“There is a belief in many cultures that the camera is capable of stealing the human soul or spirit. Suzanne Paul’s camera may not steal the soul, but it certainly captures it and the spirit within.” – Clint Willour, Director of the Galveston Arts Center
The late Suzanne de Young Paul (b. 1945 – d. 2005), a pioneer female photographer in Houston [also my former sister-in-law], was best known for her intuitive portraits of the art world. Being the first female photographer to have a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and many other prestigious exhibitions including The Fort Worth Art Museum, Galveston Arts Center, private galleries and museums, Paul became known for her portraits of such well known artists as Julian Schnabel, Mel Chin, Andy Warhol and playwright Edward Albee. In addition she photographed Houston curators and patrons such as Walter Hopps, Anne Wilkes Tucker, Jim Harithas, Alison De Lima Greene, Alfred Glassell and Edward Mayo. Several of her photographs are in the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Paul began photographing at the age of nine with a Kodak Brownie camera given to her by her father, also a photographer. Early on she saw an Irving Penn photograph which sparked her interest in photography. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Houston and graduate work at the University of California at Berkley, but considered herself to be a self-taught photographer since photography classes were not available at that time. She photographed with a 1957 Rolleiflex twin lens camera, as well as working with a Holga camera with a plastic lens. She began shooting with 35mm but eventually felt the need to move to the larger 2 1/4 medium format negative and continued to do all her own printing.
The late Walter Hopps [legendary founding Director of the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas] stated, “Suzanne Paul should be recognized as one of the finest photographers to come out of Houston. Her essential medium is black and white photography, and her most important subject matter is portraiture. Not all photographers are skilled printers of their work. Paul is a superb printer achieving areas of deep black in line with her instinct for the chiaroscuro lighting of the subject. Having been the subject of one of Paul’s portraits, I have experienced the directness and honesty of her work. She has caught an unidealized view of who I am.”
Paul exhibited extensively before her passing in March of 2005. FotoFest began its 2001-2002 programs with Being Human, an exhibition featuring over 60 of her black and white portraits taken over a period of more than forty years, curated by Clint Willour, Director of the Galveston Arts Center.
This year, FotoFest and the Deborah Colton Gallery present an exhibition of portraits by Suzanne Paul “A Moment in Houston” that include twelve gelatin silver prints. “Suzanne Paul left us with a compelling visual documentation of our City’s art history and in doing so, of humanity itself.” – Deborah Colton, Houston
FotoFest 2012 Exhibitions / Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston
Suzanne Paul: A Moment in Houston to April 28, 2012
Also showing: Focus on Russia I, Olga Tobreluts; Focus on Russia II, Oleg Dou; Jonas Mekas, Contemporary Photographers from China; and Jay Rusovich to April 28, 2012
ExhibitionHouston : Suzanne Paul, PROOF
EventHouston : Suzanne Paul, PROOF
During Houston’s FotoFest 2016 Biennial, the Deborah Colton Gallery exhibition, PROOF, features the work from the archive of Houston-born photographer, Suzanne Paul. PROOF highlights influential player’s in Houston’s art history and examines Suzanne’s unique approach to c...