artist's statement

I photograph because I have to. I work intuitively; the act of creating a photograph occurs on both subconscious and conscious levels. Form, time, light and good fortune are critical elements. Photographing involves much more than the rational. Non- visual stimuli including sound, smell, and the tactile, help to define my imagery.

The challenge of photography is in seeing, feeling and transforming. How can I capture what it is that is essential to preserve? Though the process is affected by my reason, the more direct connection comes from experience and relationship to the places that I love. When working in the field, time disappears – hours seem to pass in minutes, keeping me in the present. It is a difficult, joyful and magical experience.

I approach the landscape with the intent to capture my relationship to the space. Scenes are compressed and abstracted. My imagery concerns movement, space and time, boundaries and transitions. It plays with fine details, texture, depth, flattening, and perspective. Scale is often intentionally difficult to decipher.

Viewing the images requires patience.


Leonard Sussman (San Francisco, California, 1947) has been a photographer for over 50 years. He has had numerous individual and group exhibits in the United States and Europe. He was represented by the Witkin Gallery in New York for many years until its closure.

Sussman prints all of his own work, be it in analog or digital format.

Sussman has a B.A. in Art from the University of California, Berkeley (1968) and an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY (1977). He is a Professor of Art at Baruch College of the City University of New York.

His major published works are: Sardinia, 2000 and Entre Vents, Racines et Rocs – Among Winds, Roots and Rocks, Explorations of Mont Ventoux in Provence/par les traverses du Mont Ventoux, 2009, and Hills of Home: The Rural Ozarks of Arkansas, 1975 (etchings and drawings).

Sussman's work is included in major collections including: The Allan Chasanoff Collection, Yale University Art Gallery; the Museum of the City of New York; the Brooklyn Museum; Citicorp in New York; the Italian Foundation for Photography in Turin; and the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris.

Most recently, Sussman has been photographing the Svalbard Archipelago in the High Arctic of Norway. Its wild and austere beauty has drawn him back there six times since June 2014. In November 2018, he spent 20 days photographing in the Falklands (Malvinas), the South Georgia Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Selected Solo Exhibitions

2016    Landscapes from the Svalbard Archipelago in the High Arctic, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

2016    Landscapes of the Svalbard Archipelago and Alaska, (with two other Artists), Govanor Art, Sardinia, Italy.

2014    Photographs of the Camargue in France, The Shed, Brooklyn, New York.

2010    Berlin Passages – Photographs of the S- and U-Bahn, German House, United Nations Plaza, New York

2006    “Photographs of Sardinia,” Pisticci restaurant, New York.

2005    “From Sardinia to Berlin,” black and white and color photographs by Leonard Sussman, Sidney Miskin Gallery, Baruch College – CUNY, New York.

2004    Sardinian Photographs, Accademia di Belle Arti “G.B. Cignaroli,” Verona, Italy.

2004    Sardinian Photographs, Sala Nacho López, Fototeca Nacional del Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH), Pachuca, Mexico.

2004    Subway Berlin, Fotografien Wittenbergplatz und Mehr, Grenander Restaurant, Berlin, Germany.

2003    Sardinian Photographs, Arts Festival, Espacé Pandora, Lyon, France.

2003    New Sardinian Photographs, Academy for Advanced Italian Studies, Columbia University, New York.

2002    Sardinian Photographs, Istituto Superiore di Fotografia e Communicazione Integrata, Rome, Italy.

2001    Sardinian Photographs, Circolo Sardi, Berlin, Germany.

2001    “Sardinia-Leonard Sussman”, Libreria Agorà,Turin, Italy.

2001    Paesaggi della Sardegna,” Palatu’ e Sas Iscolas, Villanova Monteleone, Sardinia.

1998    Sardinia Photographs, Witkin Gallery, New York.

1993    Sardinia,” Witkin Gallery, New York.

1991    Photographs from Italy, Torino Fotografia ’91, International Biennial of Photography, Turin, Italy.

1990    “Italian Landscapes,” Witkin Gallery, New York.

1989    “Lower Manhattan,” Libreria Agorà, Torino, Italy.

1987    Photographs of Tuscany, Archivio Fotografico Toscano, Prato, Italy.

1986    “Photographs of Tuscany and Umbria,” Witkin Gallery, New York.

1985    Photographs of Lower Manhattan and Italian Street Scenes, the Midtown Y Photo Gallery, New York.

1975    Western Etchings , San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California.

Group Exhibitions

2017     "Select 2," at Garvey | Simon, New York

2016    “Photography: Technology + Art,” Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, New York.

2016    'Airborne,” Special Alumnae Exhibition in Memoriam of Robert Hartman, Worth Ryder Gallery, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

2015    "Wonderland," at the Invisible Dog, Brooklyn, New York.

2015    "Selva o Giardino," Govanor Art, Sardinia, Italy.

2015    "Landscapes," Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado.

2013    “Global Perspectives,” Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, New York.

2010    “A Social Context: Group Photography and Identity,” Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, New York. 

2008    “First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography,” Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

2007    “1907 – 2007 Cent’Anni in Viaggio per Torino,” (100 years of Public Transportation in Turin), Italy.

2001    Camera Work Gallery, Berlin, Germany, (Subway work, Lower Manhattan work, Sardinia work).

1999    Museo Ken Damy, Brescia, Italy, 10 photographs in exhibit of Italian Landscape Photography.

1999    Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy, “Paesaggi Italiani Del ‘900.”

1996    Witkin Gallery, New York (also in 1994 – “25th Anniversary Exhibition, 1990, 1988, 1985.”

1986    Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, “Recent Acquisitions in Photography” (also in 1985).

1978    Museum of Modern Art, New York, “New York City.”

1977-81    “Subways, An Underground Immovable Objects Exhibition,” traveling exhibition organized by Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York.

1976-88    Department of State, Washington, D.C., “Art in the Embassies” Program.

1975    Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, “California Landscape.”

1971    Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, “San Francisco Art Institute Centennial,” San Francisco, California.

1968    Friends of Photography Gallery, Carmel, California, “Studio 1968.”