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Suzanne Gagnier


While on a summer trip to Connecticut with relatives, Suzanne and her brother were both given their first cameras. Her father gave them each a Kodak Instamatic, a gift that was to inform the rest of her life. “That summer we went crazy with the photos. It provoked my imagination and visual concepts. I have always felt a very strong connection to the visual and photography. It’s the living memory that is etched forever.”

At 17, Suzanne enrolled in some photography and darkroom courses. Her father gifted her with his Exakta camera. It was a 35mm German-made camera. Photography seemed to run in her blood. Her father was a cinematographer and during his career worked on many well-known films and television shows. She worked at Schaeffer’s Camera, which at the time was the largest camera store in Hollywood. She crossed paths with many amazing photographers.

She loved everything having to do with film. She purchased a Nikon F2 camera and every lens imaginable, including a 16mm fisheye Nikkor with four filters built into the lens. She placed an ad in the Drama Logue and was hired to take head shots for several years along with shooting live bands and musicians.

Suzanne met so many photographers with such different artistic perceptions. “I remember Lee Lawrence. I met him in the late 70’s. He was a photographer with a vision. He loved to reverse his negatives and did a lot of his work with special film processing for the visual effect. Today, in Photoshop, and even in our telephones we can have reverse negatives and solarization which back then Lee was the only person I knew who was processing that way.”

In the early 70’s Suzanne took pictures many times at the Midnight Special TV Show. During that time she met Fred Beauford, editor-in-chief of the (then hard copy) Neworld Review and did shots for some of the magazine’s featured articles. She then began work at Eastman Kodak Co. in their processing department doing color corrections. During that same time she was assisting on TV commercial shoots and handled the film for the cameras. She also worked with an advertising photographer for a few years as a stylist and eventually as his photo rep. She was invited to be a speaker at The Art Center and taught a couple classes on photo repping.

I love angles, textures, motion, and dimension. Each time I take a picture I look for “the feeling in the shot.” I have always loved black and whites, I love high contrast. Eventual I made the shift to digital. I love my SLR Nikon…now I take most of my pictures with my digital Canon Rebel. I love instant gratification and digital definitely gives me immediate results. I can change my shots, lighting, angles, exposures and anything I want in an instant.”

Throughout the years Suzanne has explored many aspects of photography. “In the 90’s the Hollywood Palace was revamping their café and I was asked to hang some of my pictures from numerous events and musicians I shot at their venue. I realize that my love for photography and the wonderful feeling it gives me is a personal gift. To this day I will take on jobs for photography but my choice has been to keep it as my personal enjoyment rather than making a living shooting for others.”

“Photography affords me the ability to communicate my thoughts, feelings, heart and soul through my eyes and those images live forever. Photography has given so much to me including a life long friend.”

(Excerpt from Neworld Review)

Written by; Kara Fox

And Suzanne’s photography

is our gift indeed!

Photography is the living memory that is etched forever

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