INsight Artist, 2012
“The way people think I am is not the way I am at all. People think that I’m this domestic violence photographer who’s angry with men and life or else I’m this love and lust photographer who’s a little bit crazy because I believe in sexual freedom…People might think I’m deviant or something. Deviant Donna. But I’d say that’s true. I do deviate and I digress and I digest. In the end, I’m very normal. I’m a normal deviant.” —Donna Ferrato
Donna Ferrato is a renowned documentary photographer. Her gifts for exploration, illumination, and documentation coupled with a commitment to revealing the darker sides of humanity, have made her a giant in the medium. Ferrato first received critical acclaim for her work that captured the horrors of family violence. Her photographs of domestic violence and its aftermath have become landmark essays in the field of documentary photography, challenging social attitudes and putting a spotlight on the devastating impact of everyday violence. Her iconic book, Living with the Enemy, published by Aperture in 1991, is considered the first clear visual journey into the dark heart of domestic abuse. It has been reprinted four times, selling a record number of 40,000 copies worldwide.
Through exhibitions of her work and lectures across the globe, Ferrato has brought widespread attention to violence against women and girls. A proclamation from the City of New York announced October 30, 2008 “Donna Ferrato Appreciation Day” for her “continued service as an example of advocacy and activism and as a citizen that the city is proud to call one of its own.” In October 2009, the New York State Supreme Court Judges honored Ferrato for her work to encourage gender equality. On Oct 13, 2011, East Hampton’s shelter, The Retreat, honored Donna for her continual inspiration as an activist against the abuse of women.
Ferrato has received numerous awards, including the W. Eugene Smith Grant (1986), the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Humanistic Photography (1987), the Kodak Crystal Eagle for Courage in Journalism (1997), International Women in Media Courage in Journalism Award (1996), the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the School of Journalism at University of Missouri-Columbia (2003) and Artist of the Year at the Tribeca Film Festival (2008).
Ferrato’s current project offers a unique look at the New York neighborhood of TriBeCa. With an intimate, artistic sensibility, the project is capturing one of New York City’s most historic and, now, one of its most exclusive neighborhoods. The photographs reveal the generations of immigrants, gangsters, captains of industry and artists who walked the century-old, cobblestone streets, and captures the manners and mores of today’s denizens who, lured by its old-world grace and simplicity, have made the TriBeCa of today an urban Ground Zero.
Ferrato sits on the Executive Board of Directors for the W. Eugene Smith Grant, and is the president and founder of Domestic Abuse Awareness, Inc. Her work has appeared in nearly 500 exhibitions in museums and galleries world wide, and is included in various permanent collections such as the International Center for Photography in New York City, the Corcoran in Washington DC and the Henry Buhl’s Hands Collection.