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Artist of the Week – Susan Sandérus

July 12, 2010 by · 2 comments

Kosara Belnikolova’s interview with the photographer Susan Sandérus

Susan Sandérus: “Live, love and let live”


Susan Sandérus lives in The Netherlands.
Photography is her passion and it’s her way of showing others her vision of life, people, landscapes and architecture. Her photos are seldomly just SOOC because is not a “news journalist”. Her photos reflect her own truth, her personal vision on life. This said, she does use photoshop to enhance her images but doesn’t add things or ‘over-fabricate’ them. Susan shoots with a digital SLR but also loves her ‘el cheapo’, plastic Holga camera.

What was your first foray into photography?

I must have gotten my first camera at the age of six or around that time. I’ve always been very keen on visual things, like drawing and painting. But it was not until I bought my first SLR camera in 2002 (an analogue Canon EOS 300) that I really started to care about photography. Since then I’ve pretty much been a self-taught photographer, especially when I got myself a digital SLR about four years ago. I quickly learned more about techniques because I could immediately see the result of what I did on the screen of my camera.

The funny thing is, on the one hand I am working very hard to improve my photography skills with my digital SLR (I just bought a new, better one) but at the same time I love shooting randomly with my fantastic plastic Holga toy camera. To lose all those boundaries again. The contrast between the two cameras is huge but I couldn’t do without either of them.



Are there some artists who have influenced you and how?

I get inspired by many different artists, both painters and photographers. A few names of photographers that really inspire me are Henri Cartier Bresson (street photography), Helmut Newton, Anton Corbijn and Stephan Vanfleteren (portraits), Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, Michael Levin and Joel Tjintjelaar (land- and seascapes).

Tjintjelaar’s magnificent b&w daytime long exposures introduced me to the work of Michael Kenna and Michael Levin, and those photographers have been my main sources of inspiration this past year.



What’s your favorite subject?

I don’t really have one favorite subject… I love city life so I love shooting urban scenes like architecture or street photography, but I also love shooting landscapes and making portraits. I guess I’m still finding out which subject suits me best. For me photography is a way to express myself and to capture my personal vision on things. You could say it’s a way of documenting my life in such a way that it reflects my personality and the way I see things.



Do you mean “How does the world look through your perspective?

When I look at something I always see a composition or the way the light shines on something. That’s why I always have a camera at hand to capture it if I feel the need to. The funny thing is that I even see colours and shapes when I look at letters or numbers (which is actually a neurological condition that is called synesthesia), so for me there is a visual image hiding somewhere in everything I encounter in life. It just waits to be captured and the best way to do that is via photography. I know it is a cliché but I believe there is beauty in almost everything. You just need to see it.

Why have you chosen photography as your way to express yourself?




I also love to paint and draw but I have found that photography gives me more freedom to express myself. My photographs are not meant to show you the reality of life, they just provide my own reality. And of course it feels good if other people like my work because it is flattering if someone else thinks your work is beautiful.

Lately I have been very busy experimenting with daytime long exposures, inspired by the work of the earlier mentioned photographers Kenna, Levin and Tjintjelaar. I use a 10-stop neutral density filter which makes it possible to use long shutter times during the day. The results are amazing: the buildings or objects remain static and motionless but things like clouds and water move, which gives a rather dramatic effect and seems to bring poetry to things without emotion.

I think it is absolutely fascinating that in this way, a lifeless, motionless thing lacking any kind of soul becomes the center of a dramatic image around which life just seems to go on.




What does photography give you?

It opens my eyes to things I haven’t seen before and makes me more aware of the beauty surrounding me, giving me pause and oxygen in the incredibly hectic times we live in.

You mentioned that photography reflects your own truth? What’s your philosophy of life?

Live, love and let live.

Most of your photos feature architecture and urban environment. Tell us about the most interesting place you have been and how it has inspired you?

I’ve been hugely inspired by New York City. I just loved it and felt so alive there. It felt like one big déja vu when I was there: I had seen it all on TV before but when I was actually there the energy that seems to vibrate through that city really had an impact on me. And of course, New York is a photographer’s dream…

The most beautiful natural phenomenon I have ever seen is Bryce Canyon, also in the US. Its beauty actually brought me to tears.



What pictures do you prefer – colored or black and white? Why?

I prefer black and white because it takes you back to the core of things and I personally think there’s a lot more emotion in monochrome images than in coloured ones. I do love the colours of the photos that come from my plastic fantastic Holga toy camera though… very dreamlike and soft. There’s nothing better than the colours that analogue film give. Digital colours are often so harsh and oversaturated.

What’s your favorite quotation?

I studied literature and read a lot so I come across many magnificent quotes and lines, but one I like best is actually from a Beatles’ song: ‘In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make’. I think it’s a simple yet very lovely and true statement…



You could visit Susan’s flickr’s page or contact her at:

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