Who Was Sue Bennett?

Sue at Havasu Falls, 1990
John Running, Photographer
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“She was a small woman [but] you’d think that she was six foot five physically … she was the smallest person, but she had the biggest personality.” -David Zickl

“She was so here; she was so alive, so present.” -Kelly Burke

Sue Bennett was a freelance photographer whose expertly executed portraiture afforded her global recognition. Born in California in 1948, Bennett was raised in a family that runs a successful private truck trailer company. While new generations of Bennetts tended to follow in their family’s footsteps with the business, in the mid-1970s Sue ventured to Arizona to pursue her passion for writing and photography. Shortly after graduating from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975, Bennett began her career in photography. Working out of her studio in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, Bennett made a name for herself with a matchless approach to commercial photography. She was a nexus point in what would become a strong photographic community through collaboration, critique, and generosity towards her friends and colleagues. While refusing to self-identify as an artist, Bennett prided herself on her technical prowess and creative edge. An adept businessperson, clients actively sought after “the Sue Bennett photograph” which stood alone in its expertise. Bennett was continually working to not only better her portfolio and client base, but also who she was as a person. Her journals give insight into a complex individual who recorded detailed conversations, events, personal struggles, and elations. She approached her photography with palpable empathy towards the human condition. With humility and strength, Bennett’s work remains a resounding testament to personal growth. Sue Bennett passed away in a car accident near Palm Springs, California on May 1st, 2003. Donated in 2013, her life works and valued legacy will live on at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives.