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In her new show, photographer Suzanne Williamson explores light and land

Bill DeYoung



Photographer Suzanne Williamson. Photo provided.

On her early-morning walks along the Tampa Bay shoreline, Suzanne Williamson was struck by the shifting patterns of light and color as the sun began to break through the eastern horizon.

She always had her camera with her, and set out to chronicle the awe-inspiring beauty of those moments when night and day passed their respective torches.

The result became Suzanne Williamson: The Language of Light, her latest solo exhibition. It opened Friday at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, and will run through April 3.

The photographs are manipulated, pointedly cropped and stacked to create a narrative, resulting in a provocative display of creative license. Williamson doesn’t merely snap photos; she sees the world through the eyes of an artist.

“Some people think it’s artistic, and some people think it’s too fussy,” she says with a chuckle. “Everyone’s approach is really, really different.

“But I do think most artists of any stripe, and photographers particularly, photograph the way they see. I like to see things very close-up. I have far distance vision, so I was interested in seeing what would happen if I got close to something, and it’s sharp in the background. What does that do to creating space? How can I deal with softness and sharpness, and depth of field, and maybe help people to weave through a picture I took? Follow the path that’s there.”

The Language of Light consists of what Williamson calls Sunstrips, composites of sequential images from different perspectives, and Sunlit, individual images cropped square and enlarged for maximum artistic impact. “Lots of times, you’re looking at two sunrises, or two coronas. Or you think you’re looking at the water but you’re looking at the sky.”

Each Sunstrip tells a singular story. “Think of them as scrolls,” the artist explains. “They’re scrolls.”

Her work, she continues, “is about obsession and fascination. You take that obsession and fascination, and you take it further. And the further you take it, suddenly other people start to say, like, ‘Hmm, that’s kind of interesting. I don’t really get why you had to do it that way, but OK.’

“And that’s what you want. Because you really want people to kind of go on the journey with you. You don’t really want to be alone.”

The new exhibition is a direct descendant of Shadow and Reflection: Visions of Florida’s Sacred Landscapes, created in collaboration with her husband, author John Capouya. This was a visual examination of the Indian mounds scattered across the Floridian landscape. “She reaches for the stories that are embedded in the mounds,” read the Morean Art Center tagline.

Williamson’s unique vision of blending the lines between detail and landscape began, she believes, during her earliest years in her native New York. A sickly child, she rarely left the house.

“I read a lot,” she remembers. “And when I got to be outside, I loved it. Because my mom was always saying ‘No, you can’t go outside, you’re going to get sick.’ So to be outside and not just read about the world in books, that has always been a thrill for me.

“So I took all kinds of pictures when I was a younger photographer. I took pictures of people and events. I still like to take pictures of people, and I did a whole series of pictures of farm animals, but they were in relationship to the land.

“And land just became more important, and I felt like I could journey into it and open it up. And for people to see more of, what is it like to be in a particular space?”

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts website.




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    February 13, 2022at10:42 am

    This work is intriguing and unique
    I grew up on the Atlantic ocean but never had your imagination
    You put a new inquiry on sea related art

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