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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.

Architecture Interior

Perfect Fall Trip to Kentuck Knob

Kentuck Knob Side View

I grew up 15 minutes away from Chalk Hill. As a kid my parents took us on short hiking trips up the mountains where the trails were endless and the scenery was beautiful. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I learned more about Frank Lloyd Wright and the beautiful structures he created. My mom swears she took us to Fallingwater, though I don’t recall ever visiting, and I feel like would not have forgotten. As a person who runs a site dedicated to design admiration, I felt I was long overdue for a visit. In an unfortunate turn of events, I went to purchase two tickets to for a tour, and they were sold out for the season. My next best choice was the lesser famous, but still stunning Kentuck Knob, another FLW gem.

View into Kitchen at Kentuck Knob
Photos by Quelcy T. Kogel

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Interior

Warhol Director, Eric Shiner’s Loft

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The center piece of the loft is this amazing painting of Jackie Kennedy by Ain Cocke

The Andy Warhol Museum has intrigued me ever since I moved to Pittsburgh in 1997. One of my first art class requirements was to visit the museum to see the temporary Salvador Dali exhibit. The Warhol has always inspired me to pursue new paths creatively and challenged me to look at art through different lenses.
 
Since I regard the museum so highly, I was extremely honored to have the opportunity to tour the home of Warhol Director, Eric Shiner, whose loft is in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh. As the director, Eric has the enviable role of picking the pieces from the extensive archives and combing the globe for different artists to showcase in temporary exhibits. WIth his name attached to such an esteemed art collection I was curious to see how his role affects his personal art choices.
 
What would Eric Shiner’s personal gallery look like?

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Interior

Carnegie Coffee

PO Box Counter and Coffees


Photography by Quelcy Kogel

Carnegie is a small, quiet town. I felt a bit far from the city but that happens anytime I travel more than 15 minutes from Pittsburgh. On our way to find the coffee shop we took a wrong turn but once we arrived, I felt at ease.

Carnegie Coffee Company is located in what used to be the Carnegie Post Office. Instead of tearing everything away, I love how the owners decided to keep the post office fixtures, the old door and the mailboxes. Working within the confines of the historic space, the coffee shop has a bright, airy and modern feel.
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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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Interior

Lisa + Jeff’s Penn Ave. Home

5013 Penn Ave 30


Photography by Jenny Karlsson


I have visited Lisa and Jeff’s home a few times and it’s one of my favorite spaces. I love how eclectic it is and whenever something catches my eye, there’s usually a great story behind it. I asked Lisa to tell us a little bit about their space:

“We live in an early 20th century shoe store/book store/general store converted into an open-plan living/studio space. We are collectors, and most of our finds from flea markets, our travels, and even the trash inspire much of our work. What we love most about our unconventional home is its challenges: it’s not a typical space, so we are always coming up with creative ways to decorate and utilize space, as well as strengthen communication with each other while living in close quarters. We love how the space has evolved into a larger art piece, representing who we are as artists, as well as a couple.”

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Interior

Andy Warhol Museum’s First Floor Renovations

The Andy Warhol Museum just finished a beautiful renovation of their first floor that is more welcoming to visitors to just hang out. There is two new windows, all new furniture, 20 new monitors that displays footage including visitor’s screen tests, an actual reproduction of the couch from Warhol’s Silver Factory, a new enlargement of William John Kennedy’s Homage to Warhol’s Marilyn and increased retail space for The Warhol Store.

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Interior

Alissa + Jeb’s Home


Photography is by Kristy Lumsden (new site coming soon!)
 

I was so excited when we were finally able to set a time up to visit Alissa and Jeb’s lovely home in Lawrenceville. Their home is in the 48th street rowhouse I posted a few weeks ago. The architecture and interior help was by moss architects and Botero Development is responsible for all the hard work that was put into the rowhouse to make it beautiful and livable.

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Architecture Interior

E2’s Renovation

A few weeks ago, Chef and owner of E2, Kate Romane let Kristy and I check out their newly renovated event room that’s located downstairs. Everything looks completely different than before. It has a beautiful antique back bar, reclaimed wood used on the wall, the front of the bar and ceiling. I was really blown away and impressed with all the changes.
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