Quick hit: Donna Ferrato’s photo crusade against domestic violence

The above image is iconic.  Nan Goldin released this self portrait as part of her photo monograph, ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency‘ in 1986. Goldin’s work was one of self inquiry, groundbreaking in its visceral analysis of intimacy and relationships from her generation. It launched her career as an artist, it also, over time became the vehicle of escape from that relationship.

In contrast, there’s the work of photographer and activist Donna Ferrato, who’s 30 year career in documenting (and helping) battered women has culminated to a new project, ‘I Am Unbeatable’ to celebrate the women who escaped, forged new lives for themselves from their abusers. Ferrato’s work is unique, beyond straight on documentation: she ultimately became a vocal advocate in the fight for victims of domestic violence. Her book, ‘Living With The Pain’ went through 4 reprintings over the past 20 years, ‘the rarest of photographic projects: one  that has significantly affected the problem it documents, helping to change laws and establish and finance domestic violence shelters throughout the country.’

More of her work can be seen here.


SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Syreeta McFadden is a contributing opinion writer for The Guardian US and an editor of Union Station Magazine.

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