Spotlight: Good Mourning Roland by Emily Suzanne

Setting out to understand the world around her as she learned of her beloved grandfather’s passing, Emily started on a series of photographs that are filled with emotion and human connection.


“ I was eating breakfast, Saturday May 30th, when I got a call.
It was my mom.
Grandpa had passed away that morning at 6:30. 
I didn’t know how to mourn or how to cope. It was my first time experiencing death in my family. I got flowers that day in the late afternoon, lilies. I put them in a vase and took a picture. For the next week, I couldn’t process. I just kept moving. I was exhasuted and restless. Sitting here, Sitting there. I tried to stay motivated, tried to get inspired.  I took a picture. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening - a cycle. A sunrise, a sunset. Documenting this “still life” dying. It took twenty days for all the petals to fall off.
It has been twenty days since my grandpa died. ”

Memories of Grandpa


 “My mom has always found joy, more than one would expect or understand from purchasing produce.

Growing up I remember sitting in the car at the farmer’s markets and her coming back, arms overflowing with vegetables, our car already loaded with watermelons.    

One summer we lost a peach and an onion in the car for three weeks, it smelled terrible.

She loves to stop by the poduce stands on the sides of the road. She finds some kind of excitement or peace, something in growing vegetables. She had a garden of her own as well, of course. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes.

I remember the strawbery patch in the front corner of the backyard at our first house. I think she get’s this excitement from my grandpa. At 90, he still found a way to plant tomatoes and green beans. Funny that he ate green beans until he was 90. It was then we found out he didn’t like them at all. I think he grew them because the garden gave him something to care for, and beans were an easy way to provide for his family.

On the day my grandpa died, mom found something in her to visit the orchard. Maybe it was to keep herself busy, to keep her mind off things on the way home. She got watermelons, strawberries and peaches. She went to the store and bought lettuce and corn. She got the perfect tomato, I’m not sure where it was from but it wasn’t from her garden. 

All she has this year are six unfruiting tomato plants. She has been caring for my grandpa and my grandma, too busy to care for her garden.
So busy, but on the day of his death, she found something in her to provide for me, the way my grandpa did, eating green beans until he was 90.”

Photographs and words by Emily Suzanne.
You can see more of Emily’s work here.
Monday Nov 5 2018