1.jpg
Lately for me, it's been all about the book structures. I loved making books in college, but those were the days of far too many other things that occupy a 20 something year old and it's taken all these years for the seeds that were once planted so long ago to begin to grow and finally mature.  This is a book structure called Names. I divided the box into thirds to contain three parts to the story. It houses a small bound book of names that were printed from printer's copper plates via letterpress from the 1940's. The middle section is a tied collection of envelopes that the printer stored the copper plates in. The right hand section is a long accordian book with images which I printed on clear film so that the envelope that they're adhered to can show through. The back  of the book shows the printed envelopes. The idea behind this assemblage of books speaks to the legacy of our names and their lingering energy long after we die. When the name of someone we once loved and died is spoken, all the memories of that deceased person come flooding back to us and becomes the catalyst for them to be born once again in our hearts and minds.

Lately for me, it's been all about the book structures. I loved making books in college, but those were the days of far too many other things that occupy a 20 something year old and it's taken all these years for the seeds that were once planted so long ago to begin to grow and finally mature. 

This is a book structure called Names. I divided the box into thirds to contain three parts to the story. It houses a small bound book of names that were printed from printer's copper plates via letterpress from the 1940's. The middle section is a tied collection of envelopes that the printer stored the copper plates in. The right hand section is a long accordian book with images which I printed on clear film so that the envelope that they're adhered to can show through. The back  of the book shows the printed envelopes.

The idea behind this assemblage of books speaks to the legacy of our names and their lingering energy long after we die. When the name of someone we once loved and died is spoken, all the memories of that deceased person come flooding back to us and becomes the catalyst for them to be born once again in our hearts and minds.

Truly honored to be a featured photographer on the Motherfstop website, especially when there is a roster of absolutely phenomenal photographers featured. You can check them out here:

http://motherfstop.wixsite.com/motherfstop/single-post/2017/08/20/Dawn-Surratt

motherfstop.jpg

The Space in Between.jpg

i can feel summer ending. i'm not sad about that. i'm not going to lie, it's been a tough summer. all the uncertainties and the ways that life is unpredictable have been crashing down around me since june. it's tested my foundations and i suppose that can be a good thing, but it's not an easy thing. all the platitudes that i effortlessly spouted off to others during my career as a social worker come floating back to my mind like karmic slings and arrows.

but now i see the light is changing and there is a shift in the earth's energy. transition again. i will welcome this one. 

unpredictable and ever changing...this is life.    my show, the leaving, is opening on sunday and i am so thrilled. the work was born out of upheaval, loss and transition. it is deep, soul work. it is work that reflects the healing and the tenacity of the human spirit through grief and pain. the universe has an amazing sense of irony. on monday, tim's workplace burned to the ground. luckily no one was hurt. the sheer devastation of this loss has been surreal. i bear witness as he and his colleagues pick up the pieces with grace and guts, determined to rebuild once again. art and life perfectly mirrored.   as i look into the eyes of my beautiful grandson, i am reminded that nothing stays the same. the only thing constant is change. we are told that grief comes in stages. they are not stages, they are feelings and we feel them as we work towards resolution. there are no right or wrongs, there are only choices. and when we least expect it, the intensity of grief will make itself known again and again, of this you can be sure. it is at that time that we do not dare to shame ourselves for “not getting over it” but realize that as life moves us, we move with it. because our worldview changes over time, grief will quietly demand us to revisit it and to glean different lessons. and it is in that way that we press forward…..feeling, learning, creating and kicking some ass.

unpredictable and ever changing...this is life. 

 

my show, the leaving, is opening on sunday and i am so thrilled. the work was born out of upheaval, loss and transition. it is deep, soul work. it is work that reflects the healing and the tenacity of the human spirit through grief and pain. the universe has an amazing sense of irony. on monday, tim's workplace burned to the ground. luckily no one was hurt. the sheer devastation of this loss has been surreal. i bear witness as he and his colleagues pick up the pieces with grace and guts, determined to rebuild once again. art and life perfectly mirrored.

 

as i look into the eyes of my beautiful grandson, i am reminded that nothing stays the same. the only thing constant is change. we are told that grief comes in stages. they are not stages, they are feelings and we feel them as we work towards resolution. there are no right or wrongs, there are only choices. and when we least expect it, the intensity of grief will make itself known again and again, of this you can be sure. it is at that time that we do not dare to shame ourselves for “not getting over it” but realize that as life moves us, we move with it. because our worldview changes over time, grief will quietly demand us to revisit it and to glean different lessons. and it is in that way that we press forward…..feeling, learning, creating and kicking some ass.

A big, huge thank you to Amanda and Kevin at A.Smith Gallery for making this image, What Remains Behind, the Director's Choice Award for the show "the imperfect lens" which runs through July 9th in Johnson City, Texas.

A big, huge thank you to Amanda and Kevin at A.Smith Gallery for making this image, What Remains Behind, the Director's Choice Award for the show "the imperfect lens" which runs through July 9th in Johnson City, Texas.

Many thanks to Susan Burnstine and A.Smith Gallery for the opportunity to show these two images in the show, "the imperfect lens" which will be on view May 12-July 9th in Johnson City, Texas.

Many thanks to Susan Burnstine and A.Smith Gallery for the opportunity to show these two images in the show, "the imperfect lens" which will be on view May 12-July 9th in Johnson City, Texas.

So often when there is an amazing sunset, my first instinct is to turn directly towards it with my camera, trying hard to capture its beauty. The colors are so intense that I just want to hold onto them forever. But I have never been successful in capturing that. if I turn away from the sunset and look at the other parts of the sky, the energy that is present elsewhere is what I am looking for. The sky in its entirety reflects all the beauty of the mood.

So often when there is an amazing sunset, my first instinct is to turn directly towards it with my camera, trying hard to capture its beauty. The colors are so intense that I just want to hold onto them forever. But I have never been successful in capturing that. if I turn away from the sunset and look at the other parts of the sky, the energy that is present elsewhere is what I am looking for. The sky in its entirety reflects all the beauty of the mood.

I was very happy to meet the lovely Michael Pannier, Director of the Southeast Center for Photography in Greenville, SC and to see my print Tangled, hanging in the Beyond the Selfie exhibit. The exhibit will be on display through the end of March.

I was very happy to meet the lovely Michael Pannier, Director of the Southeast Center for Photography in Greenville, SC and to see my print Tangled, hanging in the Beyond the Selfie exhibit. The exhibit will be on display through the end of March.

wake up, mother. feel the energy of the changing light. look at the newborn colors of the trees and bushes. stirrings abound. spring.

wake up, mother. feel the energy of the changing light. look at the newborn colors of the trees and bushes. stirrings abound. spring.

there are days when i think i want more same because same is safe and knowable. there are times when the same is all i can do and that's enough. the days of same are important in their structure and they hold space for me so that when i am able to feel that i can embrace the different and face the possibly unsafe or unknowable, i will remember them as days that deepen me differently and i will be willing to take that risk for differentness again when i am ready. 

there are days when i think i want more same because same is safe and knowable. there are times when the same is all i can do and that's enough. the days of same are important in their structure and they hold space for me so that when i am able to feel that i can embrace the different and face the possibly unsafe or unknowable, i will remember them as days that deepen me differently and i will be willing to take that risk for differentness again when i am ready. 

when i was very young, my mother told me that a dragonfly would stitch my mouth shut if it landed on me. for many years afterward, i was terrified of dragonflies and would scream if they came near me. i was sure their long tail was as sharp as a needle...that they would hurt me as they stitched my mouth closed. my mother never knew how her words had effected me. what seemed harmless to her was deeply traumatizing to me. it was that way with most of her words. what i came to understand many years later, was that dragonflies were not the ones who could hurt me, it was my mother.

when i was very young, my mother told me that a dragonfly would stitch my mouth shut if it landed on me. for many years afterward, i was terrified of dragonflies and would scream if they came near me. i was sure their long tail was as sharp as a needle...that they would hurt me as they stitched my mouth closed. my mother never knew how her words had effected me. what seemed harmless to her was deeply traumatizing to me. it was that way with most of her words. what i came to understand many years later, was that dragonflies were not the ones who could hurt me, it was my mother.

Dear Jerry Uelsmann,

I had the opportunity to hear you speak yesterday. The words you spoke were so moving and impactful, but it was the things that you didn't say that moved me the most.  Thank you for your soul bearing emotions that made their tender and wrenching way through your words. Thank you for showing your raw, vulnerable grief and struggle to resolve it through your imagery. Thank you for embracing all photography in its various forms. Thank you for reminding us that we are first and foremost humans and that it is the camera...a mere tool,  that is at our mercy.  Sincerely yours, Dawn

I had the opportunity to hear you speak yesterday. The words you spoke were so moving and impactful, but it was the things that you didn't say that moved me the most. 

Thank you for your soul bearing emotions that made their tender and wrenching way through your words.

Thank you for showing your raw, vulnerable grief and struggle to resolve it through your imagery.

Thank you for embracing all photography in its various forms.

Thank you for reminding us that we are first and foremost humans and that it is the camera...a mere tool,  that is at our mercy. 

Sincerely yours,

Dawn

“And every year there is a brief, startling moment  When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and  Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless  Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:  It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;  It is the changing light of fall falling on us.”  ― Edward Hirsch, Wild Gratitude   the strange and haunting time of early fall.

“And every year there is a brief, startling moment 

When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and 

Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless 

Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air: 

It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies; 

It is the changing light of fall falling on us.” 

Edward Hirsch, Wild Gratitude

 

the strange and haunting time of early fall.

i have always felt that september has a distinct sadness to it....  the time of  year when all my past losses and memories come flooding back  to remind me that they are a part of me... asking me humbly to honor them once again.

i have always felt that september has a distinct sadness to it....  the time of  year when all my past losses and memories come flooding back  to remind me that they are a part of me... asking me humbly to honor them once again.

this..... i remember

 

driving down a country road at sunset,

a gravel driveway on the right side of the car leading up a hill to a modest, white house.

a woman sits on the stoop staring vacantly into space with a lit cigarette in her hand. 

at the base of the driveway, a small sign is staked into the grass. the sign simply consists of an arrow pointing up the driveway and just a single word... 

funeral.