Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Donnette Zacca's indomitable love for photography

Published:Monday | January 7, 2019 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer
Donnette Zacca
Solo exhibition of the work of Donnette Zacca ' Issues of Fertility'.
Donnette Zacca stand beside her triptich 'Departure I, II and III.'
One of Donnette Zaca's pieces: 'Gender Power'.

How often have you looked at a photograph and thought, 'How did they do that?' Among a sea of selfies and food shots, some photographs are so intriguing or beautiful that they demand your attention and make you wonder.

But what might be a passing interest for some, the people who make up today's thriving photography community are our eyes to the world.

Whether established artists and journalists or passionate emerging voices, they inform, inspire and amaze while they put our world in a broader context of history.

The indomitable Jamaican artist Donnette Ingrid Zacca, one of the island's premier photographers, believes photographs are visual legacies that after sometime, one can look back at the body of work and have a conversation with the memory still in place.

"Sometimes I have to sit back and smile when I think about how the work of being a photographer is something that I can never escape," Zacca said.

"For much of my life, I held a camera in one hand, even working for several years as a professional. I still think about photography so much, and encounter it professionally now, even though I am retired," Zacca said.

Her artworks consist largely of images taken from the observation of her external surroundings, in addition to more experimental collage-type photography and double-exposure portraits.

"I am obsessed with photography. It consumes me. If you want to lead a fruitful career in photography, then you must be utterly obsessed with photography and creativity. If you're not constantly pushing yourself further outside your comfort zone, you will likely grind to a halt for the rest of your life," she said.


Great accomplishments


Zacca, who retired from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2015, feels she has accomplished a lot in her career. Her training in graphic design, photography and education has contributed greatly to what she does and who she is today.

She has been instrumental in establishing the Jamaica Photography Society, that has been committed to the responsibility of harnessing, encourag-ing, motivating and mobilising individuals with an interest in the art of photography.

"The society stands ready to enhance the photographer's skills and creative visions through workshops, field trips, exhibitions and presentations. We celebrate the beauty of Jamaica, our island home, and support our fellow photographer when necessary," Zacca said.

The Jamaica Photography Society, she said, also seeks to align itself with other creative entities in celebrating the art of photography in Jamaica and to partner with similar interest globally.

"We have, on average, 31 persons and in 2019, we hope to go out more and concentrate on exploring Jamaica's historical spaces," Zacca said.

The Jamaica Photography Society's activities include members' participation in a variety of social expositions, such as the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's annual competition and exhibition, the Liguanea Arts Festival, the Sanaa Studios Art Market and Group Exhibitions, 'Kingston on the Edge' annual exposition, and various presentations at rural high schools.

The society is currently hosting its photographic exhibition, titled 'Celebrating Photography', that officially opened in November 2018 and will go through until February 1. Thirty-three photographers are represented and over 100 pieces of work are hung in this showing.