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Interview + Studio Tour with Suzuran Photography

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The second you step into Cleveland-based photographer Suzanne Price’s studio, you get an overwhelming feeling of wonder, and you just know that this is where the magic is made. Suzuran, a name that refers to the Japanese term for Lily of the Valley, (and also sounds like an amalgamation of Suzanne + Dan, the two lovebirds that run the joint) is not only a photography studio, its an experience.

The breadth of her work increases by the minute, and I can’t help but admire Suzanne’s signature style throughout each genre. Whether she’s exploring another country, documenting a road trip, shooting a fashion pictorial, or collaborating with her husband on a wedding, her photos feel ethereal and soft, but at the same time, incredibly poignant. You can’t help but wonder about the secrets and surprises each subject is holding. Every photo is like a scene in a very good dream that you feel like you need to know the meaning of immediately.

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Suzanne took this horse portrait during her travels in Iceland

Describe the path you took to get to what you’re doing now: Well, I have a BFA in photography and after graduating I really wanted to start my own photography business, but I didn’t yet have the confidence. So I went to back to school and earned a degree in Art Education. I was really passionate about it, and moved to Japan to teach Art and English to preschool, an experience that completely changed my life. It was in Japan that I truly developed my photographic voice and honed my craft. I moved back to Cleveland from Japan just as the market was crashing, and it was really tough to find a teaching job, let alone any other job, so I decided to embrace my destiny and start making photos full time.

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Photos taken by Suzanne Price

How would you describe your aesthetic? It’s emotive, moody, narrative, and empathetic, if that makes sense!

Which photographers and artists inspire you?  While I respect the work of many photographers who primarily shoot weddings, I don’t draw much inspiration from wedding photography itself. I love film – especially the catalog of Francois Truffaut, The Sprit of the Beehive by Victor Erice, and anime film Pricess Kaguya by Isao Takahata.

Do you aspire to create work on a level of a particular artist, or do you have other personal goals that you base the arc of your work on? I try as much as possible to photograph moments that can be imagined as film stills; you can daydream about what may have happened before and after. Photographer wise, I love the work of Shomei Tomatsu, Deborah Turbeville, and many, many more.

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What’s the most challenging thing about owning your own business?  The most challenging aspect of owning my own business is the BUSINESS end of things! Taxes, accounting, tons of email, etc. I’m a pretty right brained person, and rigid mathy tasks don’t come naturally to me. I don’t have many regrets in life, but it would have been nice to at least minor in business. I think that understanding that framework can give you a leg up if you are a creative. I asked for a lot of advice and in a few cases reinvented the wheel.

What’s the most rewarding thing? The most rewarding thing is interacting with a huge variety of humans and bringing them joy! I’m naturally introverted and can be PAINFULLY shy in groups. My camera has always been a safety net/buffer in social situations; it helps me to interact on a level that wouldn’t normally be possible. I’m incredibly thankful for that.

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Coral and volcanic rocks from travels. She uses them as a meditation.

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Painting by Douglas Max Utter

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Blue wicker chair from Heck’s Revival

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There are so many choices when it comes to wedding photographers, why do you think people are drawn to Suzuran? I think it’s because we’re a kind pair who aren’t afraid to be a little quirky in our creativity. We aren’t afraid of a little imperfection – in fact, a little blur here and a silly face there in perfect spontaneity can often tell a story much better than a staged, stiff portrait. We really value natural moments and strive to help our clients stay present. There is so much beauty in that honesty.

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Viewmaster was a gift from a wedding client – contains her fave photos 

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Suzanne also weaves, draws, and paints. Many of the items in her studio are her own works of art.

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I want to thank Suzanne for this interview and her brilliant work. I recommend following her on Instagram– it’s one of my favorite feeds.

Cleveland Furniture

Moderncre8ve

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All photos are from Moderncre8ve

Last summer while I was walking around the Cleveland Flea, Moderncre8ve’s stand caught my eye. Impressed with their furniture, I stopped by three times to take peek and grabbed a card.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the shop is run by owner Robert William and co-owner Chad Brockett. Their pieces are handmade, modern and have an interesting style to them. The wood and metal are sourced locally. You can tell they pay attention to details and put a lot of love into every thing they create. As a minimalist and a designer, I really appreciate how they photograph and style their work. Take a look for yourself:

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desk lamp pin.legs pink shop shop.table sides stamp table tables tops wood

If you’re interested in learning more about this shop, there’s an feature on Etsy.

Furniture Interior

Day Shift Furniture

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I was first introduced to Day Shift’s work from a trunk show that was put together at Townhouse last year and the pieces blew me away! This studio is run by Justin Lacey and Miriam Devlin and is based in Pittsburgh. I could just call them a furniture manufacturer but they take it to another level by offering design and interior services. I’m seriously in love with the work they do. Their pieces are handcrafted, simple, modern, sustainable and they pay attention to detail.
 
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Furniture

Cenzo Design

Cenzo Design has been on a roll. They keep churning out all these beautiful pieces. To me their work is a nice mix of modern and rustic and they do a nice job of playing off of both styles. If you don’t follow their blog, you are missing out! I couldn’t help but to post some of their recent work, take a look:

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Furniture

DIY Shelving Unit


Photos courtesy of CB2
 
While living in a loft apartment, space wasn’t much of an issue for us but moving into a smaller place we had to downsize our furniture and possessions. We previously had a very large book shelf but in our new apartment, it was way too big. We searched around online and took a trip to IKEA but nothing really fit what we were looking for. Finally, I came across this beauty on CB2 for the low price tag of $500 which includes a few white white boards and some hardware. What a steal!
 
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Furniture

Rustbelt Rebirth

You can tell that Doug Meyer of Rustbelt Rebirth really embraces Ohio’s strong industrial past. Just like Pittsburgh, parts of Ohio use to be booming with manufacturing facilities and steel mills. I just found him today when I got my daily email from Fab.com! I love that he creates all his furniture from found objects and used materials. Even though they look rustic, they all take on modern shapes.
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Furniture

Marcus Studio


All photos courtesy of Marcus Studio
 
I was browsing around on Marcus Studio’s site and a few pieces caught my eye. This sideboard on their landing page looks amazing with the walnut slab. On most of the pieces there tends to be a mix of modern and asian influence. I particularly love how they use different types of woods in most of their furniture with the grain prominently showing.
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Exhibit Furniture

Brian Ferrell: Your New Aesthetic

Brian Ferrell’s work instantly caught my eye when Society for Contemporary Craft posted a link online. I love the mix of wood, metal and wire throughout all of his pieces. Brian will have a show at the SCC’s satellite gallery on 500 Grant Street in the lobby of the Steel Plaza T-Station at BNY Mellon Center in downtown Pittsburgh, October 14th.
 
Brian returned in 2006 and has opened his own studio – Brian Ferrell Designs. He has exhibited work on a national level and was published in “500 Tables” by Lark Books. Here are a few of pieces:

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