Donna Jean

I lived with my 83-year-old grandmother for the year following the death of my grandfather—her husband of 63 years. It was a deeply meaningful and challenging experience for me to witness her grief and loneliness as I was struggling with my own loss. During this time, we became open with one another in ways that we had never been before. After a year, in an attempt to synthesize and understand this experience, I began to photograph her and her home. This evolved into a series of portraits documenting my grandmother’s daily life, beauty routines, and social activities. Together, these portraits offer intimate views of both her private emotional landscape and her public persona.

I am grateful for the authenticity that my grandmother brings to the photographs and for the intimate connection we have developed throughout the process. This ongoing project continues to deepen my understanding of my grandmother, my family, and myself in ways I have yet to fully discover.

Donna Jean McClain
Photo taken by my grandfather in 1953