Seth Donnelly: A Senior Profile Portrait by Sacha McDermott (2015)
Seth Donnelly has been a teacher in the MVLA school district for 16 years, but before teaching he was a full-time activist. For nearly 7 years he lived in Chicago and worked as the director of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He worked to free prisoners on death row that were innocent and or had been victims of police brutality. Last December Seth held a peaceful march for justice, drawing people from both MVHS, LAHS and the overall community. Seth encourages his students to have a voice and opinion and fosters an activist spirit in his classroom.
For this shot I wanted to set him up behind his desk because the lighting was very good. I had him orient himself so that he was facing the camera and there was light in his eyes. I struggled slightly with framing him so that the pictures in the background are visible but not distracting. I ended up having to photoshop out half the background to make a blank wall. Luckily Seth was very easy to photograph and had a nice, relaxed air about him. His emotions were genuine and and his smile wasn’t forced.