Susan Rowe Captures the Countryside with her Photography
Susan Rowe suffers from severe osteoarthritis – but that doesn’t stop her from cleverly capturing the North East’s stunning landscapes
Susan Rowe spent her childhood roaming round the Lake District and Cornwall on camping trips with her family. During her years of holidaying in the countryside, Susan fell in love with the sweeping landscapes and peaceful surroundings (and figured they make for great photographs, too). Now, having lived in County Durham for more than 30 years, she spends time in her retirement photographing the places she loves.
Susan suffers from severe osteoarthritis in most joints, which leaves her unable to walk very far and struggling with mobility – but that doesn’t stop her. ‘When I realised I couldn’t walk the Lake District fells with my family anymore, I decided to take up photography as I felt it could still keep me out in the landscapes that I enjoyed,’ Susan says.
‘As my mobility deteriorates, I rely more and more on my husband, who helps with the camera equipment and pushes me in the wheelchair when necessary. Fortunately, I am still able to drive and the locations I visit have to be accessible by car.’
After throwing herself into photography, Susan has been perfecting her craft. ‘I did a lot of magazine reading and internet research. I bought my first DSLR camera – a Nikon D60 – on eBay and gradually realised I wanted to set myself some recognisable standards, so I joined the Royal Photographic Society and the Disabled Photographers Society and have achieved a licentiateship with both organisations.’
Despite only being able to photograph from the side of her car, Susan does an impressive job of capturing the stunning landscapes around the North East. ‘I like to read and look at the work of other photographers that may give me inspiration for new techniques or approaches to my photography. At first I would take record shots of the places I visited, as well as using long exposures at places like the coast. However, since lockdown, my style is very much about the light falling on the landscape at different times of the day and during different seasons, the patterns and shapes that I can see and just the enjoyment of local vistas – all from the roadside!’
With so much on her doorstep, we asked Susan where her favourite spots are to photograph. ‘It has to be Weardale – there are several locations there that I love to visit, depending on the time of year and time of day.’
Despite being in her early 70s and living with her disability, Susan is keen to keep learning more and more about photography, with an appreciation of our region’s unbeatable landscapes feeding her passion. ‘As a photographer, my favourite thing about the North East has to be the variety we have – the coast, moors, hills, woods, forests and countryside. I love being here and wouldn’t want to move anywhere else.’