Still Life. The inanimate objects of our lives. I am no longer a believer. Not since photographer Marko Susla contributed three remarkable images to Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition--Still Life: Ordinary and Extraordinary. These three images were selected for the exhibition, and Susla was selected to be an Artist of Distinction. His images show objects that are simple, everyday objects: a blue drinking glass, a basket holding clothes pins and a lady's slip, and a couple of old cameras. But there is nothing simple or everyday or inanimate about these images. It is clear that these objects were carefully chosen, tenderly positioned in a particular location that was also carefully chosen, and then cast into immortality. And here is where my disbelief comes in. There is life in these objects...there is anima in these objects. With these objects Susla creates a sense of honor and reverence and gratitude that is palpable and awe-inspiring. Susla accomplished this by not only seeing and photographing the objects as they lay before him, but by also seeing and photographing them for everything else they possessed. (One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are. --Minor White) Still Life. The objects of our lives.
A - I'm Feeling Blue [Enlarge]
B - She Was a Beautiful Woman [Enlarge]
C - My Late Father [Enlarge]
The artist speaks about these images in this way:
As we wander about through this thing called life, we take a lot of things and life events for granted. We don't necessarily do this to be malicious or negative; it’s just the natural process of living. At some point, perhaps, life changes, either through a drawn-out process or a sudden event, and the life-changing experience may be positive or deeply devastating. Our subconscious mind is an immensely powerful thing, storing memories and experiences deep in its recesses. Equally as powerful are our senses in responding to external sensory triggers such as smell, sight, and sound. When our senses are stimulated by a seemingly long forgotten trigger, the mind may experience a release of memories and feelings that are deep inside and long forgotten. These memories bring us back to the past and allow us to relive it on our mind's virtual stage, as if we are really there again in that moment. To the photographer, creating an image of a still life can be a way to work with these memories. While the viewer will never know the photographers’ own experience, the photograph may stimulate the viewer to relive his or her own long forgotten memory.
These three photographs are very dear and personal to me. Last year, I placed my mother into a nursing home. This past October I sold her house, my childhood home in Connecticut. Although I had not lived there for the past twenty some odd years, I had spent weekends there and it was my refuge. These photographs were among the last I took there before I locked the door and walked away. Their edit is a delayed mourning. The basket of clothes pins reminds me of my mother as a younger lady of beauty and strength. The cameras belonged to my father and are photographed against the slats of the front porch from where so many memories from early childhood through my adult years were created. The blue glass photographed on the window sill of the garage represents the memories of my mother's china and glass and also brings to mind the times when my mother entertained family or friends.
Marko Susla, currently residing in New Jersey, was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For his eighth grade graduation trip into Manhattan, his father placed a Leica 35mm in his hands, gave him a roll of black and white film and a few instructions on using the camera. From here Susla's interest in photography grew. Marko Susla was classically trained as a scientist obtaining a B.S. from the University of Bridgeport followed by six years of post graduate studies at Wesleyan University (Connecticut). Working with spatial concepts, the rules of assembly, learning how to look at things, to see things, to document abstract concepts, and effectively present them in a visual representation, science was a natural conduit into photography. A camera was a natural extension of using scientific instrumentation. The camera, though, has an additional dimension--the ability to capture and portray emotion and feelings.
Susla pursued independent study in photography and is currently under the mentorship of a fine art professional. His current interests are disparate, ranging from the beauty of scenic and landscape photography, the dark side of documenting abandoned structures and places, and, most recently, the beauty and drama of nocturnal photography. Perhaps what seems disparate is actually a balance.
Marko Susla's work has been shown in a number of exhibitions around the United States, including: Vermont Photography Workplace in Middlebury, Vermont; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado; Presidio of San Francisco and New Orleans. His work was also part of an online gallery project based in Kópavogur, Iceland. Susla has also had work published in Burn Magazine and SuperMassiveBlackHole.
I'm Feeling Blue. Color photograph-fine art print, 20 x 16 inches, not framed $400.
She Was a Beautiful Woman. Color photograph-fine art print, 20 x 16 inches, not framed $400.
My Late Father. Color photograph-fine art print, 20 x 16 inches, not framed $400.
Return to Still Point Art Gallery
Still Point Art Gallery
February 17, 2011