Susan Swihart: If Only
Photographer Susan Swihart follows her successful project on twins, About Face, with a new self portrait project that examines motherhood and identity in If Only. It is an exploration of terrain that is not unfamiliar to most parents when the chaos of parenting and carpools and packing lunches takes over and the self is lost to routine and nurturing those in close proximity. Susan uses this project to consider who she is at a time where her identity is not up for consideration.
Susan was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts. Growing up in a busy multi-generational home, she often sought quiet places to create with found supplies. In Boston, she studied art, exploring graphic design, filmmaking and photography. She found her way into a career in advertising, overseeing creative teams, art buying and production.
Leaving her advertising career to start a family, she has now come back to photography. Susan has shown in galleries across the country, is a member of the Los Angeles Art Association, a 2014 Exhibition Award winner at LA Municipal Art Gallery’s Open Show, a two-time Critical Mass finalist and currently shows with the Verge Collective at the Duncan Miller Gallery in Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Next month, she will be showing with Verge at the Fotofever Photography Art Fair in Paris and in January at Photo LA.
“I find inspiration in the people around me, the way we live, life at home and adventures in the world with my family”.
As a child, whenever family or company would visit, I would always ask to sit with the grown-ups rather than play with the other kids. I was allowed to stay because I was quiet and they were able to forget I was there. I was fascinated by each character, and with their stories and interactions. As the evening went on, it felt so privileged to see how their true selves emerged.
I’ve always been an observer. I take pictures to capture a small moment and translate my personal experience into a shared one. Documenting a place in time or a personal event. Sometimes I am a passive observer, like in my childhood home, other times I’m recording my own domestic landscape. I am a collector of memories and intend to capture everything I can. I do this so that I cannot forget, but also to share it with others, so they will remember too.
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