The One Club’s Membership Campaign kicks off with photographer and recent Young Guns 21 winner
This fall, we wanted to put a face to One Club membership, demonstrating the power within our community and the opportunities that exist by being part of the organization. To do this, we set out to capture portraits and interviews with a handful of our incredible 3,000+ One Club members.
Naturally, it made perfect sense to collaborate with someone who was a member themselves to help us tell these stories. While there are several photographers in our family, alongside the other creatives of various disciplines and career paths, one in particular caught our eye for this specific project: Brooklyn-based photographer, artist, and director, Suzanne Saroff.
We didn’t know it then, but Suzanne’s connection to The One Club was about to blossom, much like the flowers that dominate her work. Shortly after our project started to take shape, Suzanne was named a finalist in Young Guns 21. A month after that, she was officially a YG21 winner. And a few weeks after that, Suzanne received the Levine Leavitt Artist In Residence Award at the YG21 party, earning herself a full year of career management and mentorship. It turns out that we were onto something! Aside from sweeping awards, and shooting campaigns for us, Suzanne also has been giving back, leading one of our Saturday Career Workshops for high school students.
Suzanne is a perfect example of how being a One Club member can help shape one’s creative journey and is the first person in our series of conversations with current members about making an impact in our community.
Suzanne, when did your passion for photography blossom?
As a child, I spent a lot of time playing in the garden, making shapes with pebbles, studying trees, and falling way behind on long hikes with my dad and brother because I was looking at insects and wildflowers.
And as soon as I got my first point-and-shoot camera when I was six, I became obsessed with it. I have a lot of childhood memories where I’m photographing flowers from different angles. I recently found one of my old flash drives from when I was a kid, and it is filled with images of flowers, pebbles, and shadows.
Flowers are the focal point of your art, so what is it about them that you love?
I love to photograph flowers to express and capture different emotions and energies. For example, I love poppies for their shape, physical nature, and how fleeting and fragile they are.
And when I work with tulips, I like to open the petals up. Their beautiful expressive nature is the reason I chose to work with tulips for the images with Lo Harris during the Membership Drive Photoshoot. I loved Lo’s amazing energy and I wanted the flowers to match her personality and express who she is as an artist. We’re not so dissimilar from flowers, you know?
" I loved Lo’s amazing energy and I wanted the flowers to match her personality and express who she is as an artist."
Your studio is gorgeous– how do you think it represents you as an artist?
Thank you. I love my Brooklyn studio– I’m very proud of it. I wanted it to feel friendly, inviting, and welcoming for me to create in the space. When people visit, I want them to also feel inspired by everything around them.
I’ve created a space that truly represents me. I think it has a really good energy, and I hope people can feel it too. It actually took me a long time to find this studio and curate the interior design the way I wanted it.
My studio is in the building that housed the original pencil factory where they made the #2 yellow pencils. It’s great because when I’m working on my painting series, I know I can roll a fresh coat of paint onto the concrete floor if I need to.
As a new member, when did you first learn about The One Club for Creativity?
Multiple people I’ve worked with since moving to NYC have told me about The One Club for Creativity, and they all recommended I join. So, I’ve always wanted to be involved. When I turned 30, it was my last opportunity to enter Young Guns, so I decided to join the club around the time I entered the YG21 competition. I feel lucky to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.
Aside from being a talented photographer and now official Young Guns 21 winner, how would you like the creative community to know you?
I would love to be known as someone who approaches my work with compassion and sensitivity, and as an artist who pushes creative boundaries, and delivers work that is emotional and impactful. I love when my art and the process of making it inspires others to pursue their own passions and ideas.
"I love when my art and the process of making it inspires others to pursue their own passions and ideas."
Connect. Elevate. Learn. Give Back. Which one of these membership themes resonates with you the most?
All of them, but connect in particular, because making connections encompasses and requires learning, shared elevation of each other, and authentic giving back. True friendships are deep connections, and I have found the best way to build a career is to treat business opportunities in the same way as making friends– honestly and authentically.
A few weeks ago you led an incredible session for our Saturday Career Workshops. How was this experience for you?
Creativity and art are a central part of me– it is where I go to process the good and bad. It is also where I go to learn, relax, and be playful. My career as a photographer still feels like a dream, and knowing I could inspire anyone by speaking about my work and career, especially students in New York City, feels really good. During the photoshoot, I overheard a conversation on set about Saturday Career workshops and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. It was a great experience, and it was wonderful to see the students engaged with still life photography. I hope I left them with a bit of inspiration– I know I definitely learned a lot from them.
As a One Club Member, describe the impact you would like to make?
I believe creativity is a fundamental part of all of us, and I would love to make an impact in celebrating, encouraging, and uplifting people to be confident in their own creativity.
"I believe creativity is a fundamental part of all of us, and I would love to make an impact in celebrating, encouraging, and uplifting people to be confident in their own creativity."
Our relationship with Suzanne has just begun and already she’s helped with a campaign, been a winner, and led a workshop for high school students. Suzanne inspires us with her talent, creativity, commitment to connecting with other creatives and give back to those just starting out. We are honored to be a platform for her work and to help her grow her network and influence as a creative. Stay tuned as we introduce you to more members over the coming weeks– and if Suzanne’s story struck a chord and you’re ready to join us, we can’t wait to welcome you to The One Club for Creativity!