A year in photos: January – June

One of the best parts of having a blog is the archives. In April I’ll have been blogging for six years and it’s so wonderful to be able to look back through the archives and see how I’ve changed and evolved. And not just personally — as a photographer I really appreciate being able to see the progression of my eye and style too. Mind you, the last few years haven’t evolved too radically as I’ve settled into my love of squares, both from Polaroids and lately from my iPhone too. It doesn’t surprise me that I’ve shot more photos with my phone than any of my other cameras this year. It’s always with me. It’s easy to download to my computer. It was my constant companion while writing the book — taking little Instagram breaks during the day kept me sane. Plus it’s fast, and considering 90% of my photos in 2011 were of my nephew, you need to be fast!

Inspired by Elizabeth and Shari, here’s my first photographic peek back through 2011.

And here are my photo reviews from 2010 :: 2009 :: 2007






My Photography Manifesto

My Photography Manifesto | SusannahConway.com


There’s a camera out there for everyone. And, like babies, all cameras are beautiful!

The more you practice the more your eye will improve. Fact.

We can be inspired by others and imitate their style as we learn, but it’s our own style that will give us the most satisfaction. Give it time and you will find it.

Slow down. Take a breath. Look again.

Pay attention to the in-between moments.

Remember to lie on the floor and stand on chairs once in a while.

Play with digital and film. iPhones and Hasselblads. Canon and Nikon. Try everything to decide which translates your eye best.

Learn a few rules so you know how to break them.

Take a photograph everyday, even if it’s just your lunch. Especially if it’s your lunch. Shoot it every day for a month and see what happens.

The camera is only a tool; it’s your eye that really matters.

* * * * *


Tomorrow is the last day of the first session of Photo Meditations and I am sitting here feeling really rather in love with my course. And it’s making me laugh — I never thought I could ever create a course that I’d love more than Unravelling, but this five week foray into heart-centered photography has me all a-fluster :) I’ve loved pouring myself into this course every day for the last month and I don’t want to stop (I’m not kidding — i’m currently sketching out a sequel). It’s a photography course but, holy cats, it is so much more than that. It’s about connecting with the world, cultivating mindfulness, and being brave. It’s about tapping into the artist inside and giving her a voice through your images. It’s about shooting from the heart. I’ve just updated the course page with a slideshow, a week-by-week outline and some testimonials from peeps in the autumn class, so if you’re considering signing up for the January class (registration opens this Sunday) do check it out.

Okay, that last paragraph is more gushy than I would normal write here but I just ate my dinner and it was the first food I have been able to taste in over SIX DAYS, so i’m on a getting-better high. Happy December, everyone! x

Instant Love: the cover

I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I have two books coming out next year. I mean, I did the work. I sat in this chair I am sitting in now and wrote for MONTHS. I shot the images. I pulled out every thread of myself for my book and collaborated with two women I admire so much for the other. And yet, as we get closer to 2012 and the final birthing of the books, I still can’t quite believe it. I’m almost embarrased to have two books coming out — it’s seems so greedy. But that’s just the way it happened. A little bit of serendipity spirinkled on a ton of hard work.

In this age of online magic having a paper book in your hands could be considered rather quaint, but after centuries of the written word, i don’t think they’ll be dying out any time soon. If anything, my Kindle makes me appreciate my paper books even more.  I love watching my nephew playing on his mummy’s iPad but his favourite is still a paper book about tractors.

I got a nice surprise this morning when I noticed the covers of the books had been added to their Amazon listings. It’s a pleasure to be able to finally show you the cover of Instant Love. It’s a book for anyone who loves Polaroids and photography and we hope it will inspire you to go exploring with your cameras!

Instant Love back cover

Some stats:
The book will be hardcover
Publication date: May 16th, 2012
Price: $18.95 (£11.99) but you can pre-order it on Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk right now for $10.76 (£9.23)

On trusting our creative path

On trusting our creative path | SusannahConway.com
I started taking my photography seriously when I was 19 years old. I was at art college, deeply immersed in making what I considered to be art. I was unsure of myself and couldn’t always articulate what it was I was trying to say, but those three years of experimentation gave me the space to explore my creativity. I left college at 22 and back then (1995) the photography I wanted to do didn’t seem to have a place in the world yet. I didn’t want to be an editorial photographer, which is where most of my peers were headed, but I couldn’t see how I could make a living as a fine art photographer. I’d left college with dreams of solo exhibitions and a fine art book, only to find myself back in the real world. So after a couple of years working to pay the rent, I went back to university to study journalism; I put those original dreams on hold, indefinitely.

It’s now sixteen years later and today I’m preparing the online space for my photography class starting next Monday. My photography path unfolded in ways I hadn’t imagined and along the way I learned that you do not need to be published in books or magazines, or belong to a certain association, or even earn money from your images, to call yourself a photographer (or writer or artist or musician, or whatever your heart yearns to called). All you need do is hold a camera in your hands with the intention of creating. Recording beauty and decay. Capturing memories. Documenting a scene. Telling a story. Catching a likeness. Exploring your inner world in pixels and film.

What I’ve learned in my many years of being a photographer and not being a photographer is we have to trust that our creative path will unfold exactly as it wants to. 22-year-old me wanted to make books and be seen, to be recognised as having some talent, some purpose, something to say. Back then I craved validation — these days I see that being a photographer is not a badge I wear but simply the way I move through the world. I take photographs everyday — it’s like brushing my teeth.

I’ve been thinking about how the time in my life when I felt most at peace with who I am as a creative person was when the opportunity to pen two books came along. Last week I mentioned that the books were a childhood ambition realised. And they are — i’ve imagined seeing my name on a book ever since I could read. But what I’ve been feeling lately, aside from the vulnerability of sharing my thoughts and stories in such a public way, is a quiet sense of rightness. I don’t feel validated or seen or any of those things younger me craved because somehow this isn’t about me anymore. I’m making things for others that I hope will be useful, and I feel just like I do on Christmas eve when I’m busting to give my family their presents and see their faces when they open them. It’s about sharing and giving and delighting.