Silver Award in San Francisco Bay International Photography Exhibition


A photograph I took early one January morning in Cuba has snagged a Silver Award in the San Francisco Bay International Photography Exhibition, the signature show for the SF Bay Month of Photography. The quality of work in this show is simply mind-blowing—check out the other participants—so I am truly honored to be selected.

The star-studded panel of jurors includes independent curator Elizabeth Avedon, editor and curator Julie Grahame, the Center for Photographic Art’s executive director Ann M. Jastrab, and Bokeh Bokeh Photo founder and editor David Garnick.

Twenty-eight of the winning images—including mine!—will be on display at the ACCI Gallery at 1652 Shattuck in Berkeley from September 4 to September 28. The opening reception is September 13 from 6 to 9 pm. Sadly, I’ll be out of town for that event, so instead I’m staging my own “opening” on Saturday, September 7, from 2 to 4 pm. I’ll be hanging out at the gallery admiring the photographs, and would love for you to join me.  Please stop by if you get a chance.

Honorable Mention at New York Center for Photographic Art


I’m delighted that one of my night photographs earned an Honorable Mention in New York Center for Photographic Art’s online exhibit, “Dusk to Dawn.”

The photo, of a highway merge above San Francisco’s Presidio, was chosen from more than 900 entries by juror Laura Ann Noble. Noble is the founder and owner of LANG, a London photography gallery.

Craftsmanship Quarterly Publishes Three of My Pix!


In case you’re not familiar with it, Craftsmanship Quarterly publishes yummy articles about people who work with their hands and, says their mission statement, “craftsmanship’s principles of excellence, beauty, and durability as a pathway to a better world.”

This spring, the online magazine published an article by my friend Laura Fraser, a talented Bay Area writer, that included three of my photos. Laura and I met up near Rimini, Italy, where she was reporting on San Patrignano, a well-respected rehab facility.

The program at San Patrignano heals through craftsmanship, teaching its residents skills such as leather crafting, weaving, horse breeding, fine workworking, graphic arts, and, happily for our taste buds, pizza making. In fact, trained by some of the best chefs in Italy, San Patrignano’s pizzaioli are considered the best pizza makers in the country.

So one evening, I joined Laura at SanPa’s pizza restaurant, “SP.accio,” to sample the wares and take photos in the kitchen. The pizza was outstanding, the pizzaioli were hard-working and inspiring, and the photography was fun. Hope you enjoy the article. And if you’re ever near Rimini, you should make a point to visit SanPa.

New Portfolio on Cuban Trumpeter Yasek Manzano


In January 2019, while on a trip to Cuba, I was introduced to the jazz trumpeter Yasek Manzano. Educated at Cuba’s renowned Alejandro Garciá Caturla and Amadeo Roldán conservatories, as well as New York’s Juilliard School of Music, and mentored by jazz greats Roy Hargrove and Wynton Marsalis, Yasek is considered one of his country’s most exciting and talented musicians.

So I was thrilled when Yasek agreed, as a project for a class I was attending in Havana with Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, to let me follow him around with my camera for the better part of a week. During that time, Yasek rehearsed with the pianist Roxana Coz, a string orchestra led by Alice Jane Guerra Rivera, and the string quartet Opus 10 for a concert of Baroque music and originals, and, one late night, he set up for an urban jazz show at a local club. I didn’t get to photograph a performance that week—the concert took place after I left and the club show was canceled due to weather—but I got to witness the creative drive, exacting passion, and deep musical understanding that make this man such an astonishing artist. I hope the photos in this portfolio convey those attributes.

"The Blue House" at Oakland's Gray Loft Gallery


I'm so pleased that my photo, "The Blue House," taken in Iceland last October, is included in Gray Loft Gallery's latest show, "Something Blue." Juried by the ever-perceptive Ann Jastrab, the show also includes some of my favorite photographers, Candice Jacobus, Eben Ostby, and Josie Iselin.

Gray Loft Gallery, run by photographer Jan Watten, has twice been voted Best Art Gallery by Oakland Magazine readers. Located in the Jingletown arts district on the third floor of 2889 Ford Street, it's a welcoming place for artists and viewers alike.

"Something Blue" will be on view from Saturday, February 16, to Saturday, March 23. The gallery is open Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm, as well as these special hours:

Opening Reception, Saturday, February 16, 4 to 6:30 pm
2nd Friday Jingletown Reception: Friday, March 8, 6 to 9:00 pm
Closing Reception, Saturday, March 23, 4 to 6:30 pm

"Burning Bush" Takes Award at Carmel Exhibit


I was thrilled to be included in the Center for Photographic Art's 2018 International Juried Exhibition. CPA, located in Carmel, California, was originally the Friends of Photography gallery founded in 1967 by Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, and Cole Weston, and it carries on those masters' discerning take on photography. The juror, Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator in the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, chose 45 images from more than 1100 submitted, including my “Burning Bush,” left.

But even more thrilling, Schillo selected “Burning Bush” for an Award of Merit! In discussing the photo at the show’s opening, she commented on its sense of mystery and asked about the glowing red “heart” of the bush. That glow came from my trusty Proto Machine LED8, a full-spectrum, super-duper flashlight that I shined for about 20 seconds on the bottom of the shadow during the three minute exposure.

Coincidentally, “Burning Bush” was also recently included in a show at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon. The show has ended, but you can page through (or even buy!) a book of the images from Blurb.

"Thank You, Tim" Earns 2nd Place in National Competition


In January 2018, this photo, “Thank You, Tim,” won Second Prize in Foto Foto Gallery‘s 13th National Photography Competition!

Some of you may recognize these buildings near San Francisco’s Crissy Field, with the Golden Gate Bridge casting a lurid glow in the background. My friend and teacher, Tim Baskerville, who has introduced scores to the delights and mysteries of night photography, graciously loaned his shadowy figure to the image.

In awarding the prize, juror Ann Jastrab said, “Susan West created a flawless picture, simply pairing the two buildings with their varied light sources: sunset, fluorescents, sodium vapor, incandescent, and who knows what else…that color and those color temperatures make the image magical. But then there is something else: splendidly framed in the glowing green light is the legendary Tim Baskerville himself.”

So, once more: Thank you, Tim.