Born in 1947, Susan grew up in Canada, prior to moving to the United States in the 1970’s. Her interest in photography began in the year 2000, and she took years of photographic training at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle. She took workshops from the likes of Mary Ellen Mark, Christopher James, Tim Rudman, and Bruce Barnbaum. As her work evolved, she became seriously interested in the Lith process, and continued to embrace this darkroom technique for many years. Her work was solidly influenced by both Sarah Moon’s, and Lillian Bassman’s style. They, of course, had both worked in the fashion business, and had access to both the beautiful models and also the elegant clothing that was available in the fashion business. Susan worked hard at meeting and photographing local models, who ultimately brought along their own clothing. Susan’s budget was nowhere near Moon’s or Bassman’s, but she loved what her collaborations with her models came away with. She made solid friendships with each of her models. The photo shoots were always lots of fun, full of so many memories.
Her shooting and printing style portrays a signature visual appearance in the final outcome of each photograph. The gauzy, dreamlike quality of her images speaks to a forgotten time.
Lith printing, a film-based darkroom process, is a technique of overexposing a black & white, infrared, or color negative onto a suitable gelatin silver paper, and then only partially developing it in a very dilute Lith developer. This can produce prints with special properties and characteristics in terms of tonal distribution and response to toners. The choice of papers, developers, chemistry temperature, etc., can all produce hugely varying results. Serendipity often plays a part when Lith printing.
Starting in 2016, Susan’s interests took a turn toward intaglio printmaking, she produces her prints using photopolymer plates and her etching press. This has renewed her artistic excitement and is a new avenue for her to expand her love of photography. She continues to produce new work to use in her printmaking studio. Both of these processes give forth a tonal warmth that enhances the feminine form and shows off the beauty and strength of these amazing women.
Susan de Witt
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