“SUSAN WOOD: ON LOCATION”
SHC hosts the work of photographer Susan Wood with corresponding screening and q&a
Exhibit opens August 4th
Screening and q&a on August 10th
Sag Harbor, NY – Following the success of the two “The Worlds of Julie Andrews” exhibitions; “Tarnished Angels: The Artwork of Sabina Streeter;” and the “Hegedus/Pennebaker Retrospective,” Sag Harbor Cinema announces a new show on its popular third floor, featuring the film-related work of renowned photographer Susan Wood, an established magazine photographer who also covered the sets of iconic 1960 films such as Easy Rider (1969), Hatari! (1962) and Mirage (1965).
“Susan Wood: On Location” will open on August 4th at 6pm and will run until September 10th. On August 10th, Ms. Wood will join SCH’s Founding Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan in a conversation about her work, following a screening of Easy Rider.
While under contract with Paramount Pictures, United Artists and 20th Century Fox as a special projects photographer, Ms. Wood captured the filming process and its stars ‘unguarded’ as well as the flavor of the era. On view in the cinema will be photographs of Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, John Wayne, Jim Brown, Gregory Peck, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, and many more.
Of her assignments on film sets, Ms. Wood remarks, “When a movie is being made, the still photographer is a secondary thing and at times considered a nuisance. Because you’re not an essential member of the set, you have to use all your wit and charm to even get near the action when the shoot is going on. And the sound person will pick up every click of your camera, so you have to be very careful not to be disruptive. The advertising and publicity department wants specific shots and you have to set up your own photos – whether they’re portraits of individual actors or the director. And when you need to get a layout with everyone in the picture, it’s extremely hard to wrangle. You have to use whatever ineffable magic you have within you to get connected so they can trust you. And with that trust, you get the shot!”
“Through their composition, their wonderful inner movement and because of her uncanny ability to catch her subjects ‘unguarded,’ Susan Wood’s set images tell the behind-the-scenes stories of some very famous films. They also speak of the restlessness and the irreverent glamor of the sixties. I am thrilled to be able to bring this show to out third floor, a space that we have consistently used to further illuminate the process and the culture of film,” says SHC’s Founding Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan
Susan Wood’s photographs were made during years of great social change, and her own career followed a similar trajectory. A born and bred New Yorker, she was involved with the original “Mad Men” of Madison Avenue and later won a Clio, the most sought-after award in advertising. In 1954 her photographs appeared in the premier issue of Sports Illustrated. Mademoiselle chose her as one of their “Ten Young Women of the Year” in 1961. Throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, her photographs could be seen in Vogue, Life, People and New York magazines. She was a regular contributor to Look magazine, most notably for a 1969 cover story on John Lennon and Yoko Ono. In 1971, her investigative reportage on medical malfeasance titled “Dr. Feelgood,” appeared as a cover article in New York magazine.
Noted for her movie stills, Susan was under contract to Paramount Pictures, United Artists and 20th Century Fox. She was on location during the filming of movies that defined the 1960s such as Easy Rider, Mirage, and Hatari! and where she photographed the likes of Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, John Wayne, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Jim Brown, Karen Black, Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and countless others.
Easy Rider, 1969
Prior exhibitions of her movie stills were presented in conjunction with the Dublin International Film Festival (2014), Hamptons International Film Festival (2014), and Glasgow Film Festival (2020). Most recently a number of her movie stills were included in the multimedia site-specific solo exhibition, Wind Up! (2023), at the Irish Georgian Society’s City Assembly House in Dublin.
Susan is co-author of Hampton Style (Little Brown, 1992), which was a Literary Guild selection. For that project, she took over 250 photographs of houses, gardens, and art studios on the East End of Long Island. Her book Women: Portraits 1960-2000 (Pointed Leaf Press, 2017) was chosen as one of the “Fifteen Most Beautiful Art Coffee Table Books Published This Year” by Artnet. In 2018, Lilliput Press published Ireland which features a half-century’s worth of photos taken during her visits to the Emerald Isle.
Involved in the fight for women’s rights and equality in the 1960s and ‘70s, Wood was a founding member of the Women’s Forum, and counted as friends many of the vanguard of the feminist movement including Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
Says Wood, now 91, “I’m a working woman from an age when women still wondered if we could and/or should work. I remember a woman scientist’s graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College in 1953 recommending we graduates keep some part of our brain actively engaged in an intellectual project even if we visited it only occasionally. ‘Picking up knitting’ was her analogy. Can you imagine the cat calls and boos someone today would get in response?”
Susan resides primarily in Amagansett, with additional residences in New York City
and on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
As a not-for-profit 501(c)3, community-based organization, Sag Harbor Cinema is dedicated to presenting the past, present and future of the Movies and to preserving and educating about films, filmmaking, and the film-going experience in its three state-of-the-art theaters. The Cinema engages its audiences and the community year-round through dialogue, discovery, and appreciation of the moving image – from blockbusters to student shorts and everything in between. Revitalized and reimagined through unprecedented community efforts to rebuild the iconic Main Street structure after a fire nearly destroyed it in 2016, SHC continues a long historic tradition of entertainment in the heart of Sag Harbor Village. SHC Members enjoy discounts on tickets and merchandise and have access to our member-only rooftop lounge, The Green Room.
AAQ / Resource