Having been trained through the Toronto Conservatory of Music in piano has given Suzanne a footing for a full life of following her passion with music. She didn’t find it a stretch to fall in love with the Blues in all its varied styles and voices. It is the music of the people in its most elemental form.
As an accredited staff photographer for MCA Records, Dallas office, Suzanne was given the assignment to cover the Texas International Pop Festival, Labor Day weekend 1969. This was two weeks after Woodstock and several of the acts that played at Woodstock were booked to this event. Being an MCA employee at the time, all the photos she shot during that event belong to MCA.
Being on stage to witness, through her camera lens: Canned Heat, Chicago (then called Chicago Transit Authority), James Cotton, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Grand Funk Railroad, The Incredible String Band, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Freddie King, Led Zeppelin, Herbie Mann, Nazz, Rotary Connection, Sam and Dave, Santana, Shiva's Headband, Sly and the Family Stone, Space Opera, Spirit, Sweetwater, Ten Years After, Tony Joe White and Johnny Winter, was an experience she shall never forget.
Over the past 47 years Suzanne has continued to take photos of musicians, music events, album work, posters, and has championed the cause of live blues music.
Time was spent raising her family but music has always had a prominent place in Suzanne’s life. In fact, for the past 30 years her daughter has been a dynamic part of Atlanta’s Seed & Feed Marching Abominable Band, and her granddaughter, who is a member of Atlanta Young Singers, performed at Carnegie Hall.
Suzanne’s career in music has taken on many hats. At the urging of Mr. George Kaye, who had become her producer and manager, she recorded a 45 rpm in Toronto at age fourteen. It had minor impact on the local radio stations at the time in 1957. The group’s name was, “Four Hits & A Miss”. She continued vocal lessons with Dr. Leslie Bell, who was a choir conductor, educator, writer, arranger, and composer. Dr. Bell’s son was Richard Bell, a musician best known as the pianist for Janis Joplin and her Full Tilt Boogie Band. He was also a keyboardist with the Band during the 1990’s.
For many years Suzanne continued to play piano, as well as sing professionally from time to time. Due to several hand surgeries and bouts of pneumonia her final professional gig was in 2006.
Upon returning to Canada in mid-
Suzanne is principally known as a photographer who has published in the international publications: Blues Matters, Elmore Music magazine, American Blues Scene, Washington Blues Society, Washington Blues Blog, and other Internet music sites. Links below to these go back to 2010 of Grady Champion, to Rick Estrin.
These have ranged from Brandon O. Bailey, Chaz dePaolo, to Bobby Rush, and Buddy Guy. Her photos show many of the blues legends, but also musicians who play at local venues, blues jams, International Blues Challenge competitions, Blues Music Awards, and major blues events and festivals across North America.
For more than ten years Suzanne has been recording, filming, and documenting blues musicians, from the famous to the unknown, record label owners, music executives, and others associated with the genre. The copyright on this endeavor is “The Blues And Nothing But The Blues ©”. Compiling this material is important to her for the future of this form of music and has been funded solely by herself. At this date, after gathering several hundred hours, she continues to interview artists in order to collect their own words and ideas about their music careers and lives. In the future, Suzanne plans to secure funding and grants that will assist in financing this project in order for it to be completed so that the voices and music shared with her will encourage others to follow their own musical journey.
Another way of giving back to the music community, Suzanne has been judging at the International Blues Challenge, held every year in Memphis by The Blues Foundation for the past six years. She finds this an enjoyable event when called upon to judge both bands and solo/duos during the same week. She has also judged IBC competitions for the Washington Blues Society (4x), the White Rock Blues Society (1x), and the Fraser Valley Blues Society (2x). Suzanne finds it important to encourage those competing by giving honest, fair, and instructive information on how performers can improve and tighten their shows for the future.
Attending the yearly Blues Music Awards held by The Blues Foundation is another way of support for the music and musicians. For the past five years Suzanne has written reviews of the awards week, accompanied by her photographs, for the international publication Blues Matters and the Washington Blues Society Blues letter.
Suzanne’s photography has been used for albums, music posters, music promotional material, advertising products, and to accompany articles on blues music. They include: Ronnie VanZant (MCA), Jim Suhler (Underworld Records – und0023), Les Copeland (2010 Don’t Let The Devil In, Earwig), Lesismore, Jimmy D. Lane, Rick Estin, Billy Cowsill, Kenny Neal, Doug MacCloud, Tommy Castro, Lonny Baker Brooks, Tom Poole, Pinetop Perkins, Nick Moss, Magic Slim, Michael Blakemore, Dorothy Moore, Buddy Guy, Amy Brat, Maria Muldar, Eric Steiner, Zora Young, Dave Weld, Bill Boy Arnold, Willie Big Eye Smith, Jimmy Burns, Sugar Blue, Sonny Rhodes, Holger Petersen, James Cotton, Slidin’ Clyde Roulette, Chris James, Johnny Drummer, David Honeyboy Edwards, Patrick Rynn, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny Torando, Smiley Tillman, Bob Corritore, Grady Champion, Hubert Sumlin, Louisiana Red, James Super Chikan Johnson, Lala Craig, Scott Holt, Bobby Rush, Mo’ Better Blues, Ten Years After, Leo Lyons, Andy Powell, Sonny Landreth, Nick Curran, Cedric Burnside, Jason Ricci, Lee Oscar, Andy Cohen, John Nemeth, Roger Earl, Crystal Tucker, Mick Kolassa, Greg Nagy, James Harman, Willie C. Campbell, and many hundreds more. Some of these can be seen on this website. Many others can be found on her Facebook site, under PHOTOS.
Suzanne always says “What more can I say except that music feeds my soul...it is the raison d'etre!) “ Reason To Be indeed. If you see her photos of musicians, either playing their instruments or candid studies, you will understand why she loves what she does. Being in a position to act as a conduit, connecting those in the industry and introducing talent to wider audiences is a pleasure that Suzanne intends to continue for the rest of her life.
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