Be Our Guest: Finding My Way Home

In Guest, Inspiration

We’re so pleased to welcome October’s Be Our Guest blogger Susan Licht, a photographer and wanderer from Central Massachusetts.  I am drawn to her work because she captures many of the same subjects that catch my eye — the perfectly imperfect people, places, and things that populate rural New England.  Every image speaks to the history of the region, and the passage of time.  You can see more of her work on her blog www.Lichtyears.com, or on Instagram.

“I believe that photography is not about creation—it’s a process to evoke memory; to refresh something that already exists in our minds; something that is growing weak and abstract and needs to find expression…”
~ Quentin Shih

Over time we all grow and change as photographers and I am no exception.  Having spent years staging and shooting still life images, I suddenly found myself growing uninspired.  My photos began to look contrived and meaningless to me.  My basement was overflowing with props.  A change was needed.

During the summer months I took my camera everywhere with me, randomly shooting whatever caught my eye. At the start, I had no particular goal in mind.   I shot memory cards full of images in Maine, New Hampshire, the Berkshires and neighboring towns here in Massachusetts.

Often on foot, I found myself drawn to the side streets and backroads of small New England towns.   Because I grew up in a small town,  it’s there that I discovered meaning and connection.  It was not always blatantly apparent in every photo I took,  but while looking through my images, I felt a sense of time, of place, of home.

As the artist Pavel Buchler wrote in his book Ghost Stories, “in every photograph we retain possession of what is no longer ours: not just a past but a certain place in history.  The creation and possession of a photograph highlights the very nature of that which can not be captured and owned. As we hold on to these precious artifacts of time, we are offered a comfort that that moment can be held on to, that that very instant in time could live on forever.  Photographs keep under constant tension the fragile links between the residue of lived moments and memory, between where we have been and who we are (what we are always becoming).”









Other than some occasional stock photography (which I’ve abandoned at the moment), I’m not actually in the business of photography.  I have no idea whether my work will resonate with others, but I’m OK with that.  I shoot for myself and this project has become dear to my heart.

I plan to continue exploring small town life with one change and that is to shoot more of it on film.  It will definitely be a learning process for me but one that I look forward to.  Any tips would be greatly appreciated..

And should you happen to  be looking for props, I’ll be having a yard sale later this fall!

We want YOU to Be Our Guest!  Post your images on Instagram with the hashtag #viewsfindersio_beourguest or leave a comment below with a link to your best images.  You could be our next guest and have the opportunity to share your photographic vision with us.

See you soon.

lucy

9 Comments

  1. Susan, You and your beautiful photographs are new to me, and yet I feel an instant kinship with you. We have traveled similar paths and arrived at the same sweet spot – where picture-making is our joy, our tender love, and our healing. These scenes of everyday life only serve to reinforce my view of life as really good.

  2. Susan, it was with great joy that I saw you were this month’s guest! I love your work, your depictions of small-town New England resonate with me. These photographs are wonderful! xo

  3. Thanks for joining us Susan! I’ve always been a fan of your work, and love all those images above, in fact, maybe even more than your still lifes! I love how you’ve turned your lens outward this summer. Your slices of life are wonderful!

  4. Thank you all and thanks to Lucy and Viewfinders for the invitation to share my work.

  5. Susan,
    It was wonderful to learn a little bit more about your process. I am a great admirer of your photography and so happy you joined us here.

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