Q. How did you find out about getting a gold medal? What was your first reaction? Club Privé
A. My friend Marcus texted me in the morning (Swedish time) while I was drinking my coffee, and right after that my Facebook started to shout. I didn't understand what was going on, but when I did, I laughed and cried a little. I celebrated with more coffee.
Q. Can you tell us something about making the winning photo?
A. The winning photo is from my long story about Izza and her family. Izza took me to her work, a well-known strippers club in Stockholm, two hours before opening. In the picture, Izza is about to show me the private area, totally aware of me taking up my camera. But the girl to the right—a regular young stripper smoking her cigarette before work—seems to have no interest at all being exposed. This shows the face of two different people in the same world, and even the face of hierarchy. Just a couple of weeks after this picture was taken someone shot at the club and the owners are now forced to leave. So, today my collection of pictures from Club Privé is totally unique.
Q. How did you first get into photography?
A. At first I started taking pictures because of my fear of forgetting things in life. If I got a picture at a moment it was easier to remember. Then later I was supposed to be a journalist, but I didn't have enough patience in writing, so now I’m here.
Q. Who are some photographers who especially inspire you, and why do you admire them?
Q. Any tips for other college photographers?
A. A friend that went to another Swedish school of photojournalism told me about when she and her class went to a very poor country in eastern Europe with an assignment to make a picture story. All students came back with rough, sad and tragic stories about poor people, violence and narcotics. Except one girl, who had just photographed beautiful pictures of horses in the countryside. Dare to do what no one expects you to do—and if someone is fighting you about your choices; you're going the right way.
To see more of Susanna’s work, click here.
Interview by Leah Beane and Hany Hawasly