I choose where I walk. I pick who I walk with.
I am the maker of my photographs. This is my credo.”
Donna Ferrato, born 1949, Waltham, MA
(Two By Two Client #8, 2023)
INSTAGRAM | WEBSITE
Donna Ferrato is an independent photojournalist and activist who has illuminated the diverse experiences of women for over 50 years. By capturing the extremes—trust and trauma, pain and pleasure —her body of work is a story greater than the sum of its parts.
With her camera, Ferrato’s mission is to change social attitudes and overturn injustice. Ferrato first received critical acclaim for work that captured the horrors of domestic violence in her book, Living with the Enemy, (Aperture, 1991). Since then, she has told the stories of survivors and children of domestic violence, and she reveals the full dimension of women’s lives. Her most recent publication, Holy, published by PowerHouse Books, won the 2021 Lucie Foundation Photobook Award for Best Independent, Single Author Photo Book.
Ferrato has participated in hundreds of one-woman shows and has received awards such as the W. Eugene Smith Grant (1986), Robert F. Kennedy Award for Humanistic Photography (1987), the Kodak Crystal Eagle for Courage in Journalism (1997), and most recently, a public art grant from the NYC Mayor’s Office to create awareness around gender-based violence. She founded a non-profit called Domestic Abuse Awareness, and in 2014 launched a campaign called, I Am Unbeatable, which features women after leaving their abusers. In 2016, TIME Magazine announced her photograph of a woman being hit by her husband (1982) as one of the “100 Most Influential Photographs of All Time.”
Donna Ferrato is based in New York City.
Living With The Enemy
Until I saw a man hit his wife I had been trying to show the beauty of people in love. Shocked that love could go so wrong, I became obsessed with documenting domestic violence. Driven to try to do something about it, I found that a camera was my best weapon.
Sex work is real work.
My mission is to cut through the noise and listen to all women—believers, non-believers, young, old, cis, trans, living, dead.
To follow the flickering of unleashed, bright spirits. That’s what pulls me, like a moth to a flame.