MEM Donaldson: MEMD Herself

While museums and archives are closed due to the coronavirus, many of them are posting interesting content online. I regularly use archives and museums to research my writing, both locally in the Highlands and further afield, and I noticed that this week on Facebook IMAG are highlighting their MEM Donaldson photography collection. You can follow their posts on Facebook by searching for “Inverness Museum and Art Gallery”, and they are on twitter @InvMAG.

MEMD is one of my research interests, and a couple of years ago I gave a well-received talk about her at Inverness Museum – here’s the poster from that event:

MEM Donaldson talk at Inverness Museum

MEMD was both a writer and photographer, and her photographs of the Highlands are hugely evocative. Her collection is divided between two sites: basically, the landscape photos are in Inverness Museum, while her photographs of people are in Edinburgh. There is a good short biography of her by John Telfer Dunbar called “Herself” (her nickname), illustrated by many of her wonderful photos.

There are a couple of other people currently researching MEMD, either through her writing or her photography, as well as the interesting story of her life. For example, you can find out more about her on this website, run by a family friend of MEMD who remembers her personally: https://www.ornaverum.org/family/donaldson/mary-e-muir.html. On this site, you can also see one of my favourite MEMD photos, “Girl with Firewood”: during my talk at IMAG I looked in detail at this, telling the story of what happened to the girl in the photo…

 


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