Thursday, January 20, 2011

Introducing Photographer Susan Etole

© Susan Etole 
Used With Permission

I've been privileged to do a series of features on The High Calling's contributing artists. Tomorrow you'll find at THC's site my interview with Minnesota photographer Susan Etole, who took some time away from the window through which she points her camera daily to talk with me via e-mail.

Content to let her camera speak for her — and it does, to marvelous effect — Susan tends to move quietly through our world. Still, while doing some background research to prepare my questions for Susan, I was intent to uncover, at least a little, the person behind the equipment. Browsing Susan's popular blog, Just a moment . . . , I opened her profile to dig a little deeper. Here's some of what I found:

Maureen Doallas: Susan, among interests you list intriguingly in your profile are dreams. Would you elaborate?

Susan Etole: I believe that God continues to speak through dreams. Learning to interpret those dreams in a scriptural way is of paramount importance in accurately understanding the guidance He is giving us. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy photography so much. It's a way of seeing that carries over into what we consider the supernatural.

© Susan Etole
Used With Permission

MD: You cite among your favorite books "my mother's poetry books from the 1930s". I'm fascinated to know more, particularly because the time referenced was the Great Depression. How does your mother's poetry help you understand your background, where you live, and how you have decided to live your life?

SE: My mother began teaching at a very young age when a college degree was not a requirement. She always taught the elementary grades, so the majority of her poetry books were geared to that age level. She had a collection of poetry books, textbooks regarding the teaching of poetry, and scrapbooks in which she collected poems and sayings that caught her eye — a reminder of how unavailable information was then compared to how extraordinarily available information is now. Her love for the childlike poems she taught her pupils, and could still recite when she was 90, is an example to me of how much joy there is in the simple. . . in nature. . . in wind and swings and shadows. Both she and my father were strong examples of what it meant to live with hardship and persevere and know joy in the persevering. You don't give up just because life gets difficult; whining is not an option.

MD: Do you have a favorite poem of your mother's?

SE: She used to recite one called "October's Bright Blue Weather", which spoke of her love for all things autumn, which is my favorite season. Her eyes would get a twinkle as she would make plans for the new school year and her pupils.

I hope you've enjoyed these brief out-takes from my conversation with Susan. Please join me tomorrow at The High Calling, where Susan talks about what she photographs, and why, and what it has meant to her to bring her work before the public's eye. Look for "She's Got Miksang: Interview With Photographer Susan Etole".

© Susan Etole
Used With Permission


nance marie said...

maureen, your interview is friendly and enlightening as always.

susan has a sharp eye that captures the things that speak to the heart.

TK Richardson said...

This was beautiful - both the pictures and the interview. Her voice reminds me of one of the flowers above - delicate, insightful and graceful.

Graceful said...

Lovely interview, Maureen. I love Susan and her photographs. Thank you for featuring her and her work here.

S. Etole said...

Oh, Maureen, you bless me greatly. Thank you for your gracious words and kind encouragement.

Glynn said...

You've honored one of my favorite online friends. Beautiful, Maureen.

dustus said...

Well conducted interview; personable and informative. The images are lovely. Susan's work is wonderful.

Sam Van Eman said...

Thanks, Maureen and Susan!

L.L. Barkat said...

I like the part about the poetry (are you surprised? :)

Also, this makes me want to hear Susan dig more into her past and share it in words. I feel there must be a world of experience that feeds that "good eye" you speak of at THC.

Thanks for the interview! :)

Sandra Heska King said...

I love Susan. She inspires. She encourages. She blesses. She sees deep. Oh, to see how she sees.

Thank you, for helping us to see her deep.

WhiteStone said...

I'm one who follows Susan's blog (and photos). You've done a lovely interview with her and I'm pleased to learn more about her.

Mary said...

I loved learning a little bit more about Susan. Her photography and words have been a blessing to me.

B. Meandering said...

I'm so thrilled you chose Susan Etole. She is an extraordinary artist and person. Through her photographs and words, she continually ministers to bloggers. She is responsible for me picking up my camera and viewing every day life and nature in a totally different and enlightening way.
Thanks for spotlighting her.

ELK said...

a tender artist .
a special friend .
a simple encouragement .
in the words . in the images.

signed...bkm said...

what a wonderful interview Maureen...thank you for sharing it and all these artists for our education and enjoyment ...bkm