From Vermont Woman magazine:

Diana Williams, the photographer-narrator of Depth-of-Field by Burlington author Susan Spencer Smith, recalls that in 1965 shortly after her marriage to an academic, “most women from my graduating class were working on their Ph.T degree – ‘Putting Hubby Through.”  Meaning they had snagged a future doctor, lawyer or college professor and were supporting him through grad school.’

Depth-of-Field, named for the New York gallery where Diana eventually shows her work, is a compelling story about one woman’s experience of living through the women’s movement. The novel is about a time that seems more distant than it really is – when a woman’s choice to pursue her passion for photography at graduate school, rather than stay home with her son, for example, constituted legal grounds for divorce.



A Vision of Her Own

By Gail Golden

A compelling book about a woman trying to find her voice as an artist and a female in the social shifts precipitated by the second wave of feminism. The book is greatly enriched by the heroine's sojourns in other countries and cultures, where the lives of women outside the Western world are sensitively portrayed and create a thoughtful contrast to her own experiences. The book is also rich in detail about the photographic world and the struggle to find images that reflect a personal vision. The heartbreaking family struggles engendered by the heroines quest are very moving, as is her willingness to push the boundaries of sex and race in order to find meaningful connection.


Depth of Field is a grand depth of experience
By sophie

The heroine of Depth of Field is a great person to spend a reading week with, eating, at the beach, going to bed. It's definitely a page turner book. This novel will especially suit mothers who are conflicted between giving their children

what they need or ask for and the demands of their own work passion, plus people who slowly develop an artistic passion that envelops them, and plus people who just want a good read. The sections on Malaysia and Africa demonstrate that the author has been there and has paid attention to the actual cultures of people alive there. New York City is also another anthropological visit in the heroine's journeys. Not being a photographer, I was interested in the concept of grasping a picture of people to clear up and deal with the possible chaos in our lives. I'm assuming that all photographers will want to read this book, just to see if their concept of the art matches Spencer Smith's. Enjoy!


From a Vermont poet

A Fine Novel

By Mary Donnelly,

What a rare pleasure to read a novel about a woman coming to consciousness in the '70's -- that period when so many women were breaking out of traditional patterns of gender expectations, were gaining deeper understandings about sexism, militarism, racism, and colonialism, and were learning new respect for each other and their own talents.   

In "Depth-of-Field" we accompany Diana on her painful, complex evolution from passive wife of an academic to a strong, and self confident professional photographer. Diana loves photography but doesn't always realize the distance the camera can put between her and her experiences. She has as her teachers Muslim women in Malaysia and Africa, and tough, independent women in the New York City art world.  Eventually, her own, estranged son teaches her much.

Smith has crafted a very engaging story. It is well paced. The characters are artfully drawn, the dialogue is real and alive. The different locations of Diana’s life over thirty years -- Southeast Asia, Africa, the American Midwest, New York City -- as well as the many individuals and relationships that influence her, give "depth of field" to her personal transformation and to this fine novel.  Read it!!