Miwa Susuda’s Favorite Book from 2021

Nice by Mark Peckmezian.   Published by Roma Publications.

Mark Peckmezian’s portraits capture the accidental beauty of his subjects in a way that allows the myriad nuances of their identities to shine through.

Recent political tumult has led to an emphasis on art that serves an overt cause célèbre. Although there are many social issues that require addressing, the zeitgeist can also be overwhelming, especially on social media. Approaching art solely through the framework of political discourse — such as requiring it to constantly signal its virtues — may not always be helpful in terms of the artist's personal creativity and viewer's imagination.

There is still room for joy in photography, even in these turbulent times.

The impetus for creation should not start from justification, and should be more nuanced than a narrow binary of moral “right” or “wrong.”

Peckmezian’s work is a compelling reminder that photography does not have to be always political, and proof positive of the true playfulness and imagination that are possible when a photographer allows himself the freedom to engage spontaneously with his subjects.

Miwa Susuda: Publisher of Session Press, manager at Dashwood Books, writer for IMA magazine in Tokyo and mentor for Academy of British Journal of Photography. Based in New York City.

Portrait by Cory Rice.