Saying Goodbye to a Friend and Colleague

Today the photo world is mourning the loss of Susan Carr.  Susan died yesterday after her long battle with cancer.

Susan was perhaps the strongest woman I have ever known.  She was also the most giving.  She gave above and beyond, everything and anything she put her mind to. She tirelessly gave to ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) and many of her colleagues will attest to that.  But I will remember Susan beyond her work for ASMP  I will remember Susan for her positive spirit.

One fond memory I have of Susan is the day my daughter, Erin graduated from Northwestern University.  My husband, Tom and I were the only “family” members to attend Erin’s graduation because most of our family lives on the East Coast and Chicago isn’t exactly around the corner.  We were going to have a nice, but simple celebration lunch and I called Susan and asked if she would like to join us.  She happily accepted our invitation and was humbled to be included in our celebration. Her presence that day was so joyful and she made the day even more special.  She was part of our family that day and she helped us celebrate one of life’s wonderful moments.

Susan and I didn’t always agree, but we always had the utmost respect for one another.  We were both women in a business that was dominated by men – at least that’s how it was when we first started out in our careers.  That’s changed over the years as more women have entered into the business of photography, but back then – you had to be a strong woman to compete in what was then, a “man’s world.”

But as strong as Susan was, she also had a heart of gold and a deeply intuitive nature. You could see that in her work. Her ongoing project, photographing people’s environments, really showed her spirit to be true.  She gave her still images of these environments  a “voice”,  even though there was no sound. Even when no people were present in her photographs, you could hear and feel the inhabitants of the environments that she selected to shoot.  She leaves behind a wonderful legacy with her work and a testament to the time she lived in.

I will miss Susan in many ways, but mostly in how she encouraged me.  When I first started giving seminars and had a few bumps with some negative feedback, Susan had faith in me. She supported me  and gave me helpful advice that was right on target and just what I needed.  She was also a big supporter of my film, in many ways.  On September 20th, Opening Our Eyes will screen at Valencia College in Orlando, FL as part of a celebration for International Peace Day and The Global Peace Film Festival.  After the screening, the students will congregate outside and make a human peace sign – each one bearing a lit candle.  Those candles will be for you Susan – your life on Earth was far too short but you burned so brightly while you were with us and you will always be remembered.

“To find your calling is a gift.  A purpose provides the drive to pursue
excellence along with an unwavering belief that your work is of value.
When you can take this resolve and turn it into a vocation you achieve
a rare and extraordinary feat.”

~ Susan Carr, “The Art and Business of Photography”

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One thought on “Saying Goodbye to a Friend and Colleague

  1. tomkelly266 September 4, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    I too, fondly remember that day of Erin’s graduation. We were pleased that Susan chose to join us in a celebration lunch and thereby sharing in our pride and admiration for our Magna Cum Laude graduate.

    That memory and feeling will now forever be sealed in memory.

    RIP Susan.

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