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About the Artist Michael Donald

Having previously shot commissions for the likes of the Sunday Times, Telegraph, Observer and The Guardian Weekend magazines as well as contributing to the illustrative content of a number of book titles, acclaimed contemporary figurative and portrait photographer, Michael Donald obviously arrived at the conclusion he could, perhaps pen his own publication at the end of the day. That day came in 2004, whilst Donald’s coffee table-top book of snaps was entitled, ‘The Regulars: Made in Belfast’; which essentially visually documented the colourful clientele of the John Hewitt bar in the Irish city native to Donald’s Cathedral Quarter. Alongside of his two-dimensional creative efforts, the resourceful Donald has also overseen his artistically-directed portfolio creep into the three-dimensional domain in more recent times, as his 2010 ‘I Scored a Goal in the FIFA World Cup Final’ series of short films and 60 minute documentary was born.

Works By Michael Donald

  • Rolling Stones Large Format Set of 4 by Michael Donald
    Rolling Stones Large Format Set of 4
  • Rolling Stones Medium Format Set of 4 by Michael Donald
    Rolling Stones Medium Format Set of 4
  • Rolling Stones Standard Format Portfolio Set of 4 by Michael Donald
    Rolling Stones Standard Format Portfolio Set of 4
  • Mick - Large Format by Michael Donald
    Mick - Large Format
  • Mick - Medium Format by Michael Donald
    Mick - Medium Format
  • Keith - Large Format by Michael Donald
    Keith - Large Format
  • Keith - Medium Format by Michael Donald
    Keith - Medium Format
  • Ronnie - Large Format by Michael Donald
    Ronnie - Large Format
  • Ronnie - Medium Format by Michael Donald
    Ronnie - Medium Format
  • Charlie - Large Format by Michael Donald
    Charlie - Large Format
  • Charlie - Medium Format by Michael Donald
    Charlie - Medium Format

Conceived and co-directed by Donald and produced by Passion Pictures, the new venture was broadcast to a potential global audience by ESPN and was Sports Emmy-nominated, before clinching a Webby for its considerable efforts in that particular visual arena.
In that same year Donald was fortunate enough to find himself in the enviable position of being able to spend some time in the intimate company of, arguably, the world’s greatest living rock band, The Rolling Stones. Coming about more by accident than design (that old adage about being in the right place at the right time ringing true once again), Donald was afforded the required passages of time up close and personal with Messrs Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood. The resultant, and epically captured black and white photographic manifestations won Donald even further acclaim far and wide, as these candid illustrative expressions of an ageing group of global and generation-spanning music icons garnered much exposure. In addition to the coverage, Donald’s portrait of The Stones’ drummer, Charlie Watts was included in the final exhibition of the 2010 Taylor Wessing Photography Prize at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
In terms of industry and peer recognition and honours, Donald has enjoyed much success over the years in acknowledgement of his sublime photographical endeavours, included amongst which you’ll find a John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award handed out in 2001, an International Photography Award in New York received in 2003, a Photo Review Award in Philadelphia from 2005 and first prize in the Prix de la Photographie, Paris awarded to Donald in 2007. What’s more Donald has had his work showcased on countless occasions and hosted by a number of prestigious establishments at that, which have comprised the aforementioned National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of London (the latter of which we discover some of Donald’s signature work on permanent display) as well as Belfast’s City Hall (again, forming part of the permanent Centenary Exhibition at that location) and various other venues in Berlin, New York and Los Angeles to date.
In summary, Donald was born in Belfast yet has made London his home for the past two decades now, and originally attended the University of Ulster in South Belfast from where he graduated before heading off to see a bit of the world; spending a total of 18 months in New York and India. In the aftermath of his travels – and more pertinently, waking up on a friend’s floor one too many times – Donald decided he better make something of his life and attempt to forge something which resembled a career as such. With this in mind and with his new found purpose, Donald went off in a photography direction, managing to compile a portfolio of his photography work and sending it to various magazine publishers. Such was the overwhelming response, Donald soon found his skills in demand on the contemporary photography scene and set himself up as a freelancer then and there.
Donald undertook something of a personal crusade which he shaped into a worthy project in 2000 when he began photographing the residents of a Hoxton-based block of flats in London that was due to be demolished. This project won awards all over the world and was widely exhibited, bringing Donald to the attention of a myriad of potential clients who quickly started queuing up to have the flavour of the moment cover all their specific photography angles; including all the national press titles here in the UK as mentioned in the intro. A child of Belfast who spent his formative years growing up at the height of the troubles in the 1970s, Donald admits that he was initial influenced by the cornucopia of photojournalism grabbing all the headlines at the time and was said to have been particularly impressed with the imagery that The Sunday Times was producing at the difficult time in Anglo-Irish relations. According to Donald himself he looked up to Don McCullin, whose work for The Sunday Times Magazine was more gentle and empathetic than others during this period, yet elsewhere cites the alternative likes of William Gedney, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank amongst his creative inspirations.

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