More often than usual these days, I come across the inspiring chance of meeting exceptional people from all walks of life. People who are naturally gifted, deeply passionate and humble in their nature. These are the common denominators of great people who are really walking their talk in life’s mysterious yet adventurous journey.
Listening to authentic stories live and direct is by far better than watching any great film. Told with passion and listening with detail, you can feel and recreate the scenes of their lives in your mind. One Friday evening, over tea and cappuccino, I had the honor to interview a natural photographer of Israeli origin with many passions, Lior Susana.
For sure, people of this caliber have fascinating stories to tell, like walking for 8 months on foot crossing the Himalayas or how school wasn’t very interesting, travelling to over 30 countries among other life changing experiences.
I believe the beauty of one’s life experience is expressed by the beauty and passion of one’s work. That’s what you’ll witness when you check out Lior’s photography: Passion on Picture. Watch out Photography World, Mr Lior Susana is in town!
Where do you get your inspiration? What influences your work? Music, Art, Season, People, Mood?
You can say, I get my inspiration from about everything. Whether it is walking on the street listening to music, studying people’s behavior, body language and social habits, as well as from architecture in the new places I visit. From a new street to a new country I visit.
I keep myself updated a lot with new fashion design trends and publications. I base my research a lot on blogs and fashion, photography and art magazines. Around Milan, I check out my favorite magazines shops, libraries at least three times a week.
I love music, cinema and any other form of art. I love walking on a street with my music and small camera, disconnecting myself in a way and letting my eyes only study what I am experiencing
Who do you mostly admire?
Hmmm, in general I admire most artists/ professionals who are at the top of their game… The list is long, so I’ll just mention a few that pops into my mind now :
Music: Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Asaf Avidan, Jennies Joplin, Eddie Vedder, The Verve, Johnny Cash…
Cinema: Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, Tim Burton, Luc Besson, Lars von Trier, Jonas Akerlund and many others…
Photographers: Henri Cartier Bresson, Peter Lindberg, Richard Avadon, Annie Leibovitz, David Bailey, Steven Meisel, Arthur Elgort, William Klein, Norman Parkinson, Ferdinando Scianna, Paolo Roversi, Jamie Nelson, Rankin….
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
“The sense of unity harmony with self, others and the Universe is far more complex than Freud’s sexual and pleasure principle or regression. The sense of unity can be triggered by nature, art, religion, love, childbirth, knowledge, and creativity, but also by solitude and silence…”(Anthony Storr)
Favorite music, food and place in the world?
India, Morocco, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel.
What has been your greatest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
I put myself up to challenges on a daily basis. I keep “building myself up” with plans, projects, challenges that have a limited timeframe. I do my best to achieve them and normally I do… If I were to mention specific ones that I accomplished, I guess crossing the Himalayas on foot and achieving my pilot licenses, but above all photography is my passion and an endless challenge.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment/work you feel proud about?
I can’t be specific about one in general, I consider accomplishment as a clear target. I aim myself to accomplish the wildest and impossible. It might look that way before I accomplished it, but after I do I am in Heaven for a few moments before I jump into the next one…
Do you have other passions?
I love traveling, discovering new places cultures and people, other than that I enjoy flying Aerobatics, airplanes, scuba diving, climbing and hiking.
What would you say is your contribution to the world?
I don’t think I contribute much, except for pictures that people love to see, I don’t think it’s much “contribution to the world” but for sure in the future, I would love to do more. I got some charity exhibition project in my mind which I hope to find sponsors for in the near future…
What would you like to be remembered for?
Never really thought about this… I guess it’s not important for me, I think my family and friends will just remember me for who I am and that’s ok. My work is part of me but I am motivated mostly by the process in the making and self development rather than fame and all of that…
Favorite animal and why?
Dolphins, got to love these creators
What/who do you live for?
For my passions
Live life freely and to the fullest. Life is too short for bad commitments and wandering around what to do with them…
Most interesting person you have met?
I never got to know his name, the moment was too short… He was a Shaman from Panama who blew me away literally and metaphorically speaking in just a 5 min talk…
A difficult moment in life in which you learned a lot?
A sort of crisis at the age of 23, which made me leave everything behind. I packed my stuff and for the first time traveling out of my country, alone to India. Since then, I never really stopped traveling and exploring.
Tell me about a funny or memorable moment in your life
Never been asked that before… Hmm, it was in 2006, North of India, when I decided to take part in a Vipassana course/ retreat, in a camp around Dehra Dun. Basically, it consists in remaining in silence and for almost 11 days and meditating 16 hours a day. It was tough … I can tell you that, dealing with your mind without any food for the brain such as conversation, books, music… You have to leave everything behind. They take everything away before you get to the camp… Anyway, it was funny on the 8th day at the daily last nighttime meditation gathering, during the session some wolves started howling. It started with one wolf and later on, all the wolf gang started howling. I don’t know what it was that made everyone in the room just burst out into tears of laughter just as the wolves started howling. I guess, this is the only time in my life, I heard the true laughter of a bunch of people break out at the same time, without any sophisticated jokes or humor, just true natural laughter.
In ten years, what would you like to accomplish?
I guess I hope to settle down a bit. I’ll never stop traveling but more to find my peace. I wish to be able to continue doing what I love as a profession and never stop growing professionally as well as an individual.
A special thanks to Lior for his time and permission to use his photos for my article, and don’t forget to check out his Facebook page and website.