You probably know Susan Keller.
And if you know her, you definitely love her pictures.
How could anyone NOT love her pictures.
They are art.
The first time I saw them I was speechless.
And trust me, that is rare.
I was so happy when she agreed to this interview.
Sit back and enjoy your journey into Susan’s world.
How long have you been at home with the boys? Was it a hard adjustment to make? Since the beginning - so almost 14 years! And YES!!!! I can still vividly remember the change from being an efficient, organized working woman with a tidy house & car ... to a non-efficient, unorganized woman with a messy house & car, whose formerly calm/controlled/planned schedule was now dictated by an incredibly fussy, gassy, spit-uppy, non-sleeping unpredictable newborn/baby/toddler... Awww, those were the days! Oh, and now? Things are not quite so chaotic, and I'm totally used to my messy home. [grin]
When did you first start shooting?
Tell us your story.
Gosh, when I was a teen? My Canon Sureshot went everywhere with me, including to Germany my sophomore year of college. I did a [half] Year in Europe and brought back 22 rolls of film with me. It was too pricey to develop them in Germany, so I waited months til I returned home to finally see my images. The waiting was agony, and that was before the onset of digital instant gratification!
In 2005, out of the blue, my husband bought me a new Canon Rebel dslr just before we left on a roadtrip to visit his family. I *was* surprised, and more than a little bit appalled & concerned, because we totally couldn't afford a luxury like that at that time [money was super tight]. But I wasn't appalled or concerned enough that I returned the shiny new camera! ;-) The rest is history ...
Sometimes I wonder if it wasn't my husband's top-secret plot to make me uber-enthusiastic about various outdoor adventures he wanted to go on. Methinks he probably feared that without such an incentive I'd be much more inclined to want to stay home, curled up on the couch with a good book. [he's a genius, my husband. a sneaky brilliant genius] Do you ever want a little girl?
But I've since become pretty comfy with the whole boy factor in our family. Now I couldn't imagine messing with girl hair and having dolls & barbies & dress-up stuff intermingling with our plethora of Legos, Hotwheels, and K'nex.
What do you love about shooting on the beach?
Any dangers to that?
What I love *IS* the biggest danger: The Sand. Sand is a gorgeous natural reflector and a beautiful backdrop for pictures. But sand can mean death for your camera (if it gets into any part).
Where do you get your inspiration?
ooooh, all over the place: I Heart Faces, Flickr, magazines, blogging Photogs, art galleries, ...
+ specifically ...
Anna Kuperberg - a top notch photographer served up with sides of quirky-ness and creativity. She flawlessly, brilliantly "frames" (composes) her images.
Jon Canlas - a film shooter who captures (seemingly effortlessly) beautiful, natural, organic-y flow-y portraits and candids.
Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser (The Image is Found) - this duo is a crazy bomb of creativity exploding every. single. time. 'Nuff said.
Tara Whitney - The Photographer's Photographer. Her work is raw, honest, fun, and centered on capturing real relationship.
Red Leaf Studio - their use of stunning landscapes as "negative space backdrops" takes my breath away.
and, my dear friend, Leslie Patopoff, whose lovely work very first inspired me to look thru my lens differently ...
Which one of your boys likes to model for you?
hehe, good one, Becky. Ummm, N.O.N.E. of my boys like to model for me. But, they're all sometimes willing to accomodate me when I request a "stand-in" so I can try something.
Oh, and they are all pretty enthusiastic participants each year for their "birthday pictures." For that, they pick something that they love from that year (ie. 2 years ago my then 9yo had consumed ALL the Harry Potter books, so his pictures included all those).
It's a toss-up. Newborns are a pretty special experience of wonderfulness. To hold, and breath in, and photograph a wonderful brand-new itty-bitty living person - it's a joy, for sure.
Is California your favorite?
I was born in NorCal, went to college in SoCal (in Malibu!! oh yeah, it was tough. smirk.), moved back to NorCal after graduating, and 8 years ago moved to SoCal.
We are super blessed to get to see our families regularly. My parents live in SoCal part-time. And my husband's parents come down at least once a year, and we go up to WA once or twice a year (it's this trip that spurs on so many of our various roadtrip outings).
Do they love your picture projects?
My parents totally appreciate that I take pictures,
My in-laws' are enthusiastic, talented photographers themselves who are rarely without their cameras, so they're usually hip to capturing pics of our time together, also.
Tell me about the yearbook.
Ugh. I love it. And I hate it. I love it, because, well ... it's all about photographically capturing the essence and events of my 10yo son's very precious school. I hate it, because, well ... it takes a ton of time and the learning curve has been immense, and I've made mistakes along the way that have demanded more TIME to fix. This will be my third year creating the Yearbook. I'm hoping & praying & crossing my fingers that the past 2 years' mistakes will have taught me well and that I'll breeze thru this year's production. Lightroom (for organization & processing of pictures) + Lumapix (for page design) + Docucopies (for inexpensive printing) have been my heroes for this annual project.
How many pictures do you take in a week?
Oh, this will be a shock to you: Yearbook. ;-)
Oh, and I also really enjoyed English - not the writing (no, never that!), but the discussion of good books (loved that).
Any other vital info to share?
Yeah. A word of encouragement to everyone wanting to be a better photographer: You can be.
I'm totally technologically challenged. I have no "formal" photography schooling.
But I learned.
With lots of practice.
And lots of hand-holding from the Internet photography community at large.
If I can learn; anyone can.
She is kind and good and will answer questions if you have any.
She is an encourager.
Go and visit her.
Just be prepared to be amazed.
Susan’s blog: Short on Words