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Inner Garden: Photographs by Susan Lirakis

Cup of Tea

Inner Garden: Photographs by Susan Lirakis began June 18 ran through September 10, 2010. 

Susan comments: "Within each of us is a garden – a personal sanctuary grown from memory, imagination and dreams – a place of beauty, meaning, and an open heart.

We find these gardens in the landscapes that surround us, and we create them in our own backyards as places for daydreaming, self-discovery, transformation, refuge, even transcendence.  We discover them in the mountains and valleys, the fields and streams, the oceans and the sky. The physical layout of an area, such as the location of a crawling or climbing vine, the color of a particular blossom, or the height and shape of a tree, serves to define the space – its focus and point of view.  Warm colors invite, far reaching trees offer a respite shade or a sense of enclosure.  The wandering of a stream provides a pathway for our souls.  All of these characteristics provide gateways to other realms.

Through my camera, I make my own interpretations of these places.  The plastic Holga camera, in particular, allows for the spontaneity of creating dreams in imagery.  The use of this camera takes me back to the way I photographed as a child."

Artist Statement - Susan Lirakis

Crab Apple Tree

When I was six, my godparents gave me a gift on the occasion of my baptism. It was a camera. Nothing fancy, it was a Brownie camera. But their gift to me grew into a lifeline that has

To this day, the plastic and so-called “toy” cameras provide me a channel of expression that allows me to work with the freshness and excitement of those very first images. The blurred quality of these cameras helps create images filled with spirit, feeling, mystery and the language of dreaming.

To this day, the plastic and so-called “toy” cameras provide me a channel of expression that allows me to work with the freshness and excitement of those very first images. The blurred quality of these cameras helps create images filled with spirit, feeling, mystery and the language of dreaming

Photographing has become a sacred act for me. It is a dream time, a language of image and experience. It is an exploration of the territory of symbol, myth and archetypal realities. When I photograph, I am in the place of my soul’s longing. I travel into the silence of the space between words to discover the emotional and spiritual conditions of the world and to taste the infinite.

Although all photographic work, at some level, is a mirror for who we are, I work additionally and more directly with myself in an exploration of my personal mythology. I make self-portraits using long exposures and little available light. This work has been supported in part by the NH State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

My photographic work also reflects my education in Family Services. I have long photographed mothers and daughters, senior citizens, sisters. I have a twenty-year on-going collection that is a visual census of our town. In 1991, working closely with the Tibetan Women’s Association and the Tibetan Nuns Project, I made portraits of nuns and families in an effort to foster awareness of and find support for the condition of Tibetan people and under Chinese occupation.

My work has been published in multiple books and periodicals such as Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (NYC), The Sun (Chapel Hill, NC), For Kid’s Sake. Photographs of Today’s Youth (Photographic Resource Center & WBZ-TV). I have exhibited widely, from the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, CA to the Currier Museum in NH, from Haines Gallery in San Francisco to the Danforth Museum in MA, from the Society of Contemporary Photography in Kansas City to the Fremantle Arts Center in Australia. Awards and fellowships for further advancement of my work have been received through the NH State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the League of NH Craftsmen, the Clowes Foundation, and McLaughlin residency fellowship.


Al's Arbor, by Susan Lirakis, photography (upper right)
Crab Apple Tree, by Susan Lirakis, photography (lower right)