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Donna Ferrato’s Camera and Women’s Rights

By: Angelina Wang

Donna Ferrato is a photographer who depicts empowered women. Her works feature women giving birth, taking care of children, and protesting, among other subjects.

Due to the anticipation of the Roe vs. Wade overturn, a collection of her work was timed to be showcased simultaneously. The photographs originate from the book “Holy,” and are on display at Daniel Cooney Fine Art. On each photo is a handwritten caption that provides additional information about the subject. For example, a caption reveals a photo of sinks and a shelf to be from an abortion clinic in San Antonio. Another image shows a mother with a child. The woman’s left arm is a residual limb. The captions display the mother’s words: “Saw my arm off. I’m having this baby, and I’ll need at least a stump to hold my girl.” Because of the mother’s cancer diagnosis, her doctor recommended that she abort her child in order to begin chemotherapy. She chose to have her arm amputated instead of letting go of her child.

One of Ferrato’s most well-known and striking works is “Diamond, Minneapolis, MN.” It shows policemen restraining a forlorn man with his head turned away from his son’s anguished yelling and pointing. The caption reveals that the boy is crying, “I hate you for hitting my mother. Don’t come back to this house,” though the appearance of the photo is more than enough to communicate its message. The photograph paints a shocking scene that remains in one’s mind.

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