Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Focus On: Susannah Tucker

Here's a bit of a quiz for you: Which child is more likely to become a good reader: One who is read to faithfully by his or her parents or a child who grows up in a house filled with bookcases and lots of books? The answer may surprise you -- the child who simply grows up in the presence of books (and who sees his or her parents reading) is more likely to become a reader.

I learned this fact from a source I can't recall any longer, and it came to my mind while I was talking with Etsy photographer, Susannah Tucker, of Melbourne, Australia. She is building her career as a photographer at her own pace, placing her growing family at the forefront of her life. At the same time, Susannah brings her kids into her work and they experience her passion for her work and her art nearly every day.

Come along and get to know Susannah and how she balances it all, including her gear!

Ann: How do you balance work and life? Is your photography a full-time job for you?

Susannah: My photography is my part-time-fit-it-in-when-I-can job. I have two little ones, a 3-year old and a 6-month old, so my full-time (and beyond) job is as a Mum, and I fit in my photography when I can. I find I'm always thinking about photography, though, and cameras are a part of our daily life. I head out on excursions with the kids to take photos, and I edit them in the afternoons and evenings during quiet/sleep time. We plan weekend family adventures around where I'd like to take photos, and we've just booked a long weekend at the beach, as I'm dying to take photos on a proper sand beach!

A: You are imparting a sense of creativity with your children. How did you get your start in photography?

S: Like my children are now, I grew up with cameras around us. Dad always had his SLR with us on outings, and Mum would take Polaroids of us all. I used to LOVE watching the Polaroid develop-- it seemed so magical-- a moment forever captured. When I was 8, I was given my first Vivitar by my parents. It had one button! How the technology has changed! Ever since then I have been taking photos, loving that I was capturing moments in time. I can't remember when I realized I wanted to BE a photographer, but I think I've slowly been working toward this dream for a long, long time.

Hello, You

A: What's your favorite piece of photographic equipment you're using now?

S: My favourite piece of equipment, hmmm, that's a toss-up between my Kodak Duaflex and my Polaroid....ummm, ahhhh, ummmm, ohhhh -- the pressure to pick one.....would have to say the Polaroid! I love that in the digital age of being able to take hundreds of photos at any one time, you get one shot with the Polaroid. It makes me really simplify and focus on my composition. We spent a day at the fair, and came home with 300 digital photos (including TTV's) and 14 Polaroids. The Polaroids are my favourite, I would have been happy with just the Polaroids.

A: So, here you are at the fair with two little ones in tow AND two cameras and a TTV setup? How do you carry it all? Seriously, how do you manage all your equipment?

S: The equipment -- this makes me laugh! In a nutshell, I have a very supportive, very strong, very adventurous and VERY patient husband, Shannon, who ends up carrying most of my gear. Yesterday at the fair, and on most of our days out, I carry my digital camera and Shannon takes the messenger bag with the Polaroid and TTV, plus sometimes a lensbaby/portrait lens (and stuff for the kids). It's all so heavy! It was tricky yesterday, as I was trying to take photos on the DSLR of Annabel having fun, then quickly get out the Polaroid to take a photo, find somewhere to put the Polaroid print to develop, collapse the Polaroid and back into the bag, then turn back to watch Annabel, check Otis still asleep in the pram, etc., etc. It's a constant juggling act! Having Shannon help me carry it gives me the options to take so many different style photos, because I never know what I am going to see and what will inspire me.

A: Describe a perfect day taking photographs. Would it be just you, some alone time, perhaps? If you'd be with someone, would it be a fellow photographer, or someone to help you carry stuff? Where would you be?

S: My perfect day taking photos would be as above, out with my family, on an adventure, having help with the gear, but also some time alone -- Shannon entertaining the kids while I have some time to explore without the distractions. I also dream of being back in Italy, meandering around the villages on a push bike with a basket in front full of camera gear, so I can stop whenever something catches my eye. A girl can dream!

Thank you, Susannah! And, if anyone knows of the perfect way to carry all the gear, please leave a comment. It's safe to assume Shannon isn't available to come up all the way from Melbourne to help us out!


Lenoirrr said...

Great to read this interview. I love the work of Susannah a lot because of the colorful, happy feelings the photos give. It's wonderful to read about the somewhat more private Susannah and so know a bit more about who is behind these blue skies and soft flowers.
I hope to follow your work a long time and wish you a colorful future.

Celtic Cat said...

Great photos, love Susannah's work!

I grew up in a house hold of books!
And it worked for me, I read all my
parents books!

Tali Schiffer said...

I heart Susannah Tucker! I've stumbled upon her on Etsy before, and I really like her style and work!

myan photography/zuppaartista said...

wonderful interview & i love the tidbit about reading ann!
i am a big book nerd! :)
and i am a fan of susannah's dreamy work! her family outings sound like so much fun!

Ann Wilkinson said...

thanks, Michelle! Just think of the exposure to art and creativity Susannah's children are getting! I was so bogged down with working full time and trying to keep everything under control I didn't do anything even close to that with my kids. My only saving grace is that we have always had tons of books!!!

Susannah said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! They mean a lot to me.