missing the habit

I have so much to say.

I’ve been away from this practice and away from this space for a few days. I’ve been busy with home improvement projects: cleaning walls and preparing for fresh paint, sorting through the pantry and tossing expired spices, donating household items we don’t need or use, and generally simplifying our living spaces as much as possible.

For a few days, I thought . . . maybe it’s time to give up this photography practice, or at least put it on the back burner. In my typical all-or-none style, I started to feel overwhelmed, and when I feel this way, I reason I’ll feel better, more in control, if only I have less to do. This kinda makes sense on the surface. But in the long run, I know I am better served by striving for balance and adopting a more flexible attitude.

Richmond_GraceStreet_0003.jpg

Even while away from this practice in its usual form, I’ve taken pictures most every day. And without fail, the press of the shutter has left me feeling better. Restored. Grounded.

I don’t have to throw in the towel when things get busy. I don’t have to give up when life is hard. I don’t have to hide when I think I have nothing to share.

Richmond_GraceStreet_0008.jpg

I miss writing. I miss processing photographs. I miss creating. And I miss talking with my photography friends who visit this journal.

Katie Austin of Food for Thought wrote to ask an interesting question about showing my work.

I have been reading David DuChemin’s book, “The Soul of the Camera” and have gotten to the part where he writes about audience and how your images should be able to tell a story to those viewing your pictures. That led me to thinking about what Peter Hurley told us at the photo conference I went to a couple weeks ago and he told us that our images shouldn’t be sitting on our hard drives but that we should share our images, and all that made me wonder about our "job" as photographers and sharing. If you’re not on IG anymore or Flickr or some other means of sharing your work, how do you, Donna, let others see what you’ve been creating?

Wow, Katie, you’ve asked a question that hits to the heart of my worst fears. I worry that without Instagram I am missing out, or perhaps even more concerning, that I am working in total obscurity. That’s why this space is so important to me. This is the place where my work lives, and I share it all here – my heart, my thoughts, my process, and my photographs. My worst and my best and everything in between. This blog is how I let others see what I am creating. I’ll grant you the audience is small, and I’m okay with that.

Richmond_GraceStreet_0010.jpg

But I also show my work in other ways. I’ve had some work published in magazines (Check out the March/April 2018 issue of Click magazine. You'll find me on page 34.) I plan on submitting photographs to three upcoming juried shows. And when the opportunity presents itself, I display my photographs in local coffee shops and cafes. As much as I love showing my work, my real joy comes from sharing my work. When I make a few pictures for the Downtown Greens community garden, or the Music on the Steps for our local library, or for our farmers market my images come to life; they become catalysts to motivate human action.


Photographers . . . are the ones who sort all the chaos of the world into images that bring clarity to the free-for-all of life. They are the witnesses and artists who can distill the mayhem and beauty that surrounds us. They call our attention to the things we miss in our everyday lives and they call our attention to events and people at a great distance from our own patch of the universe. When they direct our eyes and hearts with precision and honesty, we know what we know differently and better. Photographers teach us to look again, look harder. Look through their eyes. –Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, the New York Times Magazine


Photographer Moose Azim, my classmate from Project Development and Fine Art, writes to ask:

If you have time shall we try a little collaboration just for fun?

Moose, The answer is Yes! I’d love to collaborate. What shall we try?

Richmond_GraceStreet_0019.jpg