You might have been flipping through a beauty magazine where the latest colours in lipstick are being presented in a bold and striking manner. Or you might have been in a bookstore and seen a copy of an award winning publication on display containing some mysterious images of what appear to be fairies. What might not have been so obvious is that it is the same photographer creating the images from these two different worlds, namely, Suza Scalora.
Suza was given a camera as a child and knew straight away that photography was what she wanted to do in life. After graduating in photography at the Art Center College of Design in California, she moved to New York to start her career. It was her devotion to creating images yet never being completely satisfied with what she achieved that drove her to work perhaps a little harder than most.
Her commercial assignments have filled her folio with clients such as Prescriptives, Disney, Avon, etc. But alongside is Suza’s fascination for the world of mythology, folklore, magic and fairies. To date, she has produced two books on this subject acting as writer, art director and photographer. In amongst the lighting, sets and costumes was a trusty Hasselblad 555ELD with 120 mm and 180 mm lenses. A digital back is now in place for current work. She admits to an initial resistance to working digitally but that’s all in the past, as Suza doesn’t use film any more. She chooses Hasselblad because she gets the sharpness and clarity she demands. The square format and the reliability are other aspects that she mentions in appreciative tones.
Suza Scalora set out with a vision about what she wanted to do. When asked about success in a chosen field, she says:
“I think it is all about developing your own personal style. I believe that one should follow their own vision and explore it. Determination and hard work are also key; don't get discouraged.
Photography is subjective, there is no right or wrong. I have always listened to my inner voice because in the end that is all you have. You will get many different opinions on your work and that's fine, but don’t listen with both ears. If you try to please everyone then you will lose your vision in the process.”
Two excellent examples of her vision and determination are her two books ‘The Fairies’ and ‘The Witches and Wizards of Oberin’, that are obviously close to her heart. The involvement and satisfaction of producing them are summed up when she says:
“ Working on my two books was absolutely the most positive experiences for me. I have always wanted to create a cohesive piece of work and the books enabled me to accomplish that. The most exciting thing to me is to be able to make my dreams into realities. I have learned so much from doing my work it has been a wonderful vehicle to help me grow as a person.”
‘The Fairies’ won an award. For a glimpse, see www.myth.com. Newsweek magazine named the book as, “one of the ten best picture books of the year.” More than five years on after publication, Suza still receives mail asking her where she found so many fairies! An interesting illustration, one could say, of the power of photography to produce such convincing imagery, when you put your heart and soul into a project.