I began my love affair with photography in the early 70’s as a student at the Southwest School of Arts and Crafts in San Antonio. Instructor Tom Wright, who had traveled with and photographed rock musicians the Who and Rod Stewart, brought to class a free-wheeling approach to black and white printing, encouraging his students to reach for the stars and push the limits while extremely loud rock music blared from the huge speakers. The combination of experimentation, encouragement and joy reflect in my work to this day.
A career as a full-time photographer began in the late 80’s with book cover work for several publishers. At this time, I also opened a studio where I explored my interest in black and white portraiture. Hand coloring custom prints proved to be very popular with my clients and my style of soft, gentle tones suited my much-loved work with children perfectly. Touches of glitter on occasional prints give off a magical light, delighting my young subjects.
In 2003, I added digital photography to my work, sparking a renewed interest in stretching the boundaries of creativity; my keen desire to produce unique and beautiful images has remained a driving force in my work ethic. My interest in commercial pursuits has opened exciting venues for bold color and graphic techniques.
Early in 2013, a brilliant friend and client suggested I begin making art prints for sale, specifically images of women from the 1910s and 1920s who made their names onstage and in very early films. In the 'Vintage Beauty' gallery, you will find the original portraits in black and white format, then my re-imagined version with full color and finally a video detailing the embellished sparkle I have added by hand onto the print surface.
Please visit all my galleries as opportunities unfold and my imagination soars. I simply must thank my family for planting the seed of creativity within me from early childhood. My mother singing in the kitchen, my father's bass lilting from the radio, my brothers' individual talents and accomplishments inspire me daily. As the great jazz photographer, Herman Leonard once told me, his excitement infectious, 'Experiment! Never stop experimenting!' Thank you, Herman. Thank you, indeed.
© Susan Riley Photography