Read Prairie Donahue’s Story in the tell all book “Perspective”
Today I am interviewing Prairie Donahue a photographer that some would say is eccentric, and some might say incredibly talented, still others say she is perhaps too trusting of an individual. Prairie’s story as told by author Gail Harkins has set some tongues to wagging. So with that in mind I will let the lovely Prairie Donahue tell us herself who she is. It is our hope to find out from this woman if she feels she was portrayed fairly by Gail, or if this is her way of setting the record straight.
1. Prairie in your own words, who are you?
Me? I’m just a photographer. A fine arts photographer, but I’m just getting started in the field. I’ve had a couple of exhibits now…
2. Where do you live? And where do you call “Home”
I moved to Toronto this year from Vancouver, and I grew up on Mayne Island, British Columbia. My folks are on the island, and a big part of me claims that as home, but I love the big city vibe here in Toronto. This is where I’ve longed to be so, I guess this is really home to me now.
Sunrise on Mayne Island
3. Prairie as a young 20 something woman, what do you think is the most defining event so far in your life?
The Fabulous Molly Quinn As Prairie Donahue
My defining moment probably would be the decision to move here. I didn’t exactly know how to go about it, but family and friends helped me figure it out. Artistically, I would have to say the decision to focus on feet is defining. That was kind of an accident, though.
4. An accident?
I had some photos – a lady in boots with her feet up in front of a fireplace, a man in city boots with a maple leaf stuck just above the heel, close-ups of ski boots on the slopes. They tell a story, but at the time I wasn’t sure what that story was. Anyway, I was showing my other work to a gallery owner and she accidentally saw my foot photos. They piqued her interest and she referred me to my agent. Since then, I’ve been photographing feet almost exclusively.
5. Would you be the same person now if that had not happened?
Yes, just not as successful.
6. Okay so you are obviously a very attractive woman, how has your physical beauty helped or hindered you in your quest to achieve your goals?
Thank you. Beauty is good for the first five seconds of a conversation. It helps a woman be noticed and sometimes to get that first conversation with a gallery owner or potential buyer. After that, it’s largely irrelevant. Serious owners and clients will focus on the work, which is good.
7. Prairie, there is no doubt as to your intelligence. What do you plan on doing with it in the future?
Right now, I’m planning my next exhibit, and I’ve just become engaged. We haven’t set a date yet, but we’re talking about the spring.
8. Prairie, it would seem according to Gail that you also have a serious side. What can you tell us about that side of you?
That’s the side that stays up nights obsessing about getting just the right shade of red in a photo to make it pop. A good photo, not even a stunning photo is enough to become successful. I’m still learning the business side of the art world, but I have the help of a good agent.
9. How did (and does) the awkward and scandalous scene that erupted at the gallery opening… Yes Prairie that opening, the one where you found your lover with the wife you knew nothing about affect you?
Gads, I’d hoped you hadn’t heard about that. It was mortifying. He was an old friend of mine. So you’d think I could trust him, eh? We’d been out of touch for a while, but nobody – none of my friends of family had heard a word about his marriage! It turns out the gallery owner who gave me my first break was his wife. It was a shock to both of us, as I’m sure you gathered from the newspaper accounts!
10. Tell us Prairie, how do you think your friends see you?
That’s a hard one. I’d say they probably have figured out I’m a little bit shy. They’d say my camera is my shield. It lets me be in the moment without being of the moment. Does that make sense?
11. How about your enemies? Do they see you in the same light?
I don’t think I have any enemies, though maybe some people who don’t like me. They might question why I would give up island life and move cross country for a life that’s so different from their own.
12. Prairie, you obviously opened up yourself to Gail knowing she intended to share your story. How in your mind does Gail see you?
She shared a bit of her story with me and we have some things in common, growing up in a rural area and moving to a major city after university, for example. She seems to understand the challenges and, okay, the insecurities of freelancing. If I had to put it in one word, I’d say she basically sees me a young, with potential.
13. Prairie, do you think Gail portrayed you accurately? Or is this your way of setting the record straight?
Gail and I have developed a good friendship. I consider her a mentor.
14. What do you think of yourself?
Tons of potential!
15. Growing up did you have a hero?
My mom. She is an artist and found a way to have a professional life and a family.
16. Prairie, what do you want out of the rest of your life?
More of the same, I suppose. I want to become a major artist…a household name, eh?
17. And what do you need?
I love the hustle-bustle of the city. I take energy from it. And, of course, good friends and a little down-time.
18. Can you tell us what makes you the happiest?
I love being outdoors with Denis, my fiancé. We like to fly stunt kits at the lakeshore with friends, and we recently adopted a puppy. We’re still deciding on what to name him.
19. Are you afraid of anything or anyone?
Hmmm. Maybe of making mistakes, but then, I’ve made plenty and survived, so that’s not a good answer.
20. What makes Prairie Donahue angry?
Cruelty. I hate it when people treat animals and other humans poorly. I was so proud of Denis when he started volunteering at an animal shelter. That’s where we got our puppy.
21. What does Prairie regret the most?
Not moving to Toronto sooner.
22. You have been betrayed in the past. How has that affected your personal relationships? How about your love life?
I think I’m still pretty trusting. I’ve found a great guy and he’s consistently been there for me, which is important. And, he makes me laugh.
23. Prairie, you were born and raised on a coastal island. How has that helped or hindered you in your attempt to create a life in the city?
They’re two completely different environments, but they each have their own special energies. I prefer the city, for now at least, but growing up on an island had helped me really appreciate the opportunities in the city, and, when I go back to the island, the beauty and tranquility of nature.
24. Prairie, do you keep your promises?
I certainly try!
25. I know there are a lot of men (and women eat your hearts out) who would never forgive me if I did not ask this next question. Do you have a true love? Can you tell us who it is?
My fiancé, Denis, of course.
26. How would you describe your relationship with Denis, how about with Liz?
I’ve told you about Denis. He’s incredible. Liz is probably my best friend here in Toronto. She really helped me make friends when I first moved her and is a great influence for me.
27. Prairie, what is your most closely guarded secret?
If I told you it wouldn’t be secret, now would it?
28. And what is your most prized possession? Why?
That would be my Leica, for obvious reasons. I splurged recently on the “M edition 60”.
Lecia “M” Edition 60
Thank you Prairie! And thank you Gail Harkins for bringing Prairie to our attention.!
Author Gail Harkins
Purchase the whole story here!