Donna Ferrato

Donna Ferrato is a photographer who documents both the lives of women and the effects of domestic abuse. In one of her prints she writes “I became a soldier in the war on women. The camera, my weapon.” 

An image from Ferrato’s collection that closely relates to this class is Lesbian couple Jay and Kattain labor with their first child conceived with a turkey baster, a revolutionary act of reproductive independence unheard of at the time, Northhampton, MA, 1993. This image was taken in 1993, a time when two lesbians having children would have been a bizarre phenomenon to the general public. If we look at it through the view of The Legend of Auntie Po, this was a reality and a relationship that Bee and Mei were unable to have. Although it was uncommon when the photograph was taken, it was this couple’s reality and they were able to make that life for themselves rather than give it up. 

One of the most obvious connections is between Saeed Jones’s writing and Ferrato’s The eight year old boy called 9-1-1 to report his father…  The image shows a young boy yelling at his father for abusing his mother. Certain versions of the image have text imposed over top, presumably in Ferratos handwriting; this text provides dialogue for the boy; “ I hate you for hitting my mother. Don’t come back to this house.” A rather intense dialogue for an eight year old boy, we can only imagine what the boy has seen and been through. He has had to grow up much faster than we want to believe, similarly to the character that Saeed Jones writes through. Saeed Jones’s writings are through an innocent and fearful veil, while the photograph from Ferrato is showing the anger and frustration that could come from this as well.


One thought on “Donna Ferrato”

  1. Ferrato seems like a really interesting photographer, even just based on the pictures you’ve shown us here. What you said about the boy, “he has had to grow up much faster than we want to believe,” really hit me because as well as this child forced to deal with his father’s abuse, that is a fundamentally queer experience. Children lacking recognition in older role models become them themselves. Living certain experiences alone for what feels like the first time ages one immensely.

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