In Memoriam: Susan Carr


© Susan Carr

“To find your calling is a gift.  A purpose provides the drive to pursue
excellence along with an unwavering belief that your work is of value.
When you can take this resolve and turn it into a vocation you achieve
a rare and extraordinary feat.”

~ Susan Carr, “The Art and Business of Photography”

Sadly, Susan Carr, photographer, educator, writer and artist, passed away on September 3, 2012 at age 49. She had fought hard in her battle with cancer and carried on as ASMP’s Education Director until the very end. Susan found great personal fulfillment in the many facets of her work and she touched thousands of lives as she grew professionally and achieved notable success. ASMP has established The Susan Carr Educators Award to be presented in the Spring of 2013 and annually thereafter.

“I had the pleasure of knowing Susan Carr as a photographer colleague, a board member, a staff member – and as a friend.  It was through her tireless efforts as Education Director that ASMP has become a leader in educating imaging professionals; we are in her eternal debt. She had great vision as a photographer, and personally she was sharp, she was sassy, and she gave 200%.  I will miss her.”  ~ Eugene Mopsik

There is almost nothing that ASMP has worked on or accomplished since Susan joined the board in 2001 that did not benefit from her insights, vision, strategic problem solving and innate sense of what’s best for photographers and the Society. A past president of ASMP, Susan has long been dedicated to the advocacy and education of fellow photographers. Among her many ASMP accomplishments, Susan organized and managed the highly successful ASMP Strictly Business conferences, and was editor of the ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, Seventh Edition (2008) and The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography, available September 27, 2012.

“With Susan’s passing ASMP has lost one of its most ardent advocates and I have lost a dear friend. She was a tireless champion of the Society, a passionate educator, and a wonderfully warm and caring human being. It would be easy to say that the Society will miss her — her mark is everywhere, from our educational programing to our advocacy efforts and to the culture of the boardroom — but those of us who knew her well know that the personal loss will be far more lasting.”   ~ Shawn G. Henry

In 2003, Susan launched the ASMP Seminars traveling programs and, working closely with speakers, she established ASMP’s reputation for providing solid, real-world, timely information through lively in-person programming.  A gifted speaker, Susan developed and delivered many seminars on copyright, pricing, licensing and releases.  Susan provided vision and editorial input to ASMP’s esteemed online business tutorials and served as principal author of ASMP’s Licensing Guide.  As founder and editor of ASMP’s Strictly Business blog and ASMP News, the monthly newsletter for members, Susan solidified ASMP’s leadership in the provision of industry news, insight and analysis.

Susan’s true purpose was her art, but she also spent much of her time helping other artists
so they could do their creative work in a sustainable way. Her absence leaves a great void.

~ Richard Dale Kelly

Most recently, Susan made her home in Chicago. She was a Principal in Carr Cialdella Photography, a professional photography studio specializing in architectural photography. Her photographs are included in corporate and private collections, including the Pfizer Corporation and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. She received many honors and awards, including the 2007 United Nations International Photographic Council Leadership Award. She authored the book, The Art and Business of Photography, released in 2011. She served on the executive board for the Young Photographers Alliance where she wrote and ratified their current strategic plan. Susan graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Photography, with honors, in 1985.

“A true artist and consummate professional, Susan brought a virtuoso’s passion, vision, intensity and single-minded purpose to everything she touched.  With grace, humor and an incisive mind that could slice to the heart of the matter in seconds, Susan was an extraordinary leader, mentor, guide and, above all, friend.”   ~ Judy Herrmann

A Memorial Service to honor Susan will be held at the Graceland Cemetary Chapel in Chicago on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm.  Please join us after the service to celebrate Susan’s life and view an exhibition of her work from 3:00 till 7:00 at The Grillo Group, 714 South Dearborn #3, Chicago IL 60605.

If you are unable to attend, we invite you to write a story or thought about Susan on a 4 x 6 card and send it to Maria Grillo at the address above. We plan to pin up all cards we receive to share with those in attendance at the celebration.

We invite you to share your thoughts and stories about Susan as comments on this post.

[Editor's Note: Susan's dedication to her work as an educator and advocate came second only to the pursuit of her art.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support the publication of a book Susan was working on featuring images from her Intimate Histories project.  To receive notice when the contribution site has been set up, please provide your name and email address here.  The contact information you provide will be used solely for this purpose and will not be shared beyond the ASMP.]

By Editor | Posted: September 4th, 2012 | 53 comments


53 Responses to 'In Memoriam: Susan Carr'

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  1. Susan was one of those people with a gentle demeanour who influenced and impressed anyone she came in contact with. From the other side of the globe we have lost a true world wide influencer in the photo industry both as a practitioner, intelligent thinker and importantly as a passionate educator, which will leave a lasting legacy for future generations. What an honour it is to have known her.
    Chris Shain

    By Chris Shain | Sep 4, 2012


  2. I am stunned.I have known Susan as a client and then as a fellow educator.
    Her commitment to our industry, her tireless ,tireless work and her clear, no nonsense approach to very complex issues was a gift to us all.
    I know that Susan is on to many great adventures and I for one, and we as a community are left to grieve the loss of a stunning individual who gifted us with all she had.

    By selina maitreya | Sep 4, 2012


  3. I met Susan at the SB3 conference. I was so excited for her workshop. She inspired me so much. SO smart, and strong. She gave me the motivation and knowledge to work hard and never give up.

    She will not be forgotten.

    By Felicia Perretti | Sep 4, 2012


  4. Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains. ~Kahlil Gibran

    I’ll miss you Susan but hold true to all that you have taught me.


    By Gail Mooney | Sep 4, 2012


  5. Susan was a wonderful advocate for all photographers and an incredible visionary for asmp. I was fortunate to know and work with Susan for many years. I went through some of the thousands of emails I still have from her. Her energetic and positive attitude shown in all of them. One of her last emails to me, she signed “with love and respect, Susan” Susan, I feel the same for you.
    With Love and Respect,

    By Todd Joyce | Sep 4, 2012


  6. The world just lost a great person. The photography community lost a leader. We lost a friend.

    I will miss Susan.


    By Rosh | Sep 4, 2012


  7. I had the pleasure of speaking with Susan about future programming and I admired everything she did for ASMP. I had no idea she was battling cancer. Her dedication and drive was outstanding. So sorry to hear of her passing, she will be greatly missed.

    By Kimberly Davis | Sep 4, 2012


  8. [...] More information is available on the ASMP Strictly Business web site. [...]


  9. And the wheel turns, yet again. The flame of her life is extinguished, may the embers of her existence be cast upon the breeze to spread the spark of her spirit to all who’s lives she will touch.

    I never met Susan, but I owe her a debt of gratitude for all she did to help me. She lived a good life, full of challenge and accomplishment.


    By Dean Birinyi | Sep 4, 2012


  10. I had the pleasure of serving along side Susan on the ASMP Executive Board for a couple of years. When some of us were ready to storm the ramparts, it was always Susan’s profound wisdom that reeled us back down to earth and prevented us from making fools of ourselves. Because of Susan, ASMP moved forward in a positive direction and has become the leading force in business education and protection of artists rights. Susan has left some mighty big shoes to fill. I will miss her terribly.

    By Jim Flynn | Sep 4, 2012


  11. Dear Susan,

    I would give anything to be back on the 2nd Street sidewalk with you and the rest of the gang.

    Does Heaven realize yet that they’ve got an amazing new leader on their hands?


    By Clem | Sep 4, 2012


  12. Thank you, Susan, for your tireless efforts for all of us. I didn’t know about your cancer struggle. Like Selina, I too, am stunned.

    I attended SB2 and SB3, and I benefited mightily from your zeal to bring knowledge to all of us who try to squeeze a living from our images.

    Thank you so very much.

    By Daemon Baizan | Sep 4, 2012


  13. As a teenager Susan was my photo student at West Lafayette High School. Of the hundreds of students that attended my classes over a thirty-five year period, Susan stands out clearly in my mind. I still see her smiling face, and hear her wonderful laugh. She always gave 110 percent with everything she did. Her memory will always be with me.


    By Tom Shafer | Sep 4, 2012


  14. I am very sad to hear about this. She was a great and positive force in the photography community. My condolences to her family.

    By Deborah Gilbert | Sep 4, 2012


  15. I want to be mad at the world for taking such a dear and gifted friend from me and us, but I am more thankful for having had the opportunity to have her in my life. All of my national board experience was with her and she totally made it a success and a joy. While the hole in my heart hurts tremendously, the way she filled the rest of it overpowers the pain. I am honored and grateful to have served with her and to simply call her my dear friend.


    By Bruce Kluckhohn | Sep 4, 2012


  16. Her book reamins on my night stand to remind me what I need to do each and every day.

    By Christopher Bloor | Sep 4, 2012


  17. ‎Susan was a fabulous person and an unflinching champion for photographers everywhere. Susan’s unselfish commitment to the betterment of our industry through sharing and education will be a legacy not soon forgotten. She will be missed.

    By Dave Einsel | Sep 4, 2012


  18. I’m terribly saddened to hear the news. I only met Susan a few times, but each time I learned something different, either about photography or just about myself. Because of her, I can honestly say my life became better.

    By Heidi Dillehunt | Sep 4, 2012


  19. This news has stunned me, and saddened me deeply. Susan was a champion for our photographic community, and such a pleasure to be around. I will treasure my signed copy of her book. I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach…

    By Michael Hart | Sep 4, 2012


  20. I am shocked and saddened to hear this. I thank Susan for all of her passion and dedication to our industry and my heart goes out to her family.

    By Kevin Bohren | Sep 4, 2012


  21. It is with great sadness that I heard about Susan’s passing. Like the rest of those who served with her, I was always impressed with her forthright good judgement, perseverance, wry humor and knowing laugh. We worked on a lot of projects together – she was extremely helpful at the start of my speaking career, and that has continued to this day.

    Susan was absolutely dedicated to helping her fellow photographer, rolling the rock up the hill every day, even as it may have rolled back down somewhat each night. And even as she became ill, she remained dedicated to her work until the very end.

    ASMP has lost a real visionary leader. Photographers have lost an advocate, and those of us who knew her have lost a friend.

    By Peter Krogh | Sep 4, 2012


  22. I was fortunate to attend a seminar that she was presenting and I bought her book and which signed for me.
    I am truly saddened by her passing and will remember her always.

    By Yvonne Carella | Sep 4, 2012


  23. Such sad news to hear of her passing. Susan was a beacon of support for our industry. Her commitment, passion and her voice were inspiring. I will continue to think of her often, as we all should.

    By Katherine Hennessy | Sep 4, 2012


  24. Very sad news indeed. She had the spirit of a pioneer and was there ALWAYS helping ALL of us at a non stop pace. She was a PILLAR in the industry and kept fighting for photographers rights and respect until the end.
    A colossal lost for all of us, our industry and mostly to her family.

    Manuello Paganelli
    Los Angeles California

    By Manuello Paganelli | Sep 4, 2012


  25. Very sorry to hear this! I believe I spoke to her a few times. My condolences to her family.

    By Dave Frieder | Sep 4, 2012


  26. If you are a professional photographer, yesterday was a sad day. We lost our friend, and fellow ASMP member Susan Carr of Chicago to cancer at the age of 49. Susan was wonderful in the many times I worked with her in ASMP – she was a past National President of the organization and recently has been in charge of all educational events coming from ASMP to photographers worldwide. Many photographers on our planet have been touched by her sensitivity in planning & organizing many learning events.

    Her gentle spirit and caring for our profession will be deeply missed. ASMP will be setting up a memorial in her name so watch for that.

    Many people in our organization lost a fearless leader and I lost a dear friend. That great photography light that we all seek for our images just got a little dimmer today!

    By Bill Bachmann | Sep 4, 2012


  27. I am stunned to learn of Susan’s passing as I did not know she was battling cancer. I first connected with her when we were both at the same Passion and Profession weekend many years ago. Her fine artwork of interiors that she presented, struck me as project infused with much love and care.

    Her amazing and impressive contributions to SB2 is why I rejoined ASMP. Based on her clear and sophisticated educational passion, I acquired a whole new and positive perspective about an organization that I’d dropped out of for many years.

    It was her encouragement and invitations to share my knowledge that were the main reason I came into the ASMP educational tent. And for that I am personally grateful.

    During the period when we had lots of speaking event planning details to discuss, I seemed have had a knack for always reaching her at the end of the day while she was out walking her beloved dog. As a currently pet-less dog-lover, it always gives me a warm feeling when people are able to include their 4-legged friends in their work life. That mental image of Susan easily talking photo business while her dog frolicked at the dog beach, is the memory that I will hold onto as I take in the news of her passing with deep sadness.

    To anyone who is involved in the business of photography education she is– and will be for many, many years to come–the high standard to which we should always aspire. She did it all superbly well. It didn’t matter if she was writing, teaching, presenting, organizing, networking, or advocating, she always did it with superb professionalism and always with grace and good humor.

    She will be greatly missed.

    By Carolyn Potts | Sep 4, 2012


  28. So much as already been said…… I can’t really add to it. I will miss you Susan.

    By Larny Mack | Sep 4, 2012


  29. Such sad news. I just met Susan this year and was very impressed by her intellect, leadership, passion and concern. What a presence she was for ASMP and photographers everywhere.

    By Alex Garcia | Sep 4, 2012


  30. Words are hard to express, Susan was a rare breed who “got it” and most of all, could share “it”.

    By David Brommer | Sep 4, 2012


  31. I am deeply saddened to learn of Susan’s passing. You only meet so many people like her in a lifetime and I am happy to count myself among those who got to know her. Rest in peace, Susan and THANK YOU!

    By John Wiley | Sep 4, 2012


  32. Stunned is how I feel. What a great loss. When I met Susan years ago at an ASMP presidents’ meeting in Aspen I remember how much I liked her approach to the conversations about the biz of photography. Over the years I was continually impressed with her tireless devotion to helping other photographers via education while continuing to create beautiful work. I never felt we created an opportunity to be personal friends. Life is so full of interactions … and just as with Paula Lerner, I never had known of a personal battle with cancer until too late to say what I felt. Every day is truly a gift and we never know when we will not have another chance to create more connection with someone until there are no more chances. This life wisdom keeps coming up for me.
    We are all lucky to have had Susan as one of “us” and her devotion to helping us all as photographer’s was truly one of her life’s gifts.

    By Linda Enger | Sep 4, 2012


  33. Susan’s dedication to ASMP and her brilliant contributions to the photographic world will be missed deeply. As one of the young photographers who she helped along with advice, a kind smile and supportive teachings, I am so grateful for her leadership. Her lessons will live on throughout my career and many others. While I am deeply saddened by this news, I am eternally grateful that she is not struggling any longer. She will always shine on in our hearts.

    By Karl Seifert | Sep 5, 2012


  34. [...] via ASMP- Strictly Business Blog. [...]

    By Susan Carr – RIP | Sep 5, 2012


  35. Very sad news, indeed. I had attended one of Susan’s enlightening seminars & then subsequently had reason to follow up with some urgent questions. She was ever so helpful, encouraging and grounding. It was an experience that overcame a lot of my inherent cynicism and shed light on the positive energy & support that resides within ASMP. I’ve never forgotten that and I won’t forget her. So sorry to hear she’s passed.

    By Ric Kallaher | Sep 5, 2012


  36. Very Sad to Hear about Susan,She had such a spirt!
    She will be missed in our Photography Community.
    She was a Leader as well as an Artist and Teacher.

    Joe Brooks

    By Joe Brooks | Sep 5, 2012



  38. The great work that Susan tirelessly accomplished on behalf of ALL photographers-not just ASMP members-will live on for a very, very long time.
    I’m happy to have known her-

    By jake wyman | Sep 5, 2012


  39. I am completely stunned and terribly saddened by this news. I worked extensively with Susan over the past year on behalf of Agency Access and had no idea she was battling with cancer, as apparently many others did not either. She was tireless and passionate in her energy and commitment to education in the photographic industry. She has really impacted the careers of many in the industry, and she will be greatly be missed.

    By Linda Whitehead | Sep 5, 2012


  40. I owe much of what I learned about the business of photography to Susan. She has left her mark on the industry and will forever be a voice for photographers everywhere.

    By Jeffrey J. Hanshaw | Sep 6, 2012


  41. [...] In Memoriam: Susan Carr. By Martha Lochert | Posted: September 6th, 2012 | No comments [...]


  42. Susan was an incredible human being and business partner, and we will remember her with fondness and respect. I had the good fortune of working with Susan on multiple endeavors in recent years and was always blown away by her ability to carry out massive projects that truly benefited the pro photographer community. I am so sad to learn of this news, but consider myself lucky to have met her. My condolences to Susan’s family and the entire ASMP community.

    By Andrew Fingerman | Sep 6, 2012


  43. So sorry to hear this news today. I did not know Susan personal but her work for ASMP and education was very inspiring and much appreciated.
    She will be missed, my condolences to her close friends and her family.

    By Keith Douglas | Sep 6, 2012


  44. I met and talked with Susan Carr at several ASMP events in Chicago (SB, Digital Makeover, etc.) and was always impressed by her warmth and advocacy. She’s left many notable imprints on ASMP and photographers everywhere, and will be missed.

    By Jeff Miller | Sep 6, 2012


  45. Susan was one of the bright lights in the galaxy of photographers and, like a beacon, guided many of us through the extraordinary changes that swept through the profession. She had much to offer, and shared it freely. Thank you Susan.

    By Dick Durrance | Sep 7, 2012


  46. I met Susan through Gary Cialsella twenty five years ago. I have rarely known anyone with that kind of dedication to a job, energy, intuative sense of working, and love of dogs.

    By Carla Anderson | Sep 7, 2012


  47. I am truly saddened by the loss of Susan. When I had my first child I had brought her to one of my photo shoots with Susan. My daughter, only a few month old, stayed quiet while we arranged the shot. When we were all done I had picked my daughter up and Susan told me to stay still and hold my position. She captured the love I had for my daughter. Susan was so gracious by offering to do not only my first daughter but my second and then the whole family. The black and white photos have graced the walls in my house for so many years. She captured and preserved a part of my family with simple clicks of the camera but the creative and beautiful eye of herself. I wish her peace.

    By Nancy Engardio | Sep 8, 2012


  48. I didn’t know Susan, but as a longtime ASMP member it would be impossible to not know of her. As such, I was very sad to read her name under the caption, “In Memoriam.” Her contribution to ASMP will be greatly missed. I feel fortunate to live just a short drive from the Monroe Arts Center in Wisconsin, where her photographs are being displayed. That is a trip I will definitely make within the next few days because it is through our work that we live on.

    By Brent Nicastro | Sep 13, 2012


  49. I too, along with everyone else who has written something here, am terribly saddened and surprised to hear of this news and the huge loss to our community. Susan was a major contributor, and will be missed by many.

    By Louisa Curtis | Sep 21, 2012


  50. I am so grateful to have known Susan and deeply saddened by her loss. Her generosity touched my professional & personal life as it did so many others. Her dedication to help others was uncommon. Through the years, whenever I reached out, she always made time to come along side with support and wisdom for the current challenge. She is sorely missed and shall continue to be an inspiration.

    By Liz Dawes-Ordoñez | Oct 9, 2012



  52. [...] Cancer still sucks. [...]

    By 51 Things I Learned in 2012 | Jan 1, 2013


  53. [...] known Susan Carr a scant two years by then, but she was one of those people who rocket straight to the top of your [...]



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