Donna Moncur: Shepherd of Light


Donna Moncur is a portrait and photodocumentary photographer. Moncur lives in New York City.

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Tell us about yourself and your photography. I’ve always enjoyed photography, but hadn’t taken it seriously until a few years ago. The burning desire to create and document the everyday was something that I could not suppress. For a while, I kept comparing myself to others. I felt that my art wasn’t as good as that of other photographers. Then I realized that we all have a story to tell, we all start somewhere. So, for the last few years, I’ve become more disciplined and really tried to execute what I want to convey. My photography has evolved over the years from photographs of my children, to a compelling photo documentary series, to soulful portraits of friends and neighbors. I feel that, more and more, I am finding my voice, my true expression, behind the camera.

You write that you are a “Shepherd of light. Honestly documenting the soulful, fearless and carefree.” Explain. A shepherd is essentially a guide. That is what I do with light. I can’t force it, I have to respect it and guide it to what I want it to accomplish. Light is a very powerful force. When used correctly it can add so much depth and emotion to a photograph. Being a visual storyteller, I start with a general idea of what I’d like to convey, but sometimes that vision changes during a session. During those “vision changes,” when I have listen to my creative voice as it guides me along from my original concept, I’ve produced some of my best work and had some of my most enjoyable times with my camera, searching and discovering. So many times I’ve looked at photographs of myself or of other people and thought, “That is not me, or that is not the person who sat in front of my camera.” I think, as photographers, it is easy to get wrapped up in our “art” and what we expect we’ll see, that we forget there is a subject with a soul in front of us. I document because I love to see your soul, not only with my eyes but with my heart. I want to show you how beautiful and unique you truly are.

Your website and Instagram are very ‘New York’. How does the city shape your art? New York is such a loud and busy city. If you are still enough, you can see different stories being told between the lines. That is my goal. To tell the story amidst the noise. When you step onto the streets of New York, you are immersed in a whirlwind of emotion. This city can chew you up and spit you out. I choose to view the empowerment of what I feel when I walk down the street. New York makes you feel ALIVE! It makes you feel as though you CAN and WILL. That is why I love this city so much. Every day is a new opportunity to slay the concrete jungle. I want you to see things that others may not see, and make you feel things you may not have felt. New York helps me to capture the heart and soul of my subjects, because I feel the heart and soul of New York inside me.

Visit Donna Moncur’s website.

Follow Donna Moncur on Instagram.