© Marisa Donnelly

Environmental Photography (Forest City), May 2015

 

 

I attended Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa from 2011-2015. Living in small-town Iowa was much different than my fast-paced suburb of Chicago, but I have some of the most wonderful memories from that itty-bitty town I learned to call home.

As I prepared for graduation, I knew I wanted to capture pictures of Forest City: the behind-the-scenes of living in a small town and the little things that people often overlook. I realized, as many of my peers prepared to move out of Forest City, that some of the beautiful, simple aspects of this town weren’t appreciated. So I set off to capture these things in my photography: old, worn buildings, clothing on a clothesline, an abandoned wagon, hard-working people, and of course, puppies.

I love how these photographs show the background of a small city that works hard, and has gone through years of wear and tear, but most importantly, years of love.

 

After taking my photos, I created a magazine layout to showcase Forest City – Hidden Treasures: Behind the Scenes of Small Town Life – which can be viewed here.

 

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© Marisa Donnelly

Macro Photography (Flowers), April 2015

Forest City - Flowers

Forest City - Flowers

Forest City - Flowers

Forest City - Flowers

Forest City - Flowers

These photographs have a funny background story, actually. I was driving around my college town, Forest City, Iowa, searching for some over-looked, beautiful things to take pictures of for a photography project, when I found these flowers at a four-way stop. I had to pull over and take a few shots, and it so happened that the lady who owned the home was outside, so I introduced myself to her and started chatting. She was a sweetheart and her tree was gorgeous. Not only did I get some great pictures, but I also met a wonderful person!

My focus with these photos was to capture the beauty of the flowers by bringing them front and center and throwing the background out of focus. I worked with a telephoto lens, macro setting, and zoom. The contrast of the background and the pink flowers, in my opinion, makes for calming, yet dramatic shots.

 

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© Marisa Donnelly

Environmental Photography (Chicago), March 2015

 

 

Chicago is my city, the place I have called home all my life. When I decided to attend the Alpha Chi National Convention in March 2015, I was excited that I would be able to head home for a bit and be in a place I knew and loved!

Because I knew Chicago, and have lived only 30 minutes away since I was born, I became the head of my group of travelers from Iowa. I knew where all the touristy places were, and as I showed everyone around, I started to see Chicago from the perspective of someone who had never visited.

I have always thought Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities. Even with some of its dirt and wear-and-tear, I think it’s beautiful, eclectic, majestic, dynamic, and wonderful. I brought my camera on the trip, and as we traveled, my goal changed from capturing Chicago through my eyes, to also taking pictures from the perspective of someone who was experiencing its beauty for the first time.

These are some classic Chicago shots: Navy Pier, Millennium Park, The Bean, and the skyline, but I tried to get unique perspectives to really capture the essence of Chicago.

 

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