Peter J. Sucy
What is an eager young artist to do when just holding a brush or pencil is painful? A condition from early childhood made writing or drawing with a pen or holding a brush excruciating.
I first turned to filmmaking and animation, and later photography, during my college years. During my final semester at RIT in 1980, I witnessed one of the first computer animations being filmed, during a visit to the Film Board of Canada.
That prompted me to purchase one of the first Macintosh 128K computers in 1984, just to explore the possibilities. It changed my life! The mouse enabled me to draw for the first time without pain and the Undo command was simply miraculous.
The following year, I added a simple B&W scanner to my ImageWriter printer, enabling me to scan photos into my Mac and edit them in MacPaint. I immediately realized where the future of photography was headed.
Meanwhile, my day job at Eastman Kodak was becoming quite fascinating. Shortly after transferring into the Consumer Electronics Division to work on the Instant Film Video Printer, a decision in the Polaroid suit was reached, killing the project.
Shortly afterwards, the Consumer Electronic Division was renamed the Electronic Photography Division. This team would eventually make digital photography a reality at Kodak. The products currently under development however, were all analog video based and there was no mention of any digital (computer peripheral) products in the five year plans.
I foresaw the direction we needed to go, but convincing others was not so easy. Few people were using PC’s at the time, let alone had one at home. So, l began to bring print outs of my scanned photos to work and using my Mac to draft proposals. Drafting hundreds of digital product ideas using the new desktop publishing tools, slowly, I began to change minds. And finally, in 1989, I was asked to draft Kodak’s first “Digital” product strategy.
My Kodak career allowed me to explore cutting edge digital imaging technology as a part time artist. It also enabled my discovery of my latest medium.
3D modeling software tools had been part of my toolbox since 1989, and in 1998, a colleague asked me to consult for the new lenticular printing division, Dynamic Imaging. I was asked to demonstrate how they might be used to create 3D lenticular images. I ended up creating elements and entire 3D scenes for clients like Martell Liquor, Pfizer, Purina, RJ Reynolds, Solar, and Disney. All the while, learning as much as I could about the lenticular process. I decided to leave Kodak and pursue a new career as a 3D lenticular artist after Dynamic Imaging was shut down in June of 2001.
Printing lenticular images is a particularly expensive proposition, so I’ve spent a good amount of the time since 2001 just creating new 3D images in digital form. Over the last few years, I’ve begun producing some prints and transparencies and showing my work. I’ve only just begun.
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about the artist
Peter earned his BFA in fine art photography in 1980 from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His recognition of the potential of the computer as an artist’s tool led to his purchase of one of the first Apple Macintosh 128K Computers in early 1984. Adding a simple B&W scanner the following year he began scanning his photos and editing them in MacPaint.
In 1986, thanks to the Polaroid suit, he became one of the original members of Eastman Kodak Company’s brand new Electronic Photography Division. His creative skills with his home Macintosh computer would lead to a strategic role with the advanced product development team as the “conceptual artist”. He would pioneer the adoption of desktop publishing at Kodak, taking advantage of the new drawing and layout tools he was beta testing to create hundreds of illustrated proposals. His unique perspective enabled him to recognize the coming convergence of desktop computing and photography, years before many at Kodak would. The first three software products the new division would ship were all conceived and designed by him, including a Photoshop export module for Kodak’s XL7700 Digital Color Printer.
Kodak’s first digital imaging training facility The Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine was the result of a conversation he had with a colleague while attending the 1989 Photographic Congress in Rockport, Maine. That colleague became the first director of CCI while Peter managed the training facility at the Marketing Education Center in Henrietta. Responsible for training field personnel and dealers on the new technologies and conducting digital photo workshops around the country.
An interest in 3D computer modeling led to a consulting stint with Kodak’s Dynamic Imaging Division beginning in 1998. This brand new group created 3D and motion lenticular prints and transparencies, primarily for the advertising industry. Peter introduced them to the new digital imaging and 3D modeling tools, then converted what had been a strictly film-based 3D capture process to an all digital workflow. He created or collaborated on numerous lenticular images for clients like Pepsi, Reebok, Pfizer, Purina, FAO Schwarz, Martell and others. For Disney he created a number of 3D lenticular photo frames for rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Splash Mountain and Countdown to Extinction.
Shortly after Dynamic Imaging closed its doors in 2001, a lack of interesting work and progressing symptoms from myalgic encephalomyelitis forced Peter to make the decision to leave Kodak after twenty-seven years. Today, all the digital tools he long ago dreamed of, are finally a reality. He has launched a second career at 58 as a Virtual Photographer and Lenticular Artist specializing in photo-realistic and truly volumetric 3D images.
- 2014, 2014 Design Showcase - Rochester Arts & Cultural Council Gallery - Rochester, NY
- 2013, “Two Dimensions to Three” Group Show - Sandra Lee Gallery - San Francisco
- 2012, 3D Lenticular Images - Arete’ Gallery - Rochester, New York
- 2008, Digital Photos - Image City Photography Gallery - Rochester, New York
- 2002, MacWorld Digital Art Contest - Traveling Exhibit
- 1998, FotoFusion ‘98 Exhibit “Digital Photographs of Maine” - Cornell Museum - Delray Beach, Florida
- 1996, Rochester Finger Lakes Exhibition - Memorial Art Gallery - Rochester, New York
- 1994, Adobe Photoshop 3.0 CD-ROM - Digital Masters Online Gallery
- 1994, Digital Masters Group Show - Ansel Adams Gallery, San Francisco
- 1985, Finger Lakes Exhibition - Memorial Art Gallery - Rochester, NY
- 1984, Maine Photographic Workshops National Print Competition - Ledel Gallery, Soho, NYC
Awards and other distinctions:
1982 - Movies on a Shoestring Award - Cinematography - Split Screen
1986 - 1989 - Conceptual Artist for Kodak Electronic Photography Divsion - designed a number of the very first digital products shipped. Helped shape the Digital organization in a number of ways as it struggled to find its direction in the early days. Highlights include a key camera patent, the first Photoshop export module, advancing outside the box concepts and solutions, shaping UI design, providing input to product planning, hardware & software development and developing training. Expert on all things Mac, Graphic Apps and Color Printing.
1991 - First Digital Imaging Training Facilities - Responsible for establishing the first digital imaging training facilities, Center for Creative Imaging, Camden, Maine and Digital Training Lab at the Marketing Education Center in Henrietta.
1991 - U.S. Patent Number 5,164,831 - Electronic (digital) still camera providing multi-format storage of full and reduced resolution images on a static RAM card. The preview image and format in all digital cameras. Filed originally in 1988.
1996 - Kodak Golden Spike Award - For Contributions to Digital Products Division
1998 - Photographic Magazines Best of the Web - Top 10 Photographic Websites
2000 - Author/Illustrator - Chapter on Digital Imaging for - Basic Photographic Materials and Processes Second Edition - Focal Press.