A Multimedia Presentation of

All Photographs
© Donna DeCesare

Introduction by Dirck Halstead

Last month, I was sitting in a darkened classroom at the University of Texas, watching a slide show by photographer Donna DeCesare. She had been teaching documentary photography in the School of Communications for the past year, and on this day, she was taking her students on a visual tour of her growth in photojournalism.

Donna believes that the purpose of the photo documentary is, as Henri Cartier-Bresson explained, "to keep a journal with a camera." For the past several decades she has roamed the world doing just that. From the battlefronts of Latin America, to the barrios of Los Angeles, she has been telling the stories of ordinary people caught up in the events of a changing world.

Donna and I had both graduated from the first videojournalism classes taught by Michael Rosenblum in the late 90s, and she learned to weave sound and motion into her storytelling. She was one of the principal contributors to the 'Trauma" series, that took the small video camcorder into hospital emergency rooms.

Donna was born in New York, and holds a graduate degree in English Literature from Essex University in England. After a brief career in book publishing she began working as a photographer and writer. In 1993 she won the Dorothea Lange prize, and in 1997, the Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in Photography, and in 1999 the Mother Jones Photo Fund Grant. Her photo essay, "Deporting America's Gang Culture" in the July/August 1999 issue of Mother Jones won the 2000 Award from the National Center On Crime and Delinquency. Earlier this year, she won the National Press Photographers Picture of The Year contest for an Independent Internet Magazine feature. Her award winning essay can be seen at http://www.crimesofwar.org.

The study of youth identity and gang violence continues to absorb her. She has taken that commitment back into the community and taught photography to at-risk youth at the Latin America Youth Center in Washington, DC, and has worked as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, and Save The Children.

Her photographs have appeared in countless news and arts publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Life, DoubleTake, and Aperture. Her work has appeared in group and solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

We asked her to allow our readers to look at the slide show that she presented to her students in Austin.. We hope you will watch her video interview as you look at her photographs. It is a very personal journey.

Dirck Halstead

Other Links to Donna's work

Enter Donna DeCesare's Photo Gallery

Video Interview
with Donna DeCesare

Camera and Interview by Dirck Halstead.

To view these intervew clips, you must have
the free RealVideo or Quicktime plugins.

Send an email to Donna DeCesare.

Click below

Intro, "Photography was my passion."
Click below
Photography runs in the family.
Bridging borders in Belfast.
Documenting conflict in Central America.
Covering the war in El Salvador.
"I've witnessed terrible carnage."
Finding other vehicles for storytelling.
"It was one of those miraculous moments."
"He didn't want me to photograph me crying."
Photography as a tool for empowerment.
Getting intimately involved in people's lives.



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