There is an adage that poets write for their peers and likewise Susan Brodie's black-and-white photographs of Tibet speak directly to other photographers. There is an immediate respect when hard work is made to look easy. The superior craft of her grainy 16x20 inch prints takes the viewer beyond photojournalism to an individual pilgrimage.
Starting with blown away, fungi infested 35mm negatives, Brodie makes lyrical soft gray, corner to corner prints, where the scratches and stains of a rugged journey become the first person narrator of her story. We see the strange culture, the religious icons, the temples and priests, the military, hunger, cold and survival. Brodie's photographs search for a personal moment among the thin air, the altitude sickness and the dusty, arid discomfort.
Brodie's straight forward compositions pay homage to a mystical world and evoke a 1950's On the Road grittiness reminiscent of William Klein in Brooklyn and Robert Frank in Peru. The underlining despair in Brodie's photographs is subdued by rarefied brightness, a stark and simple tonal surface, and a reverence for her subjects. Each hand crafted print transcends its inherent objective information and becomes a personal signature of labor, concentration and beauty.
Susan Brodie's photographs from Tibet, titled, The Roof of the World, were on exhibit in the Light Work Gallery during November/December 1990. Brodie is an occasional resident of Syracuse, NY.
Christian Sunde (c)1990