Platinum Winner

ONE OF A KIND

Photographer

Donald Graham

Category

Black & White Photography - Portrait

Company

Donald Graham Photography

Submission Group

Professional

Year

2022

Country / Region

United States

“One Of A Kind” began more than thirty years ago when I decided to make a portrait of my mother. She had Multiple Sclerosis, compounded by a severe stroke. She couldn’t move her legs or arms, her hands and face were contorted, and the only words she could say were yes and no. Yet, she lived with a gracefulness, an inner peace, and a smile that I found remarkable. Her relationship with adversity was inspirational. I wanted to make a photograph that revealed who I knew her to be and honored the complexity of her situation. Her portrait began this series of photographs. It became the standard by which I judged all subsequent portraits I made. These photographs honor the diverse cultural and social spectrum of a wide swathe of humanity. I have made these portraits throughout the United States with sojourns in India, Tibet, Jamaica, Africa, and Europe. The portraits are a collaboration. Building trust in order to make a meaningful image takes time. I have to dissolve self-imposed facades, and move past each person’s routine of how to act while being photographed. There is a tendency to perform for the camera, whether that be to act powerful, alluring, or joyous. Instead, I seek to find something more authentic. I ask that people be themselves in the moment because that originates from a place of truth and then the resulting photograph has a chance to enrich our understanding of the complexities of the human condition. I seek a photograph where the face is no longer a beautifully decorated and carefully arranged facade but instead a canvas where the inner world of the person draws unique and complex stories into the face of each person. I think of these photographs as tough stories told with grace that honor the beauty of uniqueness, .

Credits

Carsten Steinhausen, Book Design
Nicholas & David Fahey, Editors
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