Review Santa Fe: Susannah Ray

Over the next month, I will be sharing the work of photographers who attended Review Santa Fe in June.  Review Santa Fe is the only juried review in the United States and invites 100 photographers to Santa Fe for a long weekend of reviews, insights, and connections.  

Surf culture is usually associated with the West Coast.  Our visions of the Beach Boys and Gidget inform our imaginations, as do sunny skies and palm trees, but photographer Susannah Ray sees surfing a little differently. Shot on the “right coast”, there is a intensity and unique perspective about surfing in the proximity of New York City, especially in the winter.

 Kui, February Swell, 2005


Susannah studied photography at Princeton University and received her MFA from the
School of Visual Arts. She
teaches at Hofstra University and exhibits widely, recently at Modified Arts (Phoenix, AZ), Bonni Benrubi Gallery (NY, NY), and
The Print Center (Philadelphia, PA). She was a Santa Fe Center Prize nominee in
2011 and a finalist for the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in 2011 and 2009.
Susannah lives in Rockaway Beach, NY with her husband, daughter, and 3 cats.
 Snowman, 2009

Right Coast: In fall of 2004, following my growing obsession with maritime
weather models, cold-water wax, and 7mm neoprene mittens, I began documenting
surfing in New York City. My life as I knew it had succumbed to my constant
urge to surf, and it became clear to me that my photography would suffer from
neglect if I did not begin to document the new passion that occupied most of my
waking thoughts and many of my dreaming ones.
 Red Board (Alex K.), 2008

The project title, Right Coast, is a nickname for the East coast that not only indicates its location on the continental US, but also asserts an underdog’s dreams of superiority. Surfing on the right coast, particularly in New York City, lacks most of the lifestyle and allure of West coast surfing. Yet making up for the dearth of good weather, consistent waves, and beautiful surf spots is a community that has a surfeit of heart, dedication, and soul. Or in a word, aloha.
 50-50 Hansen, 2008

In addition to landscapes that reveal the rigor and drama of winter surfing, I include portraits and still lifes that reveal the intimacy and intensity of the life carved out on New York City’s stretch of Atlantic Ocean. The familiar icons of surfing–heroic men with surfboards, barrel-shaped waves, and bikini-clad women–play against the gray skies, snow covered beaches, and grafittied environs. 
 The NSSS (Not So Secret Spot), 2004

All photographs of Right Coast are 20”x24” type c-prints, editions of 7

 Red Rocket, 2006

 The Flea Bungalow, Winter 2005, 2005

 Lei, 2006
 Kristi Convalescing, 2005

 Sleeping Single Fins at the Big House, 2005

  Session’s End, 2006

  The Last Clark Blank, 2007

 Shadow Surfer 3, 2008
 Mollusk Movie Night, 2009

Twilight, 2006