Invocation Matte-photo rag paper, archival ink and satin uv coating on board 26 x 40 inches DBO 013G

Black Curtain

The 1920s was an era of change and exploration for all walks of life.  While congressmen were making back room deals with gangsters, and flappers and dandies roamed the countryside, the upper echelon (the bourgeoisie) were coming out of the old Victorian order and would through lavish parties of excess and decadence.  It was also fashionable to dabble in the Black Arts.  In “Black Curtain”, a story is told of a performer being brought back from the dead to entertain the guest at one of these parties.

Brother Dorn’s “Black Curtain” series was created from a group art project spearheaded by the musician Ben Lovett.  It was shot in a 5 story Mason Temple that had been closed to the public for over 70 years in Asheville, NC.  Musicians, actors, set designers, hair stylists, make up artists, wardrobe stylist, a film crew and over a hundred extras all dressed in 1920’s fashion and piled in for 3 days to shoot a long play music video based around the song “Black Curtain” by Lovett.

Working in tandem, Brother Dorn was asked to create the “Still” art along side the motion.  So while the film crew was set up on the fifth floor shooting a theater scene, Dorn would be in the dungeon shooting an séance, or after a video take, Dorn would step in to direct the still shot.  Black Curtain was a true passion project for all involved.


This fun little flapper photo art project was inspired by a haircut:  Anessa Ramsey’s haircut to be specific.  At the time, we (that is Nate & Travis) had been working on another photo series titled “The Chronicles of Follicles” and had decided that a little recess from shooting big hairy bearded men was needed.  So, after spotting an inspirational coiffure, an aged period piece dealing with flappers seemed to be just the ticket.  We don’t think Anessa really knew what she was getting into when we recruited her, but, we were more than happy with the results and we think she even had a little fun herself.  That was the beginning of the “Flapper Dapper Art Show” and from there we went ahead and set up more shoots with other willing friends.

The Roaring 20s was a pretty cool time to be alive. It was a time of celebration and dance, radio was new, and Louise Armstrong was king.  People would dance all night long in gin mills or speakeasies while doing “The Shimmy,” “The Fox Trot, ” or “The Charleston.”  Cheaper cars and voting rights allowed women to experience new freedoms, resulting in the birth of the flapper.The flapper was the “new woman.”  She drank, she smoked, she voted, she danced, she wore make-up, she cut her hair short, and she took risks. These women were young, carefree, and sometimes a little awkward, but as they broke away from social norms, they had both an image and an attitude that still resonates with women today.

From an early age, Nate and Travis wanted to be “DornStars”.  Yes, that’s correct, “DornStars”. This exemplifies their creative and off-beat personalities, their philosophy on life, and their approach to photography- have fun while creating dynamic images.  The Brothers Dorn were raised in a family of artists so it wasn’t a stretch for them to continuing at Georgia State University in the visual arts.  Professionally, they have been working together since 2000, have won many awards and honors for their photography and sketch comedy films. The Brothers are also very active in the local indie film scene and commercial photography groups here in Atlanta, as well as their own individual projects.  On a side note, the DornBrothers are known for their ever-changing facial hair, you may need to meet them a few time to recognize them.

Ghost of Old Highways

Had I chosen differently, would I be a different person?  Had I taken a different path, would I have still ended up here? These choices not taken, these wonderings, these regrets are the things that haunt us; these are the Ghost of Old Highways.

In a rare opportunity, the DornBrothers teamed up with filmmaker Dan Bush, and singer/actor/producer Ben Lovett to create “Ghost of Old Highways”.  A short film based on the song that also became a traveling art show.  The DornBrothers were actors in the film, help provide wardrobe, shot B-Roll, production stills and created these art pieces.  Also on board was LA prop maker Jessie Clarkson and wardrobe specialist Caroline Dieter (Southeast Costume Company).

The images are based on the film, which is a graphic dreamscape driven by the score. While being pursued by solders, ‘Our man’ is literally chasing himself through different moments of his past in order to change certain events in his life.  Appropriately, the story is set in the era of the civil war, a time where the country is at war with itself. Our man, after viciously destroying other versions of himself ends up exactly where he began, thus posing the question, can we change?

The DornBrothers (Nate & Travis Dorn) have been working together in Atlanta for over 10 years their films and photographs are generally whimsical, ironic or based in dark comedy, but always story driven.

Certainly one can say, we are the products of our choices, but I would submit that we are not always the products of our realities.

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