A professional photographer since 1977, Arizona-based NYIP Mentor Patrick Donahue has photographed in over 20 countries, earning international acclaim creating incisive images for world-class corporate clients including G.E, Microsoft, Nissan, and Motorola. He’s been an
instructor/mentor at the famed Santa Fe Photographic Workshops since 1998, serves on the faculty of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and is an active member of ASMP and Society for Photographic Education (SPE).
Although fascinated by photography since his teens, Donahue was pursuing a career in public health when an unexpected opportunity changed his life. “We needed to create an illustrated brochure and the ad agency we were working with asked me to shoot the pictures,” he recalls. “They liked my work so much they offered me a job and I jumped into the deep end of the pool and kept swimming.”
“I consider all my photographs to be personal,” says Donahue, “and my goal is creating images that are distinctive, typically with a strong graphic sense, and using simple design elements to create emotional impact. To do that you’ve go to be aware of basic patterns and see their graphic possibilities. For example, I shot an image of an unspectacular road in bad light but I transformed it in Photoshop in 45 sec to create something that looks moody, enigmatic, and foreboding. It was my awareness of the S-shaped line and its potential that let me create a compelling image.”
“My goal is to make pictures I love, and if they pass that test, I consider them successful. However, it’s also important that they make the viewer feel differently after they see them, to motivate them to look deeper, to jog their consciousness. That’s why I’ve found the most useful and productive of the 21 Habits of Successful Photographers is Habit #1 Awareness, or more precisely, constantly sharpening your visual awareness. When we’re very young everything is new and fresh and we have a sense of wonder in everything we see, but as we grow older most of us are sleepwalking. Learning to open your ‘baby eyes’ is key, and that, more than anything else is the tool that’s helped me succeed. My basic message for those I’ll be mentoring at NYIP is simple: Keep your eyes open and you’ll see the possibilities that present themselves. This is what will allow you to explore your world and create visual magic.”
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