First off, I think it’s high-time again to remind everyone that SusanCoffey.net is NOT Susan’s official website. It’s just a fan site that I’ve created. I love it when you send emails to me, but they never reach Susan. She will never read anything you send to me through the email form on the site.
One more thing. There are a plethora of non-Susan human beings (or maybe aliens) who are pretending to be her on the Internet. This Facebook page, for example, is NOT Susan. The only official Susan Coffey sites that you need concern yourself with will always be listed over there on the right of this page, under Susan Links. Accept no substitutes.
Reviews on this photo have been mixed, so I’m going to use it to ask a few questions that I’ll attempt to answer for myself. Because I like to talk to myself. After all, I’m the only one who listens anyway.
I’ve often wondered why sometimes photographers only release a single image from an entire shoot. Since Susan was involved, we can safely say that it isn’t because there weren’t any other good photos. My only guess is that the photographer was going for a very specific image. Most photographers (experienced ones anyway) don’t just have the model show up and then start clicking away to see what happens. They have a vision in their brain of what they want to capture. This image from Sad Penguin (hot name, by the way) is probably very close to what he was envisioning.
So let’s acknowledge the obvious:
- This isn’t the most relaxed of poses.
- Those are not her real eyelashes. Unless she has mutated.
- She is not wearing lingerie. Or if she is, we can’t see it.
Now I know that for many of us, these three elements fly in the face of what we hold dear about our favorite Susan photos. But how about if we look past that and try to imagine a deeper meaning? Like for example, my take on it is that this is a representation of minimalism in an age of metaphysical superfluousness and how that reflects on animal rights, specifically the wearing of penguin feathers. Because that makes for a sad penguin.
Yeah, that’s total bullshit. Let’s not go overboard. Instead, just notice how pristine this image is. It’s been excessively retouched. All distinguishing marks on her skin are gone so that we can focus entirely on the light and shadows and gradual gradation of blush on her cheek. Her hair is minimized by being pulled back and shaped exactly over the shape of her head. The lipstick is pale. So many of her features are toned down. Except one. Can you guess which one? What’s the darkest, most eyecatching part of this photo? Her nostril! I kid, I kid. The feathery eyelashes are unconventional, but they serve to center you directly on her eyes. And her eyes are telling us something. Just as all eyes tell you something when you look into them. Oftentimes they’re a reflection of our own internal dialog. What are Susan’s eyes telling YOU?
And as a little something extra, that earring she’s sporting looks an awful lot like the feathers and serves to balance out the composition, forcing us to especially focus on her left eye.
Photo by Sad Penguin Photography, who I for some reason keep wanting to call Sad Panda.