20th Anniversary Issue: Susan Rosenberg Jones
As part of F-Stop Magazine’s 20th anniversary celebration we invited past featured photographers to share with us some thoughts and reflections. We asked each photographer to consider how their photographic work has changed over time, how the changes in photography over the past 20 years may have affected or influenced that change, and to share what they are up to most recently.
By Susan Rosenberg Jones
I was delighted to receive an email from Christy Karpinski, Editor of F-Stop, inviting me to reflect on my work and how it’s changed or grown over the years.
I was a Featured Artist in F-Stop’s Issue #79, October-November 2016, Human Body Issue. As one of three featured artists, I presented my body of work, Second Time Around. With this series, I made intimate portraits of my husband, Joel, highlighting his endearing personality with love and some humor. Second Time Around was awarded Critical Mass Top 50 in 2017.
Since that time, I continued to make intimate portraits of Joel, and during the 2020 lockdown I made more. At some point that year, I turned the camera on myself and began a self-portrait series, Grappling with Uncertain Times, which I continue working on to this day.
I learned a lot making the portraits of Joel. Specifically, I am most satisfied with my photographic work when I keep it close to the heart. When embarking on a new project I ask myself if is this from the heart – and from deep personal feeling?
Photography has become even more project oriented in recent years. I like to work that way, but sometimes explore ideas visually, until I find a thread. A body of work I began in 2018, sort of tangential to Second Time Around, is titled Widowed. With that work I put a focus on widows and widowers who lost their life partners either recently or years ago. I use text in this series by recording a conversation with my sitter, and then making a portrait of them. The text and portraits are presented together. This way of working was new ground for me, and I was honored to receive a Critical Mass Top 50 award for Widowed in 2021.
Now I’m embarking on a new series, bumpily at best, and am using text again, along with portraits and other supporting images. The working title is Jewishly. I haven’t quite found my footing yet, but the challenge is part of the fun. The project is focused on religion, and my feelings toward liberal Jewish life in my city today during these turbulent times. I speak with and photograph people who are members of my downtown New York City Reform congregation.
As for Second Time Around, I’m very excited that this fall, 2023, eighteen images from the series will be published as a portfolio book by Peanut Press. A signed print will accompany the book.
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