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Suzanne Sagmeister: Through the Lens – Leanne Allen

Suzanne Sagmeister: Through the Lens – View the gallery by clicking any image then clicking NEXT or hit “n” to cycle through the pictures. Written article below.

When I was looking for a photographer to do some promo shots for Enter the Ninja Boot, our short action spoof (currently in production) I knew Suzanne Sagmeister was the one.

She had me at her edgy photos. What kept me was her method.

Juxtaposition has always turned me on: rough with polished, quiet with loud, intellectualism with potty humor, satire. The fact that a lot of Suzanne’s work is based around the music industry makes her method even more interesting.

“I have a really different style,” she told me when I asked her if our hair and makeup person could be in the studio with us. “I’m very quiet.” “I really believe that to get into that space, to be yourself, you have to be quiet.”

“I’m really interested in real,” she says…”I have never quite understood conformity. Each of us is an individual and like innocence, authentic individualism has something unconscious about it. Just raw & organic. I love dealing with facts, they are real. I love emotions. They are real. I love living in the moment. That is real. And in my opinion, real rocks.”

We set up the lights; I showed her the 3 costumes I’d brought and within 8 minutes, we were shooting, with what seemed like minimal discussion. “I love that it’s our first shot of the day and you’re almost buck,” she laughed. Professional with laid-back is another pairing I live for. She directs with an intuitive, collaborative hand. “I can tell you’re a type A, and so am I,” she said when we lunched to discuss the shoot. As the model, she really gave me room for my type A to live: she would suggest moves and would pause me mid-movement to emphasize the lines that she thought looked good. She also let me make suggestions. Anyone who thinks modeling is easy by the way, should try it. “Some people tell me they get the Suzanne workout,” she told me, about 20 minutes in when my quads were shaking from holding a pose.

2012 will see Sagmeister branch out into marketing and branding and spend more time in Victoria.

Focusing a lot on the music industry she says, “We’re on the road more than most musicians,” adding, “home is where my heart is and really, that’s on the road with Shane, my son Lawson and our 2 danes.

Currently, her roster includes the Vancouver Island based Calling All Wave – a smokin’ hot rock band that just finished recording their debut album, as well as Versus The Nothing – one of Canada’s most energetic and hardest working touring bands.

With her background as a Director of marketing and sales, it’s not surprising she is broadening her business to include these services. “I love ‘plugging in’ to people that have a hard time articulating what they can do for others, defining those assets for them and then bringing it to visual fruition” she says.

She is the official photographer as well as the marketing & branding team for Las Vegas based Kalsey Kulyk, a brilliant young singer/songwriter with the voice of an angel who is under the mentorship of the legendary Richard Dashut, the producer of Fleetwood Mac. “To be working with someone as great as Dashut and as talented as Kalsey as well as the rest of our team is a dream come true,” says Sagmeister. Kalsey’s new album is scheduled for release on Feb. 01 2012.

She is also in charge of the marketing and branding for an amazing project spearheaded by Tenille – nominated as 2011 CCMA’s Female Artist Of The Year. “The project itself will be launched in 2012 and it gives me goosepimples to think of the kind of change it could affect in peoples’ lives, especially youth. Just 17 herself, Tenille has garnered nationwide attention for not only her music but her incredibly charitable heart.”

“I love photographing musicians,” she tells me, “especially the ones who get the glazed eyes of passion when they are lost in what they love to do. It is often those souls that to me are living as close as possible to truism.”

Sagmeister is nothing if not real. “You know when I start swearing that I really like what we’re doing,” she told me as my legs shook in that one pose. Quiet with intensity, drive without ego… need I say more? Check out her work at SuzanneSagmeister.com.

-Leanne Allen