Suzannah received her first camera when she was 15 years old, as a birthday gift from her parents. Once she put the Mamiya 35mm in her hands, she couldn’t let go!
From following her parents around (who were folklorists and writers), to cemeteries and old churches in Alabama, to photographing her brother’s Little League teams, she began to hone her skills. A science project on native flowers and plants kickstarted her high school career with the high school newspaper and local newspaper, The Tallassee Tribune.
She was selected one of 100 Top Young Photographers by the Kodak Company during her high school years in 4H and won state awards for her photojournalism work on prisons in Alabama and continued her journey in college at the University of Alabama, working for the Crimson White, editing and doing photography for the University of Alabama Wesley Foundation newsletter, and working for a professional photographer. She graduated in Studies in Americana from the University’s New College, and her senior thesis was a photographic study titled “A Study of Southern Women.”
When Suzannah graduated in 1985 she chose to come home and open a photography studio, and in October of that year she opened up in a tiny building on Sistrunk in downtown Tallassee.
It’s been a wonderful experience thus far, and she has progressed from that tiny, narrow building that didn’t even have a bathroom to a much larger building around the block, to her own studio on James Street.
From 35 mm to medium format film to digital, she has seen many changes in photography. But some things remain constant—her eye for the subject, her love for her work, and her love for her clients. Suzannah’s training is in traditional portraiture and photojournalism. Her major influences are P.J. Polk, who was the official photographer for Tuskegee Institute for many years and whom she met when she was still in high school, Eudora Welty, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans. She has received awards for her work at the Alabama National Fair, the Eastern Shore Arts Center, the Tennessee Valley Art Center, and most recently had five works displayed in the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery’s exhibit, Originally from Alabama. Her work “My Rosalie,” won best in show. She is a longtime member of Professional Photographers of America.
Aside from photography, she is active in the community, serving as president of the Tallassee High School Alumni Association and is a member of the Housing Authority Board. She was recently named local coordinator of the city’s participation in Alabama Communities of Excellence. Her husband, Darrell, serves as a councilman for Ward 4 in Tallassee.