COURTESY OF SUSAN BENNET
Susan Bennet is mad as hell .... and she's going to photograph it.
Everything about politics pisses Susan Bennet off these days — and she knows she's not alone in that. To channel her anger, she is ceasing normal operations at her photography studio Ooh St. Lou Studios (3501 Indiana Avenue)
on Election Day this Tuesday and offering any voter who donates at least $15 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a custom portrait in her “Pissed-Off Patriots” photo booth.
Think of it as a glamour shot version of those ubiquitous "I voted" selfies. The aptly titled “Pissed-Off Patriots” photo booth will be stocked with red, white and blue props, including balloons, glitter and chalkboards .... the better to create a custom message that properly articulates your rage (or patriotic fervor — your pick).
Photographs will be emailed to participants in the following days, as well as posted to the studio’s Facebook page over the course of Election Day. Bennet hopes that participants will share their photographs to encourage friends and family to vote.
“When you turn 16, you’re excited to drive. When you turn 21, you’re excited to drink. When you turn 18, not many people are excited to vote,” Bennet says. “No one celebrates being able to be socially engaged.”
Bennet would like to see other businesses follow suit in her endeavour to make Election Day feel more like a holiday and less like, well, jury duty. She hopes to one day see Election Day drink specials in bars, sales at stores and other special promotions usually reserved for Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day.
Those planning on getting their photos taken should consider making their donation to the ACLU in advance, as Bennet simply asks to see the receipt of the transaction rather than take the money herself. “I want as much money as possible to go towards the organization,” Bennet says. Aside from the donation, she's charging no other fee for the photo sessions.
This is not Bennet's first project with a sociological undertone. In 2016, she responded to a controversial St. Louis Business Journal photo spread depicting powerful St. Louis women and their shoes
with a series of photographs showing women with props that the subjects chose to represent themselves
While Bennet was already mad at the political and social landscape, her last-minute decision to attend Rebecca Traister’s October 18 talk at Mad Art for her Good and Mad
book tour provided the catalyst for the "Pissed-Off Patriots" project. Bennet had previously felt isolated in her anger towards politics, especially on the topics of sexual assault, women’s consent and reproductive rights. “Women aren’t encouraged to express their anger,” Bennet says.
Seeing the many like-minded women at the reading who shared her frustrations, she decided to take action once more. “Women’s anger is a catalyst for change,” Bennet says.
Walk-ins will be welcome, but priority will be given to those who sign up through the event’s Facebook page.