Fairmont artist offers altered photographs at Red Rock Center

Susan Anderson, artist of the month at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont, stands next to one of her altered photography pieces, “Symphony in Blue,” which is a photograph of a Mercedes-Benz tail light.

Each month, Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont typically hosts an artist of the month.

Art forms range from paintings to wood burnings to embroidery, and the artists are of all different ages. For May, Susan Anderson is the featured artist. Her altered photography is on display through early June.

Anderson got her start in portrait photography as an employee at Mayer Studio in Spirit Lake, Iowa, which is also where she got her start in the photography business.

“We didn’t have them come into a studio,” she said. “We took our lights and cameras and went to their house and set up to do photographs inside or outside. It was good experience because I learned to manage in any situation.”

After some time, she went out on her own and opened a studio, Silver Shutter, in Algona, Iowa. After marrying her husband, Terry, she moved to Fairmont and also moved her studio to downtown Fairmont, across from Edie’s Restaurant.

Anderson did a variety of portrait photography, from senior pictures and family pictures to shooting weddings.

“I still dream about wedding pictures,” she said with a laugh, noting that wedding photography is quite different now from when she was in the business 15 years ago.

Silver Shutter closed when she retired in 2003, but Anderson had a good 15 years in the business.

Most recently, she was into “altered photography,” a concept she made up about 10 years ago.

“I have used Photoshop as a medium,” Anderson explains. “I still take the photographs but then I put them in the computer and use Photoshop’s many wonderful tools to alter the pictures as a creative expression.”

As for her subjects, Anderson just captures whatever appeals to her.

“I don’t really choose a theme but I am drawn to flowers and light outside,” she noted.

She has about 10 pieces on display at Red Rock Center, including a picture of some robins in spring and an old church in Vernon Center. All of the pictures were done some time ago for different art shows.

“My husband is a jeweler and did art shows, so we thought I could do something that could be on display and offered for sale at the shows he went to,” Anderson said of her altered photography pieces.

Anderson explained that each of her pictures has a story to accompany it.

“For each image, I have been able to control the printing process,” she said. “I also cut all the mats and custom framed each as exhibited. Should an image produce emotional response in the viewer, I have achieved my goal.”