Precious Stranger on Instagram

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 4.53.18 PM

Things are moving forward! I’ve filed my taxes (early!). I’ve finished a third version of my book maquette, Precious Stranger, which combines my own contemporary photographs of Peru with family archive (a secret trove of letters from my father, a ne’er before seen wedding album, etc) to create a family album of a magical kingdom that never was but might be. For Instagram I am including more archival material and less of my own photography to share with you a deeper backstory than I elucidate in the book.  If this speaks to you, please follow along as I retrace the mystery of my history. Next, I’ll be putting together a proprietary website.

I’m heading to NYC for the NYTimes portfolio review on Saturday and then the DF with one of my great friends to celebrate our mutual birthdays in Mexico next Saturday.  If you’re going to be in either of those two locales and want to hang out – drop me a line.  Oh, and it’s Spring! Onward!!

Fall 2017 Update

Hello  Friends-

I’ve spent my free time this summer and early fall finishing the book dummy for my monograph, Precious Stranger, a very personal work, which I look forward to sharing with you soon.

Now I will be able to return to my ongoing project, The Invisible Wall, which examines life and urban development east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. A selection from this project was recently acquired by the District of Columbia’s Art Bank Washingtoniana Collection.

Cheering the Parade, Martin Luther King Ave SE, Washington, DC © Susana Raab 2017 All Rights Reserved

I will be speaking on this work during Fotoweek DC on Saturday November 12, 2017 from 2-3 pm at the Mexican Cultural Institute (Fotoweek Central). I’d be delighted if you are able to join then.

Last month, I received news that I’ve been honored with an Artist Fellowship for the third year, by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. The fellowship is no-strings attached and recognized the individuals whose artistic achievement contributes to DC’s as a cultural capital city. I am grateful to be recognized with and provided support by my home community.  I will be using the funds to assist the completion of the Precious Stranger.

Some Recent Commissions:

Riley Mariano and Layla Park, teenage girls of Tangier Island, pass time on a bridge that crosses the Big Gut Canal.

Tangier Island was in the news this summer because despite ongoing erosion that threatens the future of the island’s residents, the mayor of the heavily pro-Trump island does not believe in climate change.  I was pleased to visit the Chesapeake Bay island for Le Monde Magazine, where I spent a few days with Mayor Eskridge, accompanying him to “The Situation Room” where “all the world’s problems are resolved every afternoon,” according to the mayor.

A deep sense of community informs the citizens of Tangier Island who often stop in the roadway to chat in afternoons after the days work on the water is done. Few cars are on the small island, but almost every house has a golf cart parked in front of it for easy transportation.

Some of my favorite assignments are those that seem light-hearted, but reveal deeper issues.  Such was the case when the call from Politico came to photograph “Cooter’s Last Stand, ” in Luray, Virginia. The event is a celebration of the famed 80’s television show, The Dukes of Hazard.”  Drawing thousands from all over the world, the controversy involved the show’s glorification of the “General Lee,” a 1968 Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag emblazoned on its roof.

The crowd at the finale when the original cast of Dukes of Hazzard gathered onstage during “Cooter’s Last Stand,” an event that reunites the cast of the television show “The Dukes of Hazard,” which celebrates Southern pride and hosted by Ben Jones.

Upcoming Exhibits:

Both opening next year, Southbound, developed by curators at the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC, will feature 56 contemporary photographers’ vision of the new south. Not an Ostrich is the work of Museum of Fine Arts Houston Curator Emeritus Anne Wilkes Tucker, who spent weeks culling through the Library of Congress’ archive to assemble the photographs that will appear in this show.

Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC

Not an Ostrich and Other Images from America’s Library, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, CA


I wish you a happy and productive autumn and I hope our paths cross soon.


The Comprehensive Consumed in Le Monde Diplomatique


So there I am minding my own business when an email pops up from Bruno.  Turns out he is the art director at Le Monde Diplomatique, which is a French issue oriented publication that goes out to people who like to read more than 140 characters at a time, which is simultaneously old-school and refreshing.  So he’d like to run a portfolio of Consumed in their issue dealing with global food production.  We talk and work out a deal. A few days later Bruno comes back to me and asks, “Do you have images of a poultry farm.” Why yes, I do.  I actually do not show all the images from my projects on my website, so I have a lot of stuff in the archive.  Another few days, “Do you happen to have any images from a slaughterhouse?”  Why yes, I do.  Long story short, Diplomatique has just published the most comprehensive array of images I produced for Consumed ever, and I am very pleased that the images have been combined with (I am assuming) cogent dialogue on the serious issue of food production and consumption.  Oh, and how did he find my work? Turns out he found me on the PhotoNola website from a 2008 posting when I won a portfolio review prize.  So you just never know . . . Mercî Le Monde Diplomatique, and thanks PhotoNOLA!


A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

MIgrants in Immokalee, Florida © Susana Raab 2015



Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


Poultry Farm, DelMarVa Peninsula


Sonic Drive-In, Oxford, Mississippi Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


Ronald McDonald Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


The Chicken’s Dilemna © Susana Raab 2015


Pleasant Meats, Athens, Ohio


Pepsi Bottle, Portsmouth, Ohio


Dixie Cup Flag, Mississippi © Susana Raab 2015


Super Soda Metropolis, Illinois © Susana Raab 2015


America’s Favorite Clown, Athens, Ohio


Tofu-Dog, Playboy Playmate © Susana Raab 2015


Too Long at the Fair, McArthur, Ohio © Susana Raab

Former NFL Player Ricardo Silva for People Magazine

I had the great pleasure of photographing a great American a few months ago for People Magazine.  Former NFL Player banked $2 million dollars which gave him the financial freedom to sign up for Teach of America when he was let go from his NFL team.  For me the story is great on so many levels: turning adversity into opportunity (being cut from your NFL team), saving money to have financial freedom instead of embracing an opulent lifestyle; giving back to a community where one can lead by example; and lastly at Southeast DC’s Ballou High School! Go Silva and Go Ballou!

Screen shot 2014-11-11 at 11.09.47 AM

Former NFL Player Ricardo Silva in his math classroom at Ballou High School where he is a Teach for America teacher. © Susana Raab for People Magazine

Former NFL Player Ricardo Silva in his math classroom at Ballou High School where he is a Teach for America recruit. © Susana Raab for People Magazine

From the article:

In his three years in the NFL – first with the Detroit Lions and then, briefly, the Carolina Panthers – safety Ricardo Silva banked $2 million, along with bragging rights to having intercepted two Super Bowl quarterbacks. But besting Tom Brady and Russell Wilson is a “closed chapter,” says Silva. It’s a 10th-grade geometry book he’s opening now, finding new rewards as a Teach for America recruit at Washington, D.C.’s Ballou High School. It’s not easy, the Baltimore, Maryland, native, 26, tells PEOPLE: “Football, all you got to do is wake up and work out and do what you’re told. With teaching, a student might come in and just say, ‘I don’t want to do it,’ and you have to find a way to teach this kid, get him motivated.” So far, so good. In just his first month at the head of the classroom – for which Teach for America provides training and Silva is paid a $51,000 salary in exchange for a two-year commitment to a disadvantaged school like Ballou – Silva has broken through with at least one of his 10th-graders, Alexus Wilson.

As for Silva, who was cut last year by the Panthers, he has turned down a lucrative college coaching offer and rejected his agent’s plea to play in Canada. He was drawn to teaching, he says, because “I would love to see kids go to college. And I feel like I can show them the way.”

Susana Raab Productions is Taking Over the Smithsonian Magazine Instagram Feed this Week



Screen shot 2014-08-16 at 11.12.50 AM



Yo! Look who is taking over the Smithsonian Magazine Instagram feed this week with some #southeastlove?  I’m taking you East of the Anacostia River.  Please follow me @ or at  Please join me and feel free to shout out questions, comments.

Screen shot 2014-08-16 at 11.12.37 AM

July News from S. Raab Productions

Zaniya of Simple City, 50th St NE, Washington, DC

Zaniya of Simple City, 50th St NE, Washington, DC from the ongoing series, East of the River, exhibiting now at the Vivid Solutions Gallery in Washington, DC (Project supported by Kodak Film)

Much news to report from Q2/3 of Susana Raab Photographic:


Had the pleasure of writing about filmmaker Michael Ford’s Mississippi work from the 1970’s on the New York Times Lens Blog here. The story explores the idea that often one does not take a picture – a photograph takes you.  Ford’s life trajectory was changed in the years he spent documenting a blacksmith shop near Oxford that had been operating since 1910.

In June, DC Arial Photographer Cameron Davidson interviewed me for his delightful blog, Fuse Visual. The takeaway: “Humor doesn’t happen on command.” Read all about it here.


In July, my work looking at America through the prism of fast-food consumption, Consumed was featured on the Slate photo blog, Behold – to ummmm, critical acclaim.  Photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally also discovered the power of Internet trolls and critical acclaim when she published her essay, Upstate Girls on Behold.  Read about the brouhaha here.  The insightful Jordan G. Teicher wrote both pieces.

I also had the pleasure of working with Saatchi Paris on an advertising campaign featuring local giants: the Ballou High School Marching Band.  Went spelunking (kinda sort of not really) for Preservation looking at caves in the Shenandoah Valley. And Consumed was also featured in a colossal book: Inedible Truth: The Politics of Food, edited by Joe Ruckli, and published by the Australian Photojournalist magazine; an annual non – profit publication that seeks to draw attention to injustices routinely ignored utilizing visual storytelling and documentary practice as a catalyst for social activism. I’m in good company here with Ed Kashi, John Stanmeyer, James Mollison, Michael Pollan, Jon Feinstein, and  more.

Lastly, Politico published the first incarnations of East of the River in an essay this spring.


My exhibit, The Invisible Wall: Photographs from East of the River, is currently showing in the neighborhood at the Vivid Solutions Gallery in the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington, DC. This ongoing work focuses on Wards 7 & 8 in Washington, which is separated from the rest of the city by the Anacostia River due to President Thomas Jefferson’s love of symmetry; he absolutely needed to make the District of Columbia a square. Of course, Virginia messed everything up when it seceded.  The Washington City Paper‘s Lou Jacobson previews it here. Thank you to Audrey and Kodak for supplying me with a generous film allowance.

In other exhibit news, Cotidiano USA continues to make the rounds, currently exhibiting in San Antonio at the Mexican Cultural Institute.  It will be heading to NYC later this year.  Manhattan, you are forewarned! The exhibit, curated by the wonderful Claudi Carreras, consists of works representing the US experience of Latinos and includes the work of dear friends and photographers: Carlos Alvárez MonteroSol AramendiKatrina d’AutremontCaléRicardo CasesLivia CoronaHéctor MataKaren MirandaDulce PinzónSusana Raab (me), Stefan Ruiz, and Gihan Tubbeh.

In praise of slow photography, and in anticipation of making photographic books, I have removed much of my work from Cholita, East of the River, and Consumed from my website.  I will be working on the Cholita book dummy through the rest of this summer. If you’re interested in seeing more detailed selections from any of these works, please contact me directly and I will be happy to share with you privately.

I wish you all a brilliant summer, filled with happiness, laughter, and community.







FuseVisual: The Interview

You will most often find him up in the air, but DC Arial Photographer Cameron Davidson is pretty busy on terra firma as well. He’s started a new website (with another super duper upgrade in a few weeks) featuring interviews with photographers, art directors and the like, it’s called Fuse Visual and you should bookmark in case you should find yourself with one of those horrid spare, empty moments we are always trying to avoid with our obsessive compulsive behaviors smartphones.

Cameron took time out from his busy schedule to interview me here.  Leininger assured me I didn’t come off sounding superior like some large format heads do, so don’t even begin to give me any flak there, please – I have already been absolved.

Author photo by Katrina D’Autremont.

And as always I would be remiss not to thank Kodak films.  I love you. For ever. And. Ever.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 2.39.22 PM

Ballou High School Marching Knights for MC Saatchi /EOR Show Preview

Ballou High School Marching Knights February 2014

Ballou High School Marching Knights February 2014

After I got over the anxiety and procrastination to appropriately illustrate the concept teamwork: together we go further for MC Saatchi Paris (my first creative ad campaign! shot for a book/exhibit collaboration with MANY other talented photographers) – I ended up producing some new work.  I had a wonderful time with the great kids of Ballou High School Marching Band under the direction of Director extraordinaire Darrel Watson and team.  The kids really got into it and I’m posting a few rough outtakes here. Finding everything a bit cyan and magenta at the same time. Ouch.

ALSO I almost forgot this will be part of my exhibition opening July 11 @VividSolutions Gallery in the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road and MLK. It’s a ten minute walk from the Anacostia metro and will have libation and conversation to savor, guaranteed.  I will be barraging the webosphere with promotional this and that until then. Apologies in advance.

Also apologies if you think the below is kind of cheesy but Ivan is sooooooo great on the horn.


Ballou High School Marching Band, Washington, DC 2014

Ballou High School Marching Band, Washington, DC 2014


Here’s the facebook page for the show on July 11 with all the relevant info.


Down Under: Virginia Caves for Preservation

Couldn’t be more grateful to Michael Green for a delicious assignment to photograph Virginia Caves for Preservation, the magazine of the National Historic Trust, an organization I believe in and support. Not uncoincidentally, they are prompt payees as well, which is also likewise VERY MUCH appreciated.  Thank you National Trust!  I toured three caves, I highly recommend doing one or two – or spending more time- like five leisurely days – Luray is the Walt Disney of Virginia Caves with young interpreters asking you to step right up in their south/west va twang. Barnum & Bailey meets Punky Brewster meets Scout Fitch.  I quite liked the off-piste Grand Caverns which retains a 1960s era faded glory in it’s display, and which is much appreciated after the more experience on roids of other locations.


Eats wise Lynchburg and Staunton boast good offerings.  For those who love beautiful spaces and well -curated selections of books, Black Swan Books in Staunton , a must DO.  Grab a cup of coffee before you get there and settle down to some sweet browsing.  I did drive over 600 miles in the Conestoga solo 3 days – so a bit of territory AND during federal shutdown so unfort no skyline drive access.  But how do LOVE Virginia. Love. It. Before I was a District of Columbian – I was a Virginian.  Much prouder when I went further South to school.  NoVa does not invite much fondness for the land.  Strip malls and new high schools. Post war military industrial boom.  I digress.



Behold my friends: Nature’s Wonders! Come, see, feel, know.









Grace Huebscher for Mortgage Observer

Grace Huebscher for Mortgage Observer

Got to photograph a very cool woman and use one of my favorite colors: orange! Thanks Mortgage Observer, PE Emily Assiran & Damian Ghigliotty .