Su dances the Kalibom at the Mila Mala Festival, Trobriand Islands, PNG.

Su dances the Kalibom at the Mila Mala Festival, Trobriand Islands, PNG.

Su Garfinkle grew up in London, leaving school at 16 to pursue her art school dream, which she was not to fulfil until in her early twenties when she entered London’s Barnet College of Art. From there she studied for a Diploma of Creative Photography at Nottingham and Derby colleges. Graduating in 1977, she headed straight to America, staying there for 13 years, exploring three-dimensional art in small sculptures and sculptural jewellery creations. She also began on a series of diary drawings which along with a camera accompanied her on her adventures.

Su says,  “I always had a strong desire to travel especially to South East Asia.  I was stunned by the colour and beauty of Indonesia during a visit in 1985, which re-inspired my immersion into photographic art.“

Following her year in South East Asia, Su became acquainted with Michael Rockefeller’s collection of Asmat carvings in the Metropolitan Museum, New York which inspired her to visit West Papua where she became fascinated with the New Guinean culture, with subsequent photographic explorations of the eastern, Papua New Guinea.

Su was invited to Chile in 2000 to produce a book on the “Papua New Guinea Highland and Coastal Peoples”, published by Taller Experimental Cuerpos Pintados, as part of “The Painted Body” project.  She photographed various tribes in the highlands, Madang, The Sepik, New Britain and New Ireland. This work was exhibited widely throughout South America, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico City.

In 2002 Su moved from London to Northern New South Wales, Australia onto a three hundred acre property, giving her the opportunity, or as she says, “the privilege”, to explore photographing native flora and fauna. She moved to Sydney in 2011 to attend Sydney University and study for a Masters of Documentary Photography.

Su Garfinkle’s photographs have been widely published in books and magazines internationally with work exhibited throughout Europe, the Americas and Australia.




Book publications:

Papua New Guinea Highland and Coastal Peoples: Cuerpos Pintados, Santiago, Chile 2005

Out of the Ordinary: Blurb, San Francisco, USA 2012

Trains: Blurb, San Francisco, USA 2012

Inside/Out: Blurb, San Francisco, USA 2012

Van Diemen’s Land: Blurb, San Francisco, USA 2013

Diary drawings, volumes 1,2 & 3: Blurb, San Francisco, USA 2012

Contact: sugar@sugarfinkle.com.au