Beautiful is the word most often used to describe award-winning photographer Susie Reed’s photos. She sensitively captures the essence of her subjects, taking pictures so vibrant and alive people say they can smell the flowers, her fruit and vegetable photos make their mouths water and her ancient rock art pictures make them feel they're in archeological sites.
Reed has over 30 years experience as a fine art and commercial photographer. Her photographic studies are extensive, thoughtful and insightful. She always creates pictures from an artist’s perspective, regardless of its end use. Her photos are unique, intimate, breathe-taking glimpses of the world. Reed loves photographing many subjects including rock art, Indian dwellings, landscapes, fruits and vegetables, Farner's Markets, vineyards, gardens, flowers and people.
Goldenstein Gallery in West Sedona has been showing Susie Reed’s work since 2009. This acclaimed gallery has been voted the #1 gallery in Sedona for the last six by the readers of Kudos. It is also the recipient of a prestigious Sedona Mayor’s Arts Award.
Susie Reed is a popular writer and speaker and a generous teacher who offers clear guidance to all levels of photographers. She takes people on scenic, photo, rock art and ancient dwellings tours in Sedona and beyond. She teaches photography privately, to groups, schools, camera clubs, online and elsewhere. Among the places she’s taught and spoken are California College of the Arts, the Sedona Arts Center, Sedona Photofest, where she was also head of their photo contest and San Francisco Art Institute, where she earned her degree with honors in photography. She licenses her pictures through Rosenthal Represents and Murals Your Way offers a collection of her photos on custom sized wall murals.
Reed primarily shoots out in the field, on location, capturing subjects as she finds them, rather than setting up shots in a studio. She is best known for her critically acclaimed pictures of Southwest rock art. Her passion for the subject was born in 1995 when she discovered some amazing pictographs and petroglyphs while vacationing in Sedona. She’s been photographing the subject ever since. In 2005 Reed moved to Sedona from the Bay Area following her hearts calling to document, preserve and protect rock art. She does so by sharing her photos, teaching, speaking, writing and advocacy.
Susie Reed has had several rock art calendars with her photos published as well as a Farmer's Market Calendar and Grapes & Vineyards Calendar. All her calendars contained interesting and useful information. Betsey Bruner, the Arts and Entertainment editor for the Arizona Daily Sun, described Reed's Southwest Rock Art Calendar as, “one of the loveliest calendars to grace bookstore shelves in years.” Reed’s calendars have enabled people in many countries to enjoy her stunning images and learn about Southwest rock art’s possible interpretations, spiritual significance and the importance of site preservation, etiquette and respect for natural wonders.
Reed strongly believes archeological sites need protecting. She’s witnessed and heard horror stories of sacred sites being defaced, vandalized and robbed. After years of photographing rock art she also grew to feel that people should see some of the remarkable treasures she was finding. She’s documented solar and lunar markers she believes ancients wanted future generations to see and use and she’s photographed rock art she feels has a timeless quality that still makes it relevant and powerful. Her objectives seemed at odds. How could rock art be seen without leaving archeological sites vulnerable? Then she realized her pictures could provide a way, which they have. Reed masterfully interprets pictographs and petroglyphs with respect and sensitivity, using her keen eye, good instincts and digital technology. She’s been called an archeologist and conservationist for her efforts.
Many of Susie Reed’s photographs of Indian dwellings, rock art and archeological digs are in the Coconino National Forest archives. This came about through her mentor Coconino National Forest archeologist Peter Pilles whom Reed had the good fortune to meet in the late 90’s when they crossed paths entering a Sedona rock art site. Pilles has facilitated her photographing several archeological sites, excavations, field schools and cultural events. He’s collaborated with Reed on her rock art calendars, contributing interpretive and historical information and acting a liaison between her and Native American tribes to ensure the photos she selects are acceptable with them to publish.
The Sedona Arts and Cultural Commission awarded Susie Reed an Artist Project Grant to photograph rock art, work on a book and permanently display some of her rock art photos in Sedona Visitor and Information Centers. Her book will include photos, information and tales of adventures and coincidences Reed has had while photographing rock art. Some of her experiences are as colorful and amazing as her pictures. In some photos pictographs appear to float off the surface. As Betsey Bruner from the Arizona Daily Sun put it they “dance with the lightness of air.” Lori Baker from Sedona Magazine said of Reed she “collaborates with Sedona’s ancient artists from as far back as 12,000 years ago.” Reed’s rock art photos are a marriage of modern and ancient art.
Susie Reed’s fine art has been exhibited in major museums and galleries including the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the De Young Museum, the International Museum of Photography and the Library of Congress. Her commercial clients have included Chronicle Books, the Enchantment Resort, Levis, Macys, Tiffany’s and Xerox. She photographs award ceremonies, events, speakers and people from all walks of life. She has a way of making her subjects feel at ease that enables her to create beautiful, insightful portraits and effective, flattering promotional pictures. Some of Reed’s subjects have been well known. She’s photographed Tony Curtis, Nancy Pelosi, Walter Cronkite, Michael Beckwith, the Grateful Dead, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Young, Jerry Rice and others.
Much of her expertise photographing people and events comes from her being head of the backstage photo crew at the California Music Awards (aka the BAMMIES - Bay Area Music Awards) for nearly twenty years. This popular annual San Francisco black-tie fundraising concert always featured an array of luminaries - musicians, sports legends, actors, comedians and elected officials. Each year Reed orchestrated a group shot with the top celebrities. She received one of their awards for her many years of service.
Susie Reed has been self-employed since shortly after graduating college. She started out doing freelance work while teaching part time. Then, encouraged by clients, she got into designing, manufacturing and distributing gift and stationery products featuring her art. Her merchandise has been sold in department stores, gift and stationery stores, bookstores, hotel, airport and museum shops, catalogs, websites and other retail outlets in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
Reed is one of the original core organizers of Sedona Photofest and has repeatedly been a featured speaker and instructor at this annual event. She was also director of their Red Rock Open Photo Competition and has judged numerous other photo contests. She was a corporate sponsor of the National Association of Women Business Owners and she served on the board of California Lawyers for the Arts for many years. She's a business sponsor of Keep Sedona Beautiful and serves on the Sedona Cultural Collaborative's festival and communications committees. Reed has been nominated twice for a Sedona Mayors Arts award in the Individual Artist category.