Photo by Ash Daniel
If every picture tells a story, then each of Susan Worsham’s photographs holds within it a novel’s worth of narrative. And with titles like “Young Man, the Day After the Trayvon Martin Verdict” and “Used Car Lot Holy Bible,” there’s a lot of material to mine.
Worsham’s latest show at Candela Gallery, her second solo exhibition there since 2013, features 22 photos shot in the Richmond area and Mississippi Delta over the past few years. Worsham says the title of the show, “By the Grace of God,” reflects her belief that when she sets out to make a photograph, always with no agenda other than to find something beautiful, “I end up meeting people I was supposed to meet. I listen to my instinct. I’ve had to teach myself to stop the car and take the photo, not to wait and come back.”
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“Marine, Hotel Near Airport, Richmond, VA” by Susan Worsham
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“Girl With Cat, VA” by Susan Worsham
In a world where nearly everyone walks around with a digital camera in their pocket, Worsham shoots her photographs on a 1930s large-format 4-by-5 camera. “It’s so different from a digital camera,” she says. “When I look through it, it’s like a scene from a movie.” Her work is lyrical and direct, combining beauty and decay in equal measure.
For most of the photos in the show, Worsham got in her car on a day off from waitressing at L’Opossum and drove around until she was inspired — by a certain cast of light, a color or a person.
Many of the photos in the show are portraits of strangers. Often, she is drawn to a particular scene — she has a fondness for overgrown gardens and shabbily retro interiors — but will wait until a person comes by so that she can make it into a portrait. “The person and the setting, to me, are both important,” she says. “Every single detail matters.”
Worsham talks to her subjects and shares details of her own life, and her love of photography. “I’m so overjoyed when I find something beautiful,” she says. “[My work] is about finding beauty in the world where other people don’t see it. It’s a gift to be able to capture it and show it to someone.”
On Jan. 5, Worsham will give an artist talk during a preview reception at Candela Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m.
Don’t Miss: A rare opportunity to see the work of two generations of the same family, "Family Room: Scalin, Scalin, Scalin and Golub" features the work of Chuck, Noah and Mica Scalin and Mim Golub, all showing together for the first time. Feb. 4-28. glave kocen gallery, 1620 W. Main St. glavekocengallery.com