We are happy to welcome photographer Susan Johnson to Ptarmigan Arts Gallery as our newest member. After attending the Art Institute of Boston to study Fine Art and Photography, Susan spent 15 years doing custom Color and Black and White darkroom work. She also operated her own Custom Photo Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 9 years before eventually giving in to the advent of digital. After changing careers and becoming an X-ray technician, she couldn’t help but feel that something was missing and found that returning to the creative world was a pull too strong to resist.
So, Susan started to learn to take photos and print in digital format and feels that she is still learning. Even after trading the darkroom for digital photography, the basic and proven rules of the darkroom are still used in the final development of her pieces. She breaks all the rules of Photoshop, and just does what looks and feels right to her. Her images are mostly of natural forms, but she always finds herself looking for the linear in the natural, the pattern in the random. She seeks the angles, the geometry and the balance that holds the scene together while maintaining the natural and organic flow of the subject.
Susan’s focus has recently been divided between retiring, moving to Kasilof, and building her gardens and greenhouses. But the creative process has become a necessary part of feeling normal again after a concussion. Immersing into the visual becomes almost a spiritual experience for her and helps clear her mind.
Susan’s goal is now to try to achieve what she wants to work at, to use her creative process as a source of structure and organization, and a means to encourage her healing process. Since retiring, she has been able to concentrate more on creating and has resumed shooting with a more intimate view of the local world around her, concentrating on a simpler subject of a more personal nature, finding herself focusing on the parts rather than the whole through photography.
Susan moved to Homer in 2014. With her background in the arts, she had a strong desire to participate in the local art scene. Subsequently, she served on the boards of two local non-profits. She has had exhibits in Homer on several occasions. This past fall she was awarded an Honorable mention in Rarified Light, an annual Alaskan photo competition that traveled the State. She exhibited three times in Anchorage this Fall and Winter at The International Gallery of Contemporary Art and she participated in two other shows at the Kenai Art Center. She also participated in two shows with HCOA and currently has a solo show, A View from Out East, that is in the hospital gallery.