Susan Seubert at the 2017 Venice Biennale: Virtual Tour

My show at the 2017 Venice Biennale opened last week and there was much rejoicing.  This is a true milestone in my career as an artist, so a group of us gathered, drank Prosecco and toasted to the beautiful city of Venice.  I’ll be heading back later this year to the Palazzo Bembo, where the show, “Personal Structures,” will be on display until November 26th.  If you are going to be in Venice, this 15th century building is about a block from the Rialto Bridge and admission is free. If you can’t make it, here is a 360 degree view of the installation of my work, from the, “Asphyxiation” series.  You can also look at the work on my web site here.

 

Susan Seubert at the Froelick Gallery and the Venice Biennale

Susan Seubert at the Froelick Gallery and the Venice Biennale

For Portland Photo Month the Froelick Gallery has mounted an exhibition of my photographs entitled, “Not A Day Goes By.”

The 2016 rise of a racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted, extreme-right political climate in the U.S. presidential political cycle profoundly depressed me. Climate change in both its literal and figurative sense was being denied as a hoax. Lies and fake news were accepted as “politics as usual.” It seemed to me that America was smothering all the positive ideals historically it has stood for. Unbearable emotional pain motivated me to explore showing this issue visually as suicide.

The show is a body of work produced to illustrate suicide. The images in the series, “Manner Of,” present common objects used to take one’s life. The muted black and white palate and soft image quality of the print rendered on tissue paper is then further obscured by the encaustic medium. This treatment of the photograph underscores the veiled nature of the option of suicide. The portraits of people with their heads wrapped in plastic illustrate acts of asphyxiation. The cool tonality combined with the highly reflective, almost mirrored surface of the work adds a performative aspect to the piece: a glimpse of the viewer’s image is reflected, offering a space to contemplate suicide.

You can read a review of the show by Bob Hicks on Oregon Arts Watch here.

Five works from the “Asphyxiation” series will be included in the Personal Structures show, curated by the Global Art Affairs Foundation, at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and hosted by the European Cultural Center at the Palazzo Bembo.  This work will be on display from May 13 – November 26, 2017 in Venice.  For more information, you can download a press kit here.

 

artist: Susan Seubert, title: Asphyxiation #16, size: 40×30″ (101.6cm X 76.2cm), year: 2017, medium: metal photographic print

“Manner Of: Noose”, From the series, “Manner Of,” as part of the show, “Not a Day Goes By.” 12×12″ digital pigment print on silk tissue, edition of 10, 2017, artist: Susan Seubert

 

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Commercial Photographer Susan Seubert photographs Olympic Coach for USAA

Major Daniel J. Browne, an active National Guard Serviceman, is a United States distance runner, who has won numerous major American road race championships and was a member of the 2004 Olympic team in the 10K and marathon. He is pictured here in Eugene, Oregon at Alton Baker Park

Major Daniel J. Browne, an active National Guard Serviceman, is a United States distance runner, who has won numerous major American road race championships and was a member of the 2004 Olympic team in the 10K and marathon. He is pictured here in Eugene, Oregon at Alton Baker Park

 

Eugene, Oregon hosted the 2016 Olympic Team trials for track and field this past June and we were there to photograph coach and former Olympic competitor Dan Browne for USAA. Part of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, Major Browne coached three runners into the games in Rio this year.  We had a very short time to spend with him, but enjoyed having an opportunity to feel part of the excitement of the games.  Below are a few images from behind the scenes.  One of the athletes he coaches runs tomorrow in the men’s 5000 Meter.  We wish Paul Chelimo the best!

Dan Browne Shoot for USAA, Eugene, OR

Behind the scene look at our set for USAA with Dan Browne

Dan Browne Shoot for USAA, Eugene, OR

We brought out the 400mm for this shot so that we could get some nice background for Maj. Browne

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Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert Shoots for the New York Times

Assignments from the New York Times are always a great exercise because the turn-around time is often very short.  For most other assignments, I have at least a week or so where I can research the subject, scout the location, and get a sense of what the weather will be like on the shoot date.  Last week I was assigned to photograph for Nicholas Kristof’s Op-Ed about empathy.  The subject of the story had passed away, and it wasn’t possible to cover the funeral because of the deadline for the paper, so I was asked to photograph the story subject’s brother.  I arrived at the location and had a quick look around.  The first image I was asked to make was of Mr. Green holding a photo of his brother.  The best picture available was on a smartphone.  That picture-of-a-picture worked well to show a current image of the subject, but was very literal. It served to illustrate what Kevin looked like prior to his passing.

The possibilities for making a stronger image unfolded within the hour or so I had to complete the job.  The subject was a kind, gentle man who, despite his hurt foot, was willing to walk a short distance to stand in the glorious sunshine.  The idea I had discussed with my editor was to place him in the context of the family farm.  It was a bucolic Oregon scene: an old barn, some rusty farm equipment, and a very willing beagle.  These together provided the setting for our subject.  Mr. Green moved naturally into this position which suggests sadness, so all I had to do was to be sure that the focus and exposure were set properly.  I think it worked well.  What do you think?

Here is a link to the story.

The photos that were used are below.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed on location with a Caono 5D Mark III using a 24-105mmL IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore. Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

 

Susan Seubert Photography’s Picture Chosen as one of National Geographic’s 30 Best Travel Pictures in 30 Years

Zed's surf school at Surfer's Point on the South Coast of Barbados

Zed’s surf school at Surfer’s Point on the South Coast of Barbados

This past November, National Geographic Traveler Magazine celebrated its 30th Anniversary. The magazine was launched in order to ” ‘inspire members [of the National Geographic Society] to go and experience [destinations],” complementing National Geographic, “which has taken its readers to places most of us will never reach.'” This is quoted from the editor’s note in the November 2014 edition, quoting National Geographic editor Gilbert M. Grosvenor‘s editor’s letter from the first magazine launch in 1984.

The issue celebrates how photography has played an important role in the magazine’s history with a segment called,”30 Years in Pictures, The Best Photographs From the Pages of Traveler Magazine,” and one of my images was included.  Keith Bellows wrote, “In this anniversary issue we celebrate our 30th year through the camera lens, offering a chronicle of changing times. Since 1984 we’ve shot more than 3.4 million photos and published some 36,000.”

Having an image chosen from that number must be what it feels like to win the lottery. 🙂

You can see the picture on my web site here or on National Geographic Traveler’s site here.

 

Editorial Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for the New York Times

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

This week I was assigned by The New York Times to make an environmental portrait of a man in Yamhill, Oregon for a piece written by Nickolas Kristof, one of the Op-Ed columnists for the paper.  My assignment was to cover a story called, “Inheriting a Hard Life,” and Rick Goff was the subject on which the premise of the article was based.  My missive from the photo editor was to, “think Dorothea Lange in color.”  The late Dorothea Lange is famous for her work as a FSA photographer, most notably for her image, “Migrant Mother.” So with some ideas swirling around in my brain, we hopped in the car and bee lined it to Yamhill because the deadline was virtually the same day we had to shoot.

We arrived at the location and Rick was ready for us. He had apparently already received a copy of the story and was prepared to start shooting.  We spent about an hour working on trying to make some images that best illustrated the point – an attractive portrait in an environment that was a working man’s setting.  Rick was in charge of expression.  He already knew that this wasn’t necessarily a happy story. He was really good at facing the camera which made our shoot go very smoothly.  We worked in several locations and as we were wrapping up, I noticed these great windows.  Since the picture had to be in color and Ms. Lange’s images are all black and white I decided to work with the window area because the colors were very muted.  The wood facade, the window frame, the background and Rick’s posture all came together.  I instantly knew that this was the image they would run.  It’s in today’s New York Times, and although it’s color, it’s very monochromatic.  I’m pleased with the way the image turned out and, as usual, extremely happy to continue to receive interesting assignments from the Times.  Here are a few outtakes as well as some behind the scenes pictures.

Another one of my faves

One of my faves

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Loving my 50mm f1.2 - trying out super shallow depth of field

Loving my 50mm f1.2 – trying out super shallow depth of field

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

The best images come from working in odd spaces

The best images come from working in odd spaces

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Have a great day!

Editorial Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert shoots National Geographic Travelers of the Year

Last year, I was lucky enough to be assigned to photograph two of the 2012 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.  I wrote about it in a previous post, and a lot of what I said then remains the same today.  The most interesting part of my job is having the privilege to meet and photograph many interesting people. This year was no exception.  The stars aligned and it turned out that two of the nominees happened to be in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, so I ended up photographing two of the 2013 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

The first assignment was to photograph a couple – Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan who were preparing to leave on a year-long, 10,000-mile bicycle adventure from Portland, Oregon to Patagonia in Argentina.  The most amazing part of their story is that Seth has quadriplegia and must travel using a hand-cycle.  Meeting and working with these two was incredibly inspiring.  We tried a couple of different approaches to making pictures of them and both of the locations ended up in the story – in print and on the web.  The print version (below) shows Seth and Kelly biking on a country road outside of Portland.  We got the shot by hiring a truck so I could make pictures of them while they were cycling, which was a great way to illustrate in picture precisely what they are about.  You can follow them on their epic journey online via their blog, www.longroadsouth.com.

Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan, National Geographic Travelers of the Year for 2013

Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan, National Geographic Travelers of the Year for 2013

The second photo-op turned out to be another couple who are referred to in the article as the, “New Pioneers,” and their portrait ended up being the opener for the print version of the story (see below).  John Ellis and Laura Preston ditched their jobs in New York City, got an airstream trailer and started on a journey that seems to keep on going.  They “crowd-source” their itinerary and wound up just outside of Portland in a small trailer park along the river.  John and Laura are taking advantage of being able to do their jobs on the road – they are both web developers – so they can work while exploring America.  It’s an inspiring story, filled with the romance of chasing dreams while traveling and earning a living.  You can follow their journey online at www.thedemocratictravelers.com.

2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year John Ellis and Laura Preston

2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year John Ellis and Laura Preston