About me…

Hi! My name is Susan Sparks, and I am Sparks & Alchemy. I spent most of my life in southwest Florida, and now reside in the piedmont region of North Carolina.

When I was 14 years old, I asked my mom for a camera. We didn’t have a camera at the time and I wanted to document what was going on in my life. We didn’t have much money, so she got me a little disc camera. Remember those, from the mid 1980’s? They only sold them for a few years because they took terrible pictures, but it did the job and I still have all my printed photos from back then, of family, friends, pets, and good times. Unfortunately, it stopped working by the time I was a senior in high school. When I was 21, my dad got me a nice used Nikon SLR camera with a 50mm Nikon lens. I still use that lens sometimes with my current Nikon DSLR. I learned photography at the local college and went back to taking photos of everything, eventually transitioning to digital cameras. I finally buckled down and slowly learned Photoshop a few years ago to enhance my fine art photography. When I realized it could be used to restore old damaged photos, I was fascinated. I took some online classes to learn how it was done and felt really good about the practice photos I worked on. I then set myself to restore some very damaged photos of my mother’s from the very early 1940’s.

About 10 years ago, my father gave me a box of photos that had belonged to my grandmother. It was an old shoebox with the word “snapshots” written on a piece of white tape in my grandmother’s handwriting on the lid. The photos inside were from as early as the late 1910’s of her and my grandfather’s family, and ended around 1989 when she passed away. I eventually organized the photos into 2 beautiful leather bound photo albums with my grandparents names engraved on the fronts. Looking through the albums, I see my grandparents when they were engaged and hanging out with friends, my dad when he was a baby, and then watch as he grows up and my grandparents get older. I see family members get married, my father in college and the army, and then himself married. Then my brother, sister, and I appear in the photos. My grandparents are now older and retire to Florida. Fiftieth anniversary party. Then my grandfather is no longer in the photos, and then comes the end of my grandmother’s snapshots.

Some time ago I heard a quote that said: “Photographers are the High Priests of memory protection”. I really resonated with this idea, and would love to be the Priestess of your memories!

I can usually be found holding either a camera or a cup of coffee; sometimes both. When I’m not taking pictures, I can be found at my computer, at my sewing machine, in my back yard, or snuggling with my husband on the sofa watching a movie and surrounded by 2 large cats.