Susan Cooley has spent most of her adult life either behind a camera or at a patient's bedside. Susan’s work in advanced practice nursing refined her observation skills and helps her interact easily with her photographic subjects. Since her first job as a newly minted nurse at the Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti, Susan Cooley uses the camera as a way to connect with the people she encounters. A photograph of a young patient, published in National Geographic, began a lifelong interest in photography and stories.
Wherever she goes, it is the people that draw Susan’s eye. Portraits, especially facial close-ups, reveal the humanity of each person she captures through photographs. In most of the images, Susan's own reflection is seen in the pupil of the subject-- evidence of her close proximity and connection with the subject. More than capturing the moment, it is the interaction with people that interests Susan most. She has the ability to put her subject at ease, draw out their story, and capture their shared humanity.
In an interview with Susan, she said, "A walk with a camera, for me, is an adventure. The camera forces my eye; it makes me look for detail... as well as the big picture; to look ahead, up, down and behind- oddly, behind is where the shot more often emerges. The camera is my way of communicating. I am drawn to the human face. What inspires me about each face is beyond words. To me, faces are the gateway. I love to talk to people, think about their lives ... what gives their lives meaning. Each picture conjures a moment, an interaction. As I learn to see the light, each face remind me of the light within each of us. I observe, listen, laugh, cry and I believe that we, each, come away from the interaction a bit changed."