Photographer Suzette Bross: On the Fly
By GINNY VAN ALYEA
GV: Tell me a little about your Chicago Artists Coalition BOLT residency.
SB: The 2015-2016 BOLT residency has been a wonderful experience, and I was thrilled to be accepted. The residency is a year-long assignment for 10 artists who work in a variety of mediums. We have monthly meetings and meet different curators from various organizations, which is such a gift. We have a group show and then a final solo show. Recently, Michael Darling, Chief Curator at the MCA, came to visit our studios, which was amazing.
GV: For your residency exhibition this summer you’re showing portraiture, a classic subject, using somewhat outdated equipment. What role does technology play in your work?
SB: I am making portraits without a camera. I use a scanner like an old fashioned box camera. Each image takes at least two minutes and has a section that is hyper sharp and then other sections with a shallow depth of field. The images reference various aspects of the history of and truths in photography and also speak to our close and complicated relationship with technology.
GV: Does your new series continue or depart from themes in previous work?
SB: Both. For over a decade I have been looking at various aspects of our landscape with and through various new technologies – first, digital cameras and printers, and then camera phones – the cameras most of us use. My last body of work, the Walk series, featured landscapes that almost became self portraits. The photographs are comprised of 100 steps in various walks I took over the course of two years. The images are performative and time-based. These issues are also in my current portrait series. The images are not instantaneous; they take about two minutes to complete. Movement occurs while the sitter is scanned. No image can be replicated because of this. The subjects work with me to create their images. They are almost self portraits, but not quite selfies.
GV: How do you fit art into your already very busy life? You truly are one of the busiest people I know.
SB: On the fly and in between!
GV: What will you explore next?
SB: I am really excited to start my next project. It is broadly about homelessness in Chicago, and I have been lucky enough to work with Heartland Alliance and Streetwise.
Suzette Bross is a Chicago-based photographer. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Block Museum; and more.
For the Glass opens June 3, 6-9pm at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N Carpenter (60607). suzettebross.com
Top images from left to right: Suzette Bross, Portrait No. 2, Suzette, Archival Pigment Print, 2015; Portrait No. 1, Teresa, Archival Pigment Print, 2015; Portrait No. 3, Molly, Archival Pigment Print, 2015