I was born in Rhode Island but I've lived in many places between then and now. I went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and studied studio art on a Spencer Love scholarship for visual arts. When my father unexpectedly died in a tragic accident, I felt compelled to work with grieving people, attended graduate school and obtained a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. The next 20 plus years were spent working with hospice patients in rural and urban settings and grappling with the duality of both the tenacity of the human spirit and its fragility. This very sacred and intense work is the backbone of my photography echoing strong undercurrents of transition, tenderness and loss. After leaving hospice work, my photography became the vehicle with which to process the many years I witnessed families coping with grief which in turn, ultimately became the catalyst to re-visit my own grief. I exclusively use toy lenses to capture my images and combine both photographs along with photograph based book structures and assemblages in my work. My painterly and dreamlike images speak to the internal, emotional dialogue that resides in all of us. As we move through our losses towards resolution, art in all its various forms, is the single most nuanced and emotional reminder of time’s effect on us all.
© Dawn Surratt