If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all corners of the globe as well as the people behind some of the best stock photo and illustration collections in the world.
Next up is Susan Findlay: A Toronto-based photographer, Susan Findlay is also a wedding and event stylist, antique enthusiast, flower aficionado and lover of pretty things. She styles all her floral arrangements personally. Featuring both garden vignettes and backyard tea parties, her images are positively dripping with flowers. From simple and elegant to rustic and sublime, her choice of colour palettes and clever use of eclectic vintage pieces make her photos truly stunning. In addition to her personal antique collection, bolstered by annual trips to France, she also sells antiques at local markets in Ontario and rents out her vast collection as props for events and photo shoots. With her love of weddings, flowers and antiques, it’s no surprise that her Pinterest boards are a wonderful visual inspiration and a massive rabbit hole. (You’ve been warned!) You'll see her images featured throughout the interview below, but we've also hand-selected some our favorites to feature in the gallery.
How did you get started in photography?
I always had an interest in photography from a young age. Loved my polaroid camera in grade school also, lining the hallway of my family cottage are dozens of old black and white family portraits which always intrigued me growing up. After taking a few darkroom courses in my early 20’s I was hooked and set off for Montreal to study Commercial Photography at Dawson College.
Who or what inspires your work?
I absolutely love the ethereal quality of Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon and I have a huge admiration for Sally Mann and the innocent way she captured her children and nature. Finding the best natural light to capture images is a passion of mine.
What's your favorite subject matter?
My beautiful nieces and vineyards.
Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?
Romantic. Rich colours, beautiful lighting and a romantic softness.
What is the longest time you have waited for the “perfect shot”?
I spent one month living in Tuscany at a vineyard going out daily at different times to search for the best light. A dream come true! I am very happy with my body of work from that period.
What camera do you use?
I am very basic in my approach to photography: it’s just mainly me, my vision and my Canon 5D. Food photography and floral close ups just aren’t the same without my macro 100mm 2.8 lens.
When you are travelling, what gear do you take?
I pack lightly. My Canon 5D and three lenses, a super light Induro tripod and my trusty cable release.
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
A vineyard anywhere: California, South America, Italy.
What is the most bizarre job you have done?
I worked clearing olive tree bases (avoiding vipers when possible) in sweltering summer heat in Tuscany so that I had access to live and shoot in an Etruscan Castle.
Do you have a favorite season to shoot in?
Definitely Summer! I love the hazy light.
What are your “go to” props?
Flowers, vintage dishes, and pretty much anything with a great weathered patina and story.
What personal projects are you working on?
I am anxious to escape and travel again to France where I enjoy hunting for antiques / props and shooting beautiful vignettes. It’s a fun annual escape.
Do you work alone or with a team?
I always work alone unless I am in France with my best friend, who is an art director. We work well together and I always appreciate her creative point of view.
Where do you find your models?
Being a stock photographer, I like to use real people that I know or meet in my travels.
What is the craziest thing you have done to get a photograph?
Joined WWOOF in Italy: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
If you were not a photographer, what would you do?
I can’t image not being a photographer but if that were the case I would love to be a cowgirl and own a ranch in Argentina.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
Taxbot. It helps to keep your receipts organized on the go.
Favorite TV show?
Anything British really. Like Masterpiece Theatre — I always watched it with my Mom and Dad growing up.
What are you reading now or what is your favorite book?
I'm currently reading The Victorian House by Judith Flanders. It's all about how Victorians organized their lives, room by room.
The English Patient
Favorite Musician or band?
Jack Johnson. His music makes me happy!
Favorite fine artist?
Caravaggio – I could stand for hours in front of his paintings.
A mantra or saying you live by?
If you want something you’ve never had, do something you’ve never done.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I am also a stylist/antique dealer and have always wanted to collaborate on a book/project: flowers, food, cooking, gardening, travel, dogs. Aspiring writers feel free to contact me with a proposal!