Written by Nathalie Webb:
Susie would have been 53 and a half years old to the day and I’m sure extremely proud of the fact that her work was being shown and sold. She’d always intended to exhibit but had never got round to it, so Vanessa Wembridge and I took up the baton and made it happen for her, with the help of a generous sponsorship from Susie’s former employers, Hempsons.
The images spoke for themselves. Susie wasn’t a professional photographer, but looking at the photos she’d taken on her travels around the world, it wouldn’t have been a long shot to imagine her working for The National Geographic or to be puzzled by the fact that she hadn’t more books published, apart from the one she did about her time with VSO in Bhawanipatna, India.
Many of the pictures captured people from around the world at their everyday business, whether it was men chopping wood in Mongolia, Indian women working in the fields or a cart being pulled to market in Vietnam. They also depicted friendship, not the obvious shots of friendship, but simple shots of women sitting on the ground eating together. You could tell from their body language that they were good friends, even though they weren’t interacting. They were shots of comfortable, true, unspoken friendship. The sort of friendship that Susie offered and that any one of us is so lucky to have in our lives.
(Photos by Alistair MacNaughton)
Other images captured the natural beauty of landscapes, enabling us to appreciate the wonder of the planet we’re on.
It was the first time Vanessa and I had put on an exhibition and we had our work cut out, selecting the images and the format they should be displayed in, whether it was canvas or paper, frames, un-mounted, large, small, but the end result meant a display that showed the real Susie, beautifully hung by The Last Supper Gallery owner Andrew Wenrick. It was an important celebration of her life as it showed what she was really about.
There was a fabulous turnout of old and new friends, former colleagues, members of the SLYPN, fellow travellers and former colleagues, and over £1400 was raised that will be donated to Parkinson’s UK and the SLYPN. Susie left an important legacy; a wealth of friendship, amazing images and a bank of memories that can never be debited.