The mystery of glimmering bugs in the darkness inspired her as a young child to capture fireflies in a jar to create a lantern of light. Today the intrigue continues as Susan Sims Hillbrand uses photographic film that captures light in the darkness to reveal the essence of who we are. Hillbrand believes we are beings of light – spirit in human form revealing ourselves in timespace. As an art student at California State University, Northridge, where she received a BFA, Hillbrand started to explore the question, “Who are we and what are we becoming?”

By outlining her body with light she became the “firefly,” illuminating the hidden spirit, and the personal exploration began as Penlight Performances. These photographs have many layers of imagery to express an archetypal journey that humanity faces on our global path to peace.

Influenced by both her small town Ohio upbringing and living in the urban centers New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where she currently resides, Hillbrand connects the symbolic relationship of our external and internal life by seeing similarities in the built environment of the urban / agricultural landscapes and our inner spiritual landscape. Her subject matter is spirit and our relationship to the evolving global community.

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