This project explores the personal story of a hunter grappling with his feelings of unresolved grief after meeting, nurturing and ultimately killing an albino deer whom he lovingly named Prancing Snowflake. From the moment the young buck wandered onto his property, the hunter knew Snowflake would be pursued and savagely killed by other hunters. As hunting season drew near, the hunter made the decision to kill Snowflake in an effort to afford him a dignified death. Just as he struggled then, he continues to struggle with the conflicted feelings between his affection and protectiveness of Snowflake and the inevitable decision he made to humanely kill him. While he can logically justify his actions, he remains suspended in sorrow between the polarities of his head and heart, rendering him powerless to fully resolve his relationship to his beloved deer.
Dawn Surratt studied Studio Art and Art History at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. After working as a hospice social worker for 22 years, she retired from social work to pursue her art full time. This very sacred and intense hospice work is the backbone of her photography echoing strong undercurrents of transition, tenderness and loss. Her images have appeared on numerous book covers and publications including Time and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She is a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist and her work has been widely exhibited in solo and group shows across the United States. She is a long time resident of North Carolina.