We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Marie Donahue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann Marie, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Regarding the question, I always think of this image: I am 80 sitting and smiling in my rocking chair (after doing a glorious hike), will I look back on my life with any regrets of…”Oh why didn’t I pursue this?” I feel like that is a good meter to go by for a start. If you love what you do then I believe you must continue and not give up. I refuse to be cancelled out. With photography and acting and especially during last year, I appreciated both art forms even more. As time slowed down, I was able to delve deeply into what areas of photography I thrive in and why I love this art from. I am continually inspired by my daily walks and the magic of light. For acting, through my on-line classes and myriad self-tape auditions, my love of storytelling became clearer. Words and life tales feed my brain. I am constantly reminded that I couldn’t imagine my life without taking pictures or telling stories. During this time, I am encouraged to make art in order to bring some levity and brightness. If there was ever a time to keep going, now would be it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The journey is not easy and, honestly, I had some pivots last year and realized I could even combine my acting ability with my visual craft by developing my own online photography classes. In my opinion, when our inner desires continue to persist, it is encouraging us to forge ahead with the ability to adapt. These classes turned out to be really fun and for me it was exciting to discover more female artists as well as photographers of color. I love to share other people’s work when teaching as I find it so inspiring and a great way learn about image making. I am considering recording some classes so people can buy them as packages (Level 1 Photo and so on), so stay tuned for that. My personality is described as warm, funny and easy-going. This makes for a relaxed and productive photoshoot. My commercial work includes headshots, family portraits maternity photos, weddings, and events. My tag line “capturing the best you” is a kind of motto–I’m friendly and really like to involve my clients in the process, making them comfortable enough to make suggestions themselves. So it’s really collaborative. I also have a number of different series, pieces of which have been shown widely in the US, in exhibitions, online, and in private collections. I think letting my art practice influence everything I do also distinguishes my commercial work. Regarding my fine art photography, how I see is a direct correlation to growing up the youngest of a large family. Photography paves a way for me to express how I feel and share what appears in my imagination as well as what I find visually interesting in the world. I photograph details to bring them back to their natural state in order to defy what would blunt their being seen. It is a platform for me to engage an audience and be heard. The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to truly be patient and keep an open mind and heart. There are going to be setbacks and some failures but with those always comes better work. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to my talented friend, Aubyn Philabaum of Book The Room Coaching. She is an amazing actor and coach. In the beginning of the pandemic with the stay at home orders in LA, self-tape auditions became abundant and I didn’t feel quite ready for the pivot in the industry. Aubyn’s incredible intelligence, intuition and warmth helped me become a better actor. When you are ready be sure to contact her. Another shoutout goes to Ann Jastrab who is the Executive Director at the Center For Photographic Art in Carmel, CA. Her weekly online lecture with various talented photographers has been so inspirational this past year. Learning about other artists and their creative process has been a lifesaver during the pandemic.
Website: photography – www.annmariedonahue.com.
Instagram: Photography: annmariedonahue_fine_artist. acting: anniedonahue_actor
Hi – The first two photos are from acting. The photo of me with blue jacket and glasses: Brad Buckman Photos of me in green velvet jacket plus the one on red sofa: Alicia Lyman