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You believe in your story. I surrender to it. Capture it. And hand it back to you in a way you can remember forever.

You're about to embark on the most wonderful of adventures. Because you're here that tells me you value epic, mind-blowing photography. Well done!

I'm fortunate, and sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about how much I love what I do. I illustrate every story you trust me with.

Incredible photographs result from a trusted relationship between us. This comes from a friendship, and from time invested in getting to know you, and why you have chosen the different elements that will make up your wedding day. Think of me as a visual biographer of sorts, a narrator, telling your story through the images of your day.

I want you to be blown away by how beautiful you really are, by how beautiful I see you to be.

Lets get started!

+ you are beautiful

Holiday Traditions::Susanna Tanner Photography

by December 24th, 2011 No Comments »

It’s not my house. I can’t claim all the hours it must have taken to assemble everything. But it is part of my family holiday tradition. When the girls were little we would drive by it whenever possible, even if that meant six different times a day. Now, they’re older. Not as easily impressed. But we still drive by whenever we can. I’ve driven out of my way, by myself, at least eight times this season so far–clinging to our childhood tradition.

Everyone celebrates in such unique ways–baking bread, making a particular cookie, going to church, eating specific foods on Christmas eve…What’s part of your tradition?

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for making 2011 a success!

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The Workshop

by December 7th, 2011 No Comments »

It was a place of solitude, creativity, escape, and yet togetherness. Quiet togetherness. Thoughts spoken, a question asked, then silence. The kind of silence that isn’t uncomfortable.

There was usually a pencil lodged behind his ear, quick access for writing down measurements or sketching. Sometimes he forgot the pencil was there until later either my mother or I reminded him.

Some days my ears would ring with the rip of the band saw going across wood. Sawdust would dance in the air until it landed on his glasses, his hair, or maybe even my hair. The smell of fresh cut wood permeated the air. He would walk back to his workbench and put down the piece of wood he had just cut. I would stared at it, wondering how it would fit in with the other pieces he had cut before. He could see the big picture. I could only see out of the eyes of a child.

I don’t recall our workshop conversations. Maybe he would if asked in an earlier time. What I remember is more of a feeling. Contentment, peace, safety. I would pull open the drawers of the workbench to find the familiar can of odds and ends nails, open the cabinets above the workbench to see a series of various size screwdrivers lining the inside door. I had seen it all a million times and yet each time I opened a door a new discovery was made. The workbench had a built-in vise I would crazily spin in one direction or the other. Most of the time, he never told me to stop.

He created in that space. Circus trains with elaborate wooden animals, a rocking chair, bedroom furniture, a table lamp that still sits beside my mother’s chair. Shortly after the diagnosis, he was able to create more small wooden animals and birdhouses with his granddaughters. And as the disease progressed, the space became his refuge. I suppose it was a place that helped him remember who he was and what he loved. The cabinet doors above the workbench were covered with memories. Photos of old army days, gatherings with friends and family, fishing trips, old school pictures of me, memorabilia from Germany, a note I wrote to him in first grade begging him to not go on a fishing trip. It was written on a pink piece of paper I found. I didn’t have the nerve to ask him not to go, so I left the note out for him to find. Later, it re-appeared as part of the cabinet door collage.

The walls of the workshop mirrored his cabinet door decorator sensibilities. A stuffed trout from a fishing trip with large looming eyes always watching. A stuffed squirrel from Germany mounted on a thick branch. This breed of squirrel had pointy sharp teeth that I imagined biting my finger each time I reached up to pet it. Photos, quotes, beer coasters from the homeland, and old tools lined the walls; but what I remember most was the large cardboard cut out photo of a little German man dressed in Lederhosen. This man, whom I’ve never met, is strangely a part of my childhood.

Recently, the workshop has become quiet. Another sign the disease has taken more of him away. Earlier, the cabinet door collage was changed and rearranged as he struggled to keep himself busy. It was a time when measurements and tools started to confuse him. Now, I haven’t heard the rip of wood being touched by the blade in years. Dust has gathered on the handles of the tools. The doors to his utopian space are now closed more than open. He doesn’t remember making the circus trains anymore. He doesn’t remember crafting the child size rocking chair that held two generations of children. Now, I’m left to remember for him.

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The Family Documentalist

by November 25th, 2010 No Comments »

It affected me more than I expected. Mothers and daughters expressing themselves so freely in front of me. A photographers dream, of course, but also a mother’s dream. To have a photo, a moment captured, of just you and your children. No one else. It’s rare.

Mothers are wonderful at documenting the life of their families. They’re the first ones to pick up the camera or video recorder to forever keep the momentous occasions. First steps across the room. Birthday parties in full force. Faces aglow on Christmas morning amidst discarded wrapping paper. But what about evidence that mom was there, present in the moments of her family? That she existed, and what she looked like. Years from now looking back and discovering the true color of her hair. Or one day finding that photo so full of love between and mom and daughter that it repairs a relationship tear that occurred over teenage strife or something else that now seems silly.

When Girls Inc. contacted me to see if I would be interested in capturing portraits of the women attending their Mother Daughter event I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Every mom should have an image with their children. Just them. No one else. And so should their daughters.

Mothers and daughters share this odd sense of space. Many mothers completely give up their personal space. Most of the time it’s okay. Some days it can be overwhelming.

And then again, there can be a sense of separation. That small amount of space that says, “We’re still connected but we are our own people, and I will be back”.

There is a complete safety when enveloped in the arms of your mother. Your back is covered (literally and figuratively), it’s warm, and there is always, ALWAYS a place to lay your head.

The beginning of the push-pull of growing up. “Pleasseee don’t kiss me in front of other people” and in the same breath asking for you to come tuck them into bed. It’s bittersweet.

Every pair (or trio)  has their own dynamic, own way of interacting and showing love.

And even through difficult times of discipline, it’s important to remember that MOM IS FUN!

Thanks to ALL the moms and daughters who so generously revealed themselves and their relationships with the camera. You rock!

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Santa Fe Memories

by March 15th, 2010 No Comments »

I’ve been acclimating back to real life after spending an awesome, intense, powerful week at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Thinking back on the week, several things come to mind…

  • Contrary to belief, it does snow in Santa Fe. (Wish I would’ve taken my boots!)
  • Photographers are a peculiar sort. That being said, being surrounded by others who have been just as bitten by the shutter bug was not only confirming, but felt like home.
  • The people of Santa Fe are some of the kindest I’ve met.
  • Workshops offer a plethora of reading materials, magazines, etc… The temptation is to pick up every one of them in hopes of gleaming something useful. But let’s be realistic, once home these dazzling publications don’t get read. Avoid picking up everything presented to you. It results in airport luggage overcharges! (Trust me on this one).
  • Workshops are like summer camp. You spend an immense amount of time with people who start off as strangers then begin to feel like family by the end of the week. I found this out through my classmates who came from Colorado, North Dakota, North Carolina, Wyoming, Washington, Kansas City, and a couple of Santa Fe transplants.
  • Photography is ageless. It’s is a passion that can be successfully practiced all through life. I have my classmate Bob, or grandpa Bob as a classmate adoringly referred to him as, to thank for reminding me that a creative soul and an artful eye exists at any age.
  • I can survive without a television for an entire week. It was actually nice.
  • Seeing light, composition, and form is way more important than the ability to use the gear (although that comes in handy as well).
  • Airline travel ain’t what it used to be… I had my hands swabbed for the first time for explosive residue.
  • Don’t assume the French pastry chef can speak fluent English. His kindness didn’t need translation, but it sure would have been great to talk with him more. Maybe I need to refresh my 9th grade French?
  • David Robin is not only a great photographer, but a fantastic instructor as well. Not all photographers make good teachers, but this guy rocks.
  • I have the Indiana Arts Commission-Individual Artist Grant  to thank for this wonderful experience.

More to come…

Our first assigment: to compose, set up and light a self portrait. (classmate pushed the shutter)

Our first assigment: to compose, set up and light a self portrait. (classmate pushed the shutter)

Final assignment_the editorial portrait. My friend Paul Perrier of Cafe Paris: owner, master chef, master pastry maker (that may not be the official name...)

Final assignment_the editorial portrait. My friend Paul Perrier of Cafe Paris: owner, master chef, master pastry maker (that may not be the official name...)

Paul and his apprentice at Cafe Paris in Santa Fe. If you're in the area and like French food then you must make time to drop in on them.

Paul and his apprentice at Cafe Paris in Santa Fe. If you're in the area and like French food then you must make time to drop in on them.

Snow falling over the moutains as I head from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

Snow falling over the moutains as I head from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

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Putting things into perspective…

by March 10th, 2009 No Comments »

Terri Stone, Editor in Chief of CreativePro.com, came out with a thought we could all use reminding of…

It’s hard not to feel down when every possible medium is hammering us with bad economic news. But last week, the radio show “Here and Now” ran a story that, for me at least, puts our current plight in perspective.

The news piece was about the work of Dorothea Lange, an American photographer who lived from May 26, 1895, to October 11, 1965.

Lange originally made her living shooting portraits of wealthy people, but when she saw how the Great Depression was devastating the United States, she took her camera to the street and was hired to document migrant workers’ life under FDR’s New Deal.

Yes, the stock market is hitting new lows every day, and many people are losing their jobs and their homes. And there’s no doubt that some — including those who work the very fields Lange photographed decades ago — live in dire poverty. Yet most of us today are nowhere near the stark destitution Lange chronicled. Hold onto that thought when the next negative headline hits you.

To listen to the inspirational radio piece and see several of Lange’s photos, go to the “Here and Now” Web site. For a full-blown exploration of her images, check out the Library of Congress archive.


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Art Competition Excitement

by November 22nd, 2008 1 Comment »

A quick update on what’s been happening lately. The fall offers several art competition opportunities in the local area. I’ve always viewed entering these competitions as a way to nurture my creative side as well as gain feedback on my work from a juror distinguished in the field of art.

A successful venture to say the least, I was lucky enough to earn the distinction of “top five” in the Whitewater Valley Annual Art Competition. The juror this year was James Yood, from the Art Institute in Chicago and the director of New Arts Journalism program. What thrilled me the most though was the fact that he writes regularly for the well known photography publication, “Aperture”, which makes his kudos all the more meaningful and exciting for me. The photograph I entered is titled, “Going Green” and is available as a giclee print.

Going Green

Going Green

I also entered two images in the Richmond Art Museum Annual Juried Exhibition Competition this year. Although I didn’t receive any sort of distinction, I consider it an honor to be chosen to participate in the exhibition. (You may recognize one of the images from an earlier post!)

Both shows are still hanging until mid December. If you’re out an about, I urge you to stop by IU East and Richmond Art Museum to see some great art. Both shows are beautifully hung and offer a mix of mediums to view and appreciate.

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Shelly and Chad: Married

by July 28th, 2008 1 Comment »

I know I’ve been bad about getting some new images up lately. The truth is I’ve been working with so many great couples lately that there hasn’t been time to make new posts! The summer has been full of engagement shoots and weddings and to be honest I feel lucky to meet so many interesting people that are willing to try pretty much anything for a great shot.

One event I want to make sure you get a glimpse of is Shelly and Chad’s wedding. You might recognize them from viewing their images in the engagement section of my Web site. The day started out bleak and torrentially rainy. As I drove to Indy, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the weather to clear but shortly before entering the city the sun appeared.

Shelly and Chad got married at the Yellow Rose Inn (http://www.yellowroseinn.com). This Georgian Revival Colonial was a _b e a u t i f u l_ place to tie the knot. Ryan Shui, and Indy based wedding coordinator, was fabulous at making the day run very smoothly. For any of you out there looking for help in planning your wedding, I recommend Ryan (www.sweetbeginningsweddings.com). She’s great.

Having access to the main house, carriage house and garden area, I was able to capture some wonderful moments between the couple and their family and friends. So, enjoy and if you want to see more, visit my Web site wedding gallery.

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An Unclaimed Jewel

by April 12th, 2008 No Comments »


People unexplainably seem to come into our lives just about the time we need something. Perhaps they have a message we need to hear or they offer the gift of friendship when we need it the most.

For me, that person is Jenny. I think she is truly amazing. I first noticed her at the pool. As I started to shove off the wall for my usual lap swim, I watched an elderly lady donning her swim cap and goggles. Was she really going to lap swim? After all, most of the women her age did water aerobics together. But sure enough, she pushed off the wall and I watched her begin the start of her freestyle workout. Over a period of time we began saying hello and then moved on to simple conversation. It wasn’t hard. Jenny loves to talk. And the more she talked, the more I found her fascinating.

Jenny was born in 1922, the third born out of four children. She used to swim in a creek as a child but never learned true swimming until 1968. Yep, that made her 46 at the time. She had bought a Y membership for her sister and four nieces feeling that it was important for the girls to learn how to swim. But it never was put to use and Jenny decided to learn for herself if her sister’s family wasn’t going to use it. You see, Jenny hates waste. The lessons evolved into being a lifeguard and then on to teaching people with disabilities how to swim. And about that time, Jenny decided to enroll in college. Always being one to set goals, she decided she wanted to become a teacher. She worked her way through Earlham and after graduation worked passionately as a teacher for 22 years.

Noticing her love for children I asked her if she had any of her own. “Oh no honey,” she said. And with a devilish little smile she went on, “I call myself an unclaimed jewel”! Choosing never to marry, Jenny’s classroom children became her own each year. Her freedom allowed her to travel worldwide (Europe, the Middle East, and throughout the states) lending to dozens of stories that roll off her tongue when you ask. “Did I tell you about when I drove a Model T with my father to the World’s Fair in Chicago”, she states, inviting me further into conversation.

Jenny swims 1/4 mile everyday. That’s 32 laps. And each lap takes her 1 minute and ten seconds. I was nosey and timed her. Not bad for someone four years away from being 90. She attributes her good health to daily exercise. “Energy begets energy”, she says with a gleam in her eyes.

As we’re talking I see her look over my head. She immediately calls out hello to a fellow lap swimmer, throwing up her hand high in the air to wave at him. She is strong. She is, well….feisty. In a good sort of way. In a way that must be part of the reason why she can still live on her own; do all her gardening; swim every day; and make two cheesecakes and mop the kitchen floor before our photo shoot.


So, what’s the message Jenny brought to me? The message is that life is what you make of it. If you missed an opportunity once, go back and try it again, because it’s never to late to learn something new. In a culture where youth is glamorized us forty-something people start to feel like if we haven’t accomplished our dreams by now, it’s not going to happen. But I’ve witnessed first hand this isn’t true. And I realize that I have all the time in the world to still continue striving to reach my goals.

Guess what? Jenny learned how to do a flip turn the other day. She always wanted to learn, so Earlham staff and fellow swimmers coached her along in her new endeavor. And by the end of her morning she had it down.

Now _this_ is the stuff of life.




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Main Street Diner

by October 1st, 2007 2 Comments »


As steam swirled above a coffee cup on the counter, the Main Street Diner serves breakfast like always for the past 18 years. Remnants from the past feel like Mayberry. A retro clock on the wall reflects the analog time, as well as a place in time where life was simple and slow. You’ll find the owner, Mark, balancing between cooking eggs for his customers and talking with them as they eat. You can tell, these people don’t just come for good tasting food; they come to be surrounded momentarily in nostalgia, friendliness and easy conversation.

There’s a finely choreographed dance going on in the kitchen. Space is tight. Mark prefers it that way. He and Katie move back and forth at the griddle. One of them breaks the eggs, while the other flips sausage. You can tell this dance has been practiced many mornings in a row. Mark states proudly that anyone can get breakfast at any time at his diner. “It’s not like McDonalds,” he says.

While Katie prefers not to have her picture taken, it’s evident she’s a vital force behind making sure breakfast is on the plates. I think to myself that her image must be made. She’s a quiet lady. I get the sense that she’s studying me, pondering why I would find her role in the diner so fascinating. Deeply immersed in her tasks, she barely looks up as she moves rhythmically from a stack of plates to the toaster and then to the griddle.

Shirley has her own quiet nook carved out of a busy diner. Perfect for washing the dishes. The walls are white and bare, making the red dish drainer stand out even more. She moves in a methodical way with the plate. From the wash bin, into the rinsing bin, then to the drainer, until all the dishes are clean. If she minds me being there, she doesn’t say.

It occurs to me that the diner functions on each worker knowing his or her part of the dance. And knowing that part brings a sense of comfort that is passed on to the customers.









(For more photos of the diner, go to my web site under Current Projects. Image #1 in this gallery was one of the top ten images selected in the ’06 Whitewater Valley Annual Art Competition.)

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  • Creative, thoughtful, and professional—I could not be happier with my experience working with Susanna as she captured such a wonderful day for my husband Jon and me.Susanna was a great combo of professional and creative, ...Read More
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  • I have known Susanna for about four years and when my husband and I first got engaged I knew she was the one that I wanted to capture our day. I was was so happy ...Read More
  • Susanna is an amazing photographer that started out with taking our engagement photos, ultimately becoming a photographer we call “ours.” I recommend her to everyone I know because I know she will deliver the exceptional ...Read More
  • Planning our big day was absolutely stressful. Trying to decide a photographer was difficult because of how many options are out there. I found Susanna online and from the moment we met her until the ...Read More
  • We randomly came across Susanna on theKnot.com about a year ago when we started planning. I gave her a call and things just clicked. She had such great visions of shots for our wedding and ...Read More
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