Donna Pinckley

Donna Pinckley, a native of Louisiana, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Louisiana Tech University in 1984 and a Master of Fine Arts in photography from University of Texas at Austin in 1990. She has received Visual Artist Fellowships from the Mid-America Arts Alliance/NEA and the Arkansas Arts Council. Today we take a look at her series titled, Soul Object. 

Ryder with goggles Miller with shield

 Soul Objects 

For over twenty years I have photographed a particular social and cultural group of children in their own environments as an endeavor in portraying them as they see themselves. The children I photograph are neighbors, children of friends or even children who are friends of previous subjects. The distinctiveness of my work is the intimate relationship between my subject and my audience.

To achieve this I concentrate on each subject’s mood or feeling and ask them to place themselves in a comfortable surrounding and at times, to include something that is very personal to them. By utilizing the environmental context in this way I am able to reveal an intimate part of the individual and establish a strong personal connection with them. As a result, the portrait is an honest portrayal of the subjects at this particular moment in their lives and it also serves as a document of this fleeting time. Through the photograph I establish a trusting relationship with the subject and this synergy forms a bond that carries over to the viewer.

I am decidedly a photographer and storyteller. The story, as contained within the photograph of each of these children, is told through the details of the environment surrounding them, their stance, the objects they choose to be photographed with and ultimately, their expressions. Within the split second of capturing the photograph all these things are visible and therefore, less fleeting than the actual experience of being an adolescent.

Courtney with slinky Ryder with camera Jackson with pink phone MaryKate with Jasmine Clementine with mannequin   Mackenzie with boxDonna_Pinckley_15Emily with dolls Sophie with ball Sydney with yarn Marley with guitar Skyler with voodoo doll

Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 200 solo/juried shows and also included in several public collections, such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Louisiana, the University of Vera Cruz at Xalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, and the Photographic Collection at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, she won Honorable Mention in the Black and White Spider Awards and in 2013, she won third place at The International Photography Awards (IPA). In 2011, she won the Gold, Silver, and Honorable Mention at the PX3 Prix De La Photographie in Paris, France. She has also won Honorable Mention at the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards. She has been published in GEO Germany, The Photo Review magazine, Black and White, Photography Quarterly and the online photography publications, www.lensculture.com and www.oneonethousand.org.   She is currently Associate Professor at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas.  Today we share her series, Soul Objects.

To view more of Donna’s work, please visit her website.



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