Bio and Statement



Susan Gans is a photographer and occasional printmaker in Seattle, WA.  She has an MA in Art Education and Printmaking from New York University and a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1994, she completed a 1 year certificate in Printmaking to update skills and in 2000, a 1 year Certificate in Photography – both from the University of Washington Extension Program in Seattle, WA. Susan also completed the Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Program for Visual Artists in 2008.

Additional workshops/master classes in photography have been completed at the Photographic Center NW, Seattle, the former Newspace Center for Photography, Portland and the Pacific NW Art School, Coupeville, WA.  

Susan’s work has been shown primarily in the Pacific Northwest over the past 20 years, but also in a 2012 New York City exhibition at the former .NO Gallery juried by Mary Ellen Mark. Her photograph was awarded First Place in its category. She is an Affiliate member of Gallery 110, a non-profit artist space in Seattle, WA. She has exhibited at other Pacific Northwest venues including Black Lab Gallery and the Schack Arts Center in Everett, WA, 10 x 10 Tieton, WA and at the Center on Contemporary Art and at the Photographic Center NW in Seattle. Her work is in public and private collections on both coasts.

Her background includes working in museums and arts centers for more than 20 years while living on the East Coast and in the public sector for more than 15 years since moving to Seattle in 1990. Presently, she is a full-time artist.



I grew up in and around older cities on the East Coast living with art, artifacts and oddities found in flea markets or small neighborhood shops. The practice of collecting has continued since moving to Seattle. My art is influenced both by this habit and my past professional work in museums and community services/Family Law and my general interest in the history and structure of cities both large and small.

Cities have been the primary keepers of remembered experiences and dreams, both personal and cultural. I follow neighborhood shifts to track the impact of human intervention that results in gentrification, loss of cultural identity and historic building stock. These photographs are quasi documentary/ fine art images that ask the viewer to question the idea of “progress”.

The OnLooker Project is introspective and concentrates on emotions often “unseen” by others and encapsulates a back-story about a loner, dreamer, thinker, listener, protester or witness while searching for the common threads that bind us in our everyday existence one day at a time. This project is influenced by the classic Street Photographers who worked in urban areas, such as Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Lee Friedlander, Mary Ellen Mark and Vivian Maier. 

A former printmaker, I still use processes that relate to photo etching and experimental image-making in some current work.  This work is created in camera or by using various apps to make composites and by occasionally using film. However, my darkroom days are over so film is scanned and printed digitally. Much current work also can be seen on Instagram @susangans.

The project, Memory and Identity, is personal. These images deal with different moments of life including the realization that aging is no longer a myth and comes with perils and joys.