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Excerpts from Saved: Objects of the Dead, a Book about Objects Saved from Deceased Loved Ones


by Jody Servon and Lorene Delany-Ullman

Saved: Objects of the Dead is a photographic and poetic exploration of the human experience of life, death, and memory. The book features over forty color photographs by NC-based artist Jody Servon paired with prose poems by CA-based poet Lorene Delany-Ullman. In this monograph, Servon and Delany-Ullman chronicle the lives, deaths, and relationships of individuals whose objects are imbued with their emotional and physical senses, then saved by loved ones and friends as an affirmation of their lives.


The work engages readers' collective and individual memories through everyday objects, such as a star ornament and a worn matchbook. The objects are individually photographed on a white background, with close attention to the wear apparent of each surface. Each object embodies a unique presence and biography, and as such, the prose pieces are meant to evoke the relationships, experiences, and memories between the objects of the dead, the relatives and friends who saved them, and the deceased. Based on interviews with the object owners, the language of the interviewee is directly incorporated into the prose, as language too contains the power to mediate loss. Saved is a mixture of object, ethnography, and language combined with a sense of personal intimacy that addresses our human mortality.


Published by Artsuite (Wilson, NC), the book also includes "Mattering," an essay by Cora Fisher, Curator of Visual Arts Programming at the Brooklyn Public Library, and micro-essays with photographs by five artists/authors: Sonya Clark, Alex Espinoza, Erika Hayasaki, Swati Khurana, and Leslie Gray Streeter.


Works from Saved: Objects of the Dead have been shown in over twenty-five exhibitions, published in five literary journals, and featured in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Below are two excerpts:

Matt's Kangaroo


Kitty's Pine Cone


Saved Objects: An Invitation

As part of Saved: Objects of the Dead, we created Saved Objects on social media as a digital space for people to honor those whom they have lost and connect with a community around death, grief, and memory.


To participate, make a photo of an object you’ve saved from a deceased loved one and write a description of why that person and this item is special to you. Submit your photo and text to the Saved Objects project pages on Instagram or, Facebook, or via email to

Jody Servon is an artist, curator and educator who creates socially engaged projects. Her work and collaborations have been in exhibitions, screenings, and publications in North America, Europe and Asia. She is a Professor of Art at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Lorene Delany-Ullman teaches composition at UC Irvine and is the author of

Camouflage for the Neighborhood. In collaboration with artist Jody Servon, their book Saved: Objects of the Dead, a photographic and poetic exploration of the human experience of life, death, and memory, is forthcoming in January 2023.

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