Suzanne Mingo

Suzanne Mingo has been photographing the wonders of Montana and Alaska for over 30 years. After completing her undergraduate education (B.A. in History) and gaining a Masters in Education, she moved from the east coast to Missoula, Montana in 1969 to raise a family. In the mid-70's, Suzanne, her husband, and their two sons, moved to the Washington, D.C. area where Suzanne taught photography and computer applications to middle school students.

Despite the rigors of living in a big-city suburb, Suzanne found time each summer to live, fly fish, and shoot photos in Paradise Valley, Montana which has some of the West's finest views as well as its finest trout fishing. During the 1980's, Suzanne's photographic tastes and skills evolved toward the use of medium and large-format cameras, concentrating on black-and-white archival print-making. In the early 1990's she began to make her prints available to the public. She has had several successful shows at the well-regarded Danforth Gallery in Livingston, MT. Suzanne's photos have also appeared in the Washington Post, Fly Fisherman, The Bulletin of the Angler's Club of New York, and The National Parks Fishing Guide by Robert Gartner.

Like any photographer worthy of the name, Suzanne has pursued a formal education in this art form on a continuing basis, taking college-credit courses in the subject equivalent to earning an additional B.A. in photography. She has become adept in the use of Ansel Adam's famous Zone System of exposure and development. She has studied with John Sexton at his annual workshop in Snowmass, CO at the Anderson Ranch. Most recently she attended a workshop, Fine Tuning the Expressive Print with John Sexton at his studio in Carmel Valley, California.

In 1999, Suzanne and her husband John moved to Livingston, MT permanently so that she could indulge her passion for Montana's photographic treasures on a full time basis. Each year, however, Suzanne takes her cameras and fly rods to exotic photo (and trout) destinations all over the world, including Alaska, New Zealand, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Austria, and England -- as well as those other Rocky Mountain States that perhaps are less well endowed with trout than Montana.

The Equipment

Suzanne's custom-built studio and darkroom in the Shields Valley are the fulfillment of a life-long dream. The spacious darkroom contains enlargers by Beseler, including the workhorse 45V-XL.She also uses an Omega 4550LX with a VCCE Head. Enlarging lenses are by Schneider and light heads are by Aristo (cold light) and (for color work) Beseler. The room is also equipped with a full size drying cabinet by Arkay, an 8 ft. Regal stainless steel sink, and mixing faucets by Delta. A Jobo processor and the obligatory Mac computer round out the technical features. The studio attached to the darkroom contains mat cutters, a dry-mounting press, and equipment for framing. In addition, the studio's walls are lined with some of Suzanne's prints and a collection of oil and water-color works by some of Montana's finest artists. You are welcome to stop in if you are in the area (call for an appointment, please).

The cameras Suzanne uses include Nikon bodies (D700, F5 and F3) for 35 mm, Hasselblad bodies for medium format, and a Linhof Technika for 4 x 5 work. The lenses are by Nikon, Carl Zeiss, and Schneider or Rodenstock, respectively. Suzanne uses Kodak film exclusively for black-and-white shooting ­ T-Max 100 and 400 (and Tri-X and Plus-X before the advent of T-Max). For color work (which is sold only through the studio), she uses both Kodak and Fuji films.

All black-and-white negatives, and each print, are developed by hand in the studio (by Suzanne) using archival methods. Selenium toner is used not only to intensify the blacks but also to prolong print life. The prints are extremely limited (most are limited to a total of 20 or 30 prints), thus enhancing market value. Ilford Galerie FB paper and Ilford VC paper is used for b&w, while Kodak Ektalure is used for infrared photographs. Sepia toned prints (producing that "old time" look) are available for some prints at no extra charge. Some of the prints are hand-colored using Marshall's Oils. The notecards are produced using negatives scanned into Photoshop on a Mac G5, and the printing of the cards takes place on an Epson photo printer.