An experimental photographer, book artist and educator, Susannah Hays makes images revealing essential systems interconnecting our universe, from the smallest leaf to the cosmos itself. She reveals organic life within inorganic objects. Seeing shadow within form and form within shadow she steps quietly in the footsteps of Henry Fox Talbot and other early pioneers of photographic image making, looking for clues that connect a photographer with the essence of the medium and the motivation that lies deep within the impulse to photograph. Sensitive to both the language of photography and the visual signifiers within her immediate surroundings, her work exists in the midst of a dynamic and imaginative exchange with our In/Visible Cosmos.
On the faculty of San Francisco Art Institute’s photography program from 2002-2012, she recieved a two-year grant from the University of California Berkeley to complete her doctoral research. She spent 2013-2014 teaching abroad at Shenkar College of Art and Design in Ramat Gan Israel and Leuphana Universität in Lüneburg Germany. These teaching appointments were followed by a 2 month fellowship at Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy.
Susannah’s doctoral thesis, Nature as Discourse: A Co-evolutionary Systems Approach to Art and Environmental Design, argues that Transdisciplinarity, an international education movement exploring pathways to a coherent epistemology beyond all disciplines, cannot become a sustaining vital force in human development without implementing co-evolutionary phylogenetic principles of human-brain and autonomic nervous system functioning. Only then can individuals experientially evolve to the levels of reality the "Moral Charter" entails.
Her studio/theory courses meet at the nexus of aesthetics, from the earliest signs of photography's invention to the medium’s present transformation. This range of photography's syntactical expression is studied in three directives: hands-on application of primitive and hybrid processes, the positing of varied constructs of space and points of view, and the configuring of word and image narrations/installations. In addition to advancing technical skills in photography and Artist’s Books Special Topic seminars —Topologies, Embodied Camera and Photography: Degree Zero—offer the opportunity to bring visual synthesis to transdisciplinary discourse. Emphasis is placed on co-evolutionary environments and how the making of art assists human beings in reconciling two disparate, yet innate conditions: the force of unconscious mechanical habits and the capacity to delineate conscious aesthetic experiences.
Her fine art work has been exhibited and collected by numerous private and public institutions, including Stanford University's Green Library who acquired her archive in 2010. She’s represented by Seager/Gray Gallery in Marin, California and Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she currently resides.
Santa Fe University of Art & Design (2014-2015)
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg Germany (2013-2014)
Scuola di Grafica Artist Fellowship (2013-2014)
San Francisco Art Institute (2002-2012)
University of California, Berkeley (2002-2005)
California College of the Arts (2008-2009)
BA Philosophy Mills College
MFA Photography San Francisco Art Institute
MA Visual Studies University of California Berkeley
PhD Interdisciplinary Studies University of California Berkeley