The answers #1

FWAmanda asked: do you have a
favorite photograph?

I really do love the work of
photographer Francesca Woodman. She took the sort of thoughtful photographs I wished I
could have taken at her age – sadly, she committed suicide a few months before her 23rd
birthday. At 23 I had just left art college and was still wrapped up in self
portraiture and self reflection, and I remember stumbling upon an exhibition of
her work at the Photographer’s Gallery in London and being blown away by every
single image. Yes! This was work I could relate to! I especially love the image
above, with her wings and ethereal form, and the light glowing through the
window. Her images make me wish I was back in the college darkroom, making my
black & white prints and exploring my artsy ideas.

Angie asked: You've got the last ever pack of Polaroid
film and there's one shot left in that pack… what to you take your last
Polaroid of?

That’s easy. It would either
be a portrait of my sister or a still life of a cupcake, so if it was my last
shot in my last pack, I would photograph my sister holding two cupcakes, and
while the Polaroid developed we would feast on the cupcakes and toast Polaroid with a
perfectly-chilled glass of Champagne.

blue bicicletta asked: What
is the first photograph you ever remember taking?

I honestly can’t remember, but I remember having a picture of Debbie Harry that
I’d torn from a magazine and taped to the mirror in my bedroom. I spent a whole Sunday
afternoon attempting to take a self portrait that looked like her. It didn’t
work; I was 13. I continued taking self portraits for another 10 years.

Dhon asked: where do you get
your Polaroid films posted on your pages?

I buy all my Polaroid film

Xmas09_breakfast Nic asked: What is your
favorite photograph taken by you? And which one would you choose that was taken
by someone else?

My favourite photograph
changes weekly – daily even! At the moment I am loving the Polaroid I took of
my breakfast on Christmas Day (above); there’s nothing special about the picture, but
all those circles are making me happy.

One of my favourite Flickr features is the ability to ‘favourite’ images from
your contacts; I often spend time meandering through my faves, soaking in the
light and colour and inspiration. This week I love this shot, and this one, and
this one.

R. asked: How many of the
things you photograph do you truly experience? (For example, did you try any
ravioli from Lucca's after taking that bottom photo?) Or are the majority of
your photos things that interest/appeal to you on a merely visual level?

No, I didn’t even go inside
Lucca, and now I look at the Polaroid and wish I had (I stood in the middle
of the road to take the shot, so at the time I just wanted to record the
wonderful colours before any cars ran me over). Half the photographs I take
were shot on the hoof, like capturing butterflies in a net. Something catches
my eye and I want to record it – maybe it’s the colour and shape of a building,
or the juxtaposition of a group of objects. The rest of my shots record the
things I do; I love to photograph meals and moments, friends and gatherings.

Cindy asked: which is best:
sunshine or shadow?

For my state of mind:
sunshine. For picture-taking: some shadow.

asked: If you were sent back in time (for 100 days) to the 1880s, and got one
of those first family (b&W, Kodak) '100 picture' cameras… Where would you
go, and what what would you take pictures of, so you could bring them back and
show them to us in 2010?

Presumably I would still in be in the UK after walking
through the time travel door, so I would make my way to old London town. There I
would take pictures of some of my favourite areas to see how they looked back
then: Brick Lane, Soho, Bloomsbury, Portobello Road, Hampstead Heath. I’d also photograph
the areas I like less, as maybe they looked fabulous in 1880: Tottenham Court
Road, Leicester Square, Covent Garden. I’d love to see Battersea Power Station
but unfortunately that wasn’t built until 1930. Shame. I’d also take many photos
of the people, observing what they wore, how they talked to each other, how
they got around town. And I’d spend some time in pubs, chatting up the locals
and sampling the beer.

Christine asked: I would love to know how you change the colours in your Polaroids? What do you do in Photoshop?

First of all I scan the Polaroids with my Epson 4490 scanner. Polaroid film generally has a yellowish cast to it, which the scanner tends to overemphasise, so everything i do in Photoshop is simply to correct the colour of the scan. I use images > adjustments > selective colour to take out the yellow and get the image as close to the original as i can. I then adjust the curves a fraction if the image need lightening, and remove any dust specks that the scanning might have picked up using the clone and spot healing brush tools… and that's it.

7 responses
  1. Christine

    I would love to know how you change the colours in your polaroids? What do you do in Photoshop? I would love to figure out how to do this to my polaroids! :)

  2. CrowNology

    I enjoyed reading this…Thanks for sharing!

  3. charlane

    i’ve never seen her photography before. beautiful words about her. my favorite is dorothea lange

  4. blue bicicletta

    It’s nice to read these answers and hear more about your photo process. Also, I was just saw these paintings by Lisa Congdon of cameras, and thought you might enjoy:,-Lisa.aspx

  5. lk

    I loved, still love, francesca woodman, too. On Becoming an Angel is a favorite…

  6. Jan's camera

    Susannah, thanks for sharing with us. I love reading your blog.

  7. ToLiveInspired

    I saw this necklace in an email i got, and thought of you since you.. IT’s rather cute
    I really enjoy your blog, thanks for the inspiration!

Comments are closed.