Before Matthew

Shortly before hurricane Matthew hit the low country of South Carolina, I spent an idyllic two weeks at Surfside Beach. The weather was perfect, the light spectacular, and I spent hours on the beach with a camera in hand, sometimes my Canon 5D Mark iii, or my ancient Canon AE1, and always my iPhone.


The images I made show a typical slice of beach life. No one was worried about of even talking about the arrival of Matthew. It was beach business as usual. But life and landscape can change quickly when a hurricane blows through a community. Unwittingly, I caught the beach before Matthew and recorded those last few days before everything changed.

Kim Ross

In the spring of 2008, I decided to plant a garden. The garden was beautiful, and I wanted to capture it, to remember it during our long, gray winter. So, my husband surprised me with a wee digital camera for my birthday. A marvelous gift that began an exploration of my garden, and the wider world, with a camera almost always in hand. Digital photography is my main medium, although I am learning to love film. After experimenting with black and white, I remain firmly entrenched in the world of color photography. Over the years, I have been fortunate to study with some magnificent photographers who have taught, encouraged and inspired with their work. Donna Eaton, Kathleen Clemons, Tony Sweet, Jim Zuckerman, Freeman Patterson, Andre Gallant, Art Wolfe, Andrea Phox, and Nancy Libson have enriched and enhanced my work and my life. In addition, I study water color painting with Maria Leysens, which is pure joy. Even though I live in the hills and gentle mountains of Pittsburgh, PA., the salty ocean is never far from my thoughts. The beach is where I do my best work, think my best thoughts and enjoy the best of life. During my professional years, I worked as a museum professional, and was involved with adult literacy groups. But, when someone asks me about my life’s work, I always say, “I’m a photographer.” That is what defines me.

Before Matthew, South Carolina, Surfside Beach