Susan Keiser


Susan Keiser, Flooded No. 49

Susan Keiser, Flooded No. 49


A River Made of Time and Memory

My photographs describe my world, not the day-to-day of it, but the sun-born visions and night-bound terrors that can’t be seen or understood until pictured. Memories and dreams, desires and fears, revelations and reflections, only come into focus when manifested in tangible images. Reimag[in]ed in photographs, my insights can be ordered, understood, and shared with others. Flooded is a chapter in this on-going project.

I work with a family of four-inch dolls, mass-produced over six decades ago. Once models of conformity, they are now faded and scarred, imbued by years of handling with unique personal histories, memories incarnate. I have multiples of each family member, and all have stories to tell, secrets to expose, emotional truths to tell. Intuitive, improvised, my photographs are created entirely in-camera and in available light. Fresh visions appear, images aggregate into chapters, and the river flows on.


An eerie calm descends when the rains cease, the hurricane blows over, an angry god is appeased. Fast-moving water can float things never meant to ride the waves, and strange, often strangely beautiful scenes appear before us. Odd craft drift by—dinette sets, quilted settees—and we wonder at the sight of someone too lost or too tired to swim.

We usually envision rivers as flat blue ribbons, but they are deep and layered. As the waters recede we become aware of what sank beneath the surface, adding to the river of memories at the bottom.

These are images of the river’s fullness and the heart’s despair. We come from water. We are made of water. And in the end, water not earth will take us.

About Susan Keiser

Susan Keiser had a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, Massachusetts, March 2016. Her photographs have been juried into exhibitions at a wide range of institutions and galleries, including The Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado; Texas Photographic Society; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; Fairfield Museum and History Center, Connecticut; SUNY Cortland, New York; PhotoPlace Gallery, Vermont; PH21 Gallery, Budapest, Hungary; Black Box Gallery, Oregon; Candela Books + Gallery, Virginia; A Smith Gallery, Texas, and The Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany. Her work has been published in numerous publications including Lenscratch, Maintenant, Float Photo Magazine, F-Stop, and Vasa: Journal on Images and Culture.