, but I am far from perfect. I love to wander and get lost.

I am curious.

I love my Leicas and my Canon, too.

I love to stalk the light; the last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise, the “the golden hour”

 I pour my heart and soul into what I create. 

My passion is photography.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I come from a wedding/portrait studio background. I began photographing weddings when I was 18. I learned that being a wedding photographer also makes you a psychologist, mediator, event coordinator, and sometimes part of the wait staff. I strived to make my brides, grooms, families, and wedding party feel comfortable and enjoy the time set aside for the photographs. I worked 7 days a week for many years, which took a toll on me creatively and physically. I suffered from burnout. I closed my studio and did not pick up a camera for about five years. During those five years, I was able to reflect on my creative life, played around with oil painting, and wrote a couple of short stories. When I decided to start photographing again, I made the photographs I wanted to make as an artist, not as commissioned event or portrait photographer. There were no groups of people that I had to manage or the bride who worried about how she looked; a groom that did not what to be photographed; or the 2-year-old flower girl decide that she wanted to pout in all the photos. Now, it is just me, my camera, and what I see through my lens.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The creative inspiration for my work comes from observation. I always observe everything around me. I watch the light, how it baths a beautiful blooming flower in such a way that you can smell the fragrance it emits, make it come to life, how the sun rays beam down on a garden sculpture, or how backlit streaks of clouds look like an artist’s etchings in the sky. I like to think of the light as my paintbrush and my film/camera sensor as my canvas. I manipulate the light with my lens choice and camera. I come from a film photography background and was taught to get it right on film so that when you develop and print your work, it will be much easier. I have carried over that mindset when working with digital cameras; therefore, I do not have to spend a lot of time editing my work in Photoshop or Lightroom. I am also a realist in my work-what I photographed is what you see in the final print. In other words, I do not play around with layers upon layers of multiple images creating the final image of a full moon, let say, rising in the center of two skyscrapers, when, in reality, the moon doesn’t rise in that area ever! It’s not real, and it is not my style. 

What speaks to me in the moment, what emotionally touches my soul at an instance, what excites me at that moment, and from that point on, is what I am most proud of and what I feel sets me apart from other photographers. It could be the essence of a location-the beauty of wild horses grazing in the openness of the high desert, how they engage with each other, or my camera lens. It could be a still reflection in a pond at sunset that is reminiscent of a painting by Monet. 

I become very specific and focused on that subject for a week, month, or maybe longer. I may be totally vested in birds of prey or landscapes for a few weeks or months. I feel this helps me avoid creative blocks and boredom in my work.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Believe it or not, I am a paralegal by day! That’s right, I work for a very busy law firm in Northern California. My Mondays through Fridays are filled with writing briefs, answering discovery, prepping for trials, and working closely with my clients. When evening comes, you can find me out wandering the city streets and country backroads, watching the light, making sketch photos for upcoming projects, researching new locations, and even finding photographing a bit. However, my weekends, days off, and vacations I am all consumed with creating works of art.

Pricing:

  • $100 and up, depending on size and finish (matted, canvas, or metal prints)

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Susan Platt
Nadine Sandmeier Brown

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