In today’s Griffin State of Mind, we are thrilled to share our conversation with Susan Irene Correia—equine photographer whose work is devoted to capturing the spirit of the horse in her photography. As part of our E.caballus exhibition, Correia’s works include Power – Dance with Beauty, Play with Abandon, and Be Loved. To learn what gets her in the Griffin State of Mind, we asked her a few questions.
Tell us how you first connected to the Griffin Museum.
It’s a fairy godmother story. At the end of a long day of reviewing portfolios for the Seacoast Camera Club, with one more to go and a long drive home Griffin Museum Executive Director and Curator Paula Tognarelli walked into the library room and reviewed my work. It ended up with an invitation to exhibit at the Griffin. I am so grateful to Paula for this introduction into the Griffin family.
How do you involve photography in your everyday life? Can you tell us about any images or artists that have caught your attention recently?
I try to spend some time reviewing other types of work and be inspired by their journeys and successes. I was fascinated this year by the intense creativity of Kathleen Clemons and was able to organize a local workshop for a small group of photography friends. It was a pleasure to just absorb the joy of working up-close with flowers and learning how to use certain specialty lens. It gave me greater respect for looking for the beauty in the details that I can also apply to with horses. And not to worry about horses stepping on my many times broken toes!
Please tell us a little about your series Power, and how it was conceived.
A horse is an animal of flight – integrated into their brain to survive and to do so they must be intelligent and fit. Under saddle if they are respected and asked to work as a partner they comply to accept the direction of the human hand and beautifully work as one. But the spirit of the horse always yearns for the freedom of the body to move and play. That is what inspired me with the theme of Power broken up into the three areas. But most important to me is to have the viewer give thought to our fast moving society which is reflected in the last piece of the series titled “Three Brands Too Many”. I want the viewer to enjoy seeing their power but also reflect on their fragility. Including my present dressage horse, all of the horses that I have owned were in troubled situations prior to my intervention so I connected deeply with this horse I photographed.
Has there been a Griffin Museum exhibition that has particularly engaged or moved you?
I really love the Griffin Member Artist exhibits because its a whirlwind of incredible creativity and thought. Its so inspirational. I am obsessed with “Flight” by Anne Piessens because it represents so clearly to me the dreams I had as a child.
My [other] choice would be “Among the Aspen Trees” by Mary Aiu. It inspires me because not only does it capture the spirit of this horse but utilizes so many other sensory elements and techniques.
What is your favorite place to escape to?
That’s an easy one. Alone with my horse, to groom him, to feel the wind in my face riding him. No other thoughts can get into my mind at that time. The nicker, the nuzzling, his dependency of knowing where I am for his security – healing for me that can not be described.
What is a book, song or visual obsession you have at the moment?
Tina Turner “Simply the Best” Timeless creation and there is even a horse in it!
If you could be in a room with anyone to have a conversation, who would it be and what would you talk about?
My mom who caught covid two weeks before her first vaccination was scheduled and passed many months later from post covid complications. To be sure she heard me tell her how much she was loved by all. Please get fully vaccinated and encourage others.