Tiffany Joy Sutton
Photographer Tiffany Joy Sutton was born in 1981 in Rochester, NY, and was raised in suburban St. Louis, MO. She began documenting family and friends after receiving a Kodak camera as a Christmas gift in the early 1990s. While primarily a self-taught photographer, she also attended classes at Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis Community College. Sutton is a 2020 Harvard #InTheCity Visual Artist Fellow and was awarded the Regional Arts Commission St. Louis Artist Support Grant in 2019, the Regional Arts Commission Artist Relief grant, the Luminary Futures Fund: Emergency Relief for Artists, and A Sustaining Arts Practice Fund (ASAP Fund). Sutton has decided to work with black women exclusively, as a way to reconnect with herself and discuss social movements. Sutton works with film and instant cameras.
"I create narratives about all women regardless of their ethnicity, age and body type. Creating these images is an act of love for myself and my female friends. Inspired by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Carrie Mae Weems. I combine my favorite attributes of each photographer to create my style. Diane Arbus created images of so called ‘freaks’ with a documentary lens, Richard Avedon captured a woman’s beauty in magazine layouts and Carrie Mae Weems engaged audiences with a black woman’s historical narrative. My portraiture work documents, editorializes and shares a narrative about women to the world.
My previous series used Biblical, Mythological stories and medical knowledge to pick fruit that is symbolic of a woman’s body, her sins, her fertility. The seemingly endless connections between the binary is what drew me to create portraits of women, eating, peeling and posing with fruit. My photographs of women aren’t about their performance for me and the audience as with a male gaze. I’m telling a collective narrative about women's complexities and emotions and that has become a feminist statement for which I am still exploring."
- Tiffany Joy Sutton