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When One Door Closes


Susie Szeto Price '92
Susie Szeto Price '92

Hello, my name is Susie Szeto Price, and I create photographic stock imagery for Getty Images. In my profession, I draw upon much of my Hamilton College experience for inspiration and technique (look up Kuleshov effect!). I arrived at this career rather late in life at 40, and in a roundabout way as well (I am not a photography major). It all started during senior year. I had recently come back from my academic year in Spain and was hoping to channel that experience into photography. Unfortunately, Intro to Photography was open to first-years only, so I resigned myself to taking Scott MacDonald’s “Language of Film” class instead. This turned out to be a case of “when one door closes, another one opens”! I enjoyed “Language of Film” so much that I wanted to pursue an academic career in film and media studies because of it. Thanks to a glowing letter of recommendation from Scott, I was accepted into the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. My goal was to specialize in television and popular culture; however, an internship at multimedia firm R/GA changed all that. It was there that I witnessed CGI production for the very first time. I marveled at the photo-realistic “gore” created by CGI artists for a battle scene in Braveheart. I eventually worked as a production manager in the overlapping fields of animation, visual effects, and advertising, where I met my husband. After the birth of our two children, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I took many pictures of our growing family at the time. My husband had noticed a certain cinematic quality to my work and suggested that I submit them to Getty. So I sent in ten of my strongest work, and they accepted me! 

As you can see, life has a serendipitous way of working things out. For anyone who feels the pull towards the arts, the first thing I’d say is to trust your instincts, even if they appear to take you away from your original goal. The second thing is to figure out your finances so that you can afford this life! Many artists I know have day jobs, such as teaching or museum administration; or they develop multiple streams of income. I own rental property. The third thing I’d say is to “know thyself”: this is how you develop your style; and Hamilton can point you in many directions. The last thing I’d say is there are so many ways to be an artist. One can create fine art, or commercial art; one can do it full-time, or part-time; or something else altogether. There is no right way. Creativity enhances everything and is in everything. I hope this offers all of you insight as to how you can leverage artistry into your lives.

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