Ian Donald Photography | About
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California. My early training in photography consisted of sitting through lengthy slideshows presented by my dad, a prolific amateur photographer and dentist. His photos mainly captured family trips and embarrassing childhood moments—and on occasion, terrifying close-ups of diseased teeth and gums. My uncle, an archaeologist, contributed shots of half-buried skeletons and of himself, looking thoughtful with goatee and pipe while standing inside carefully dug rectangular holes.

My parents gave me my first camera when I was 7. It was a Kodak Instamatic—one of those pocket-sized plastic devices that took 110 film cartridges and made you feel like a spy. At the time, I used it mostly to snap pictures of my Matchbox car collection, arranged in intricately conceived action scenes.

For years after that, I took a Minolta SLR everywhere with me, snapping photos of friends and the places I lived and visited. But a trip to Kenya and Rwanda with a new digital camera in 2006 ignited my interest in a more serious way, and living in New York City (where I also work as a freelance French horn player) has given me a lot of subject matter. Today I do portrait work and street photography, and shoot landscapes and cityscapes. I also take photos of the musicians I work with, and I have recently become interested in documenting political protests.

I’ve found that when I look at the world through the little rectangular window of my viewfinder, I become more attuned to what is happening around me. A brick wall is no longer just a brick wall. Long running cracks reveal decay, but there is a tiny green plant growing out of one of them. People and shadows pass; the light changes. The details are endless, and they never remain the same.