Suzie and ILP participants on a photography outing
I was quite apprehensive last Friday afternoon. Four from our Digital Photography class were going to meet the famous Suzie Katz of PhotoWings fame. I couldn’t imagine what I, amateur snapper, possessor of a little compact Canon camera, would have to say to a world-renowned photographer. Worse, what would she think of my impertinence in coming along at all? We all felt a bit daunted as we waited for her at the gates of Trinity College.
Suzie arrived, with a big welcoming smile. She began to admire the light over Trinity and drew our attention to the way the clouds were breaking up to reveal a blue sky, mottled with small white fluffy clouds. The blue was the same colour as the clock in the apex of the building. The effect was spectacular but, I am ashamed to say, would probably have gone unnoticed by those of who are more used to looking down at the ground than up towards the stars.
Light is Suzie’s especial interest and she was quick to see a spectacular effect of pure white light seeming to rise up into the sky over the buildings at the end of Grafton Street. One roof there, green and turret-like, has what looks like a cross on top. The combination of the religious-looking turret with this lovely light, seeming to go up into the heavens, is the kind of effect that appeals to Suzie and is the type of thing she looks for when taking a picture. This is what changes the mundane snap into a work of art.
Inside the gates, the scene was very colourful. There had been a graduation and happy graduates in red and yellow gowns dotted the grounds. Suzie was more interested in pointing out the beautiful reflections to be seen in the small panes of glass in the windows. Some of them had the original old glass, thick and distorted which changed the reflections into modern art.
We experimented with the different settings on our cameras, how to make a picture of the lovely setting but also to show the movement of people, giving life to a photo. We were so engrossed that we lost track of time until tired feet and rumbling stomachs reminded us that we had missed our lunch and it was time to remedy this.
We repaired to a restaurant in Dame Street. During lunch, we had time to look at some of Suzie’s more amazing photos – her view of the Taj Mahal, taken in the early hours of the morning, was the most heart-stopping picture I have ever seen.
We learned many lessons on Friday, including how important it is to keep old photos of families and times gone by – and also to remember the stories that go with them. What seems like an insignificant photo today could be of utmost importance and interest later. Suzie told the story of her aunt, 95 years old, who had lost all her belongings in Hurricane Katrina. The biggest loss, in all their eyes was a painting of their aunt, done when she was young and very beautiful and which always hung on her wall. Suzie looked through her Dad’s old album and there among all the photos, was one of the painting. She had it scanned and printed and presented it to her aunt on her birthday. Her aunt cried when she saw it, she was so surprised and happy to see it again.
This story should remind us that family gatherings, weddings, christenings, when the different generations get together, are ideal opportunities to bring old photos to share with other family members and, maybe, find out who is the person in the corner, making funny faces, or who the lady with the spectacular hat really was.
Thank you, Suzie, for a lovely afternoon and for all the information you imparted in such a friendly, non-patronising way. I completely forgot my shortcomings as a photographer and felt I had shared the hours with friends.
Watch Suzie tell the story of her aunt’s lost photogaphs on the PhotoWings website.