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Steven W. Donahue Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2017-003

Scope and Content

The original accession includes 383 photographic prints, and approximately 31,000 35mm and 2.25" negatives, contact sheets, prints, and job files representing Steven Donahue's work as a professional photographer and printer, primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Collection is arranged in four groups: fine art prints, notebooks, commercial work, and miscellaneous prints and negatives.

The fine art prints, boxes 1, 2 and 3, are grouped by size and represent several thematic projects Donahue pursued. CSWR collections focus on regional topics, and the Steven Donahue collection includes an extensive representation of People in the Arts, Urban Places, The West, Petroglyphs, and representative examples of Donahue's other series: Portraits, Still Lifes, Staged Photographs, Michigan, and Ice Crystals.

The notebook contents have been transferred to folders, housing the prints and negatives separately, but generally maintaining Donahue's original order and labels.

The commercial group are job files arranged alphabetically

The final group are miscellaneous negative, slides, color and black and white prints, family snapshots and photographs, reproductions and contact sheets. This group includes a small collection of glass plate negatives associated with Donahue's exploration of printing processes and techniques.


  • 1965-2013

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. Copyright has been transferred to UNM; see Pictorial Archivist for more information. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws.

Biography / History

Steven Wayne Donahue was born in 1944 in Harbor Beach, Michigan. He became interested in photography while a youth, studying nature in the woods of his parents' 160 acre farm. He graduated from the Ray Vogue School of Design in Chicago in 1967, and attended classes at the Illinois Institute of Technology. During his time in Chicago, Donahue was involved with the arts community, especially the Chicago blues scene. He first came to Albuquerque in 1968 as an Army MP, when he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam war. Donahue returned to his family's Michigan farm after his service, but moved permanently to New Mexico in 1979.

He was a professional photographer from 1965-2013, a master color printer in two custom photo labs in Chicago in the 1960s to early 1970s, ran his own photo studio and custom darkroom in Harbor Beach, Michigan (Steven's Studio) in the 1970s, and his studio with custom black and white printing in Albuquerque (Central Photographic) from 1985 until his death in 2013.

Donahue's subjects were people, urban street views, rural places, nature, abstract subjects and mythology. His own work included landscapes, cityscapes and experiential photography with invented scenery, unusual lighting and mirrors. He developed and hand printed his own black and white photos, and was skilled in hand coloring. He photographed and printed work for others, and taught darkroom and studio skills. Donahue was experimenting with digital prints toward the end of his life.

See also: Steven Donahue Photography web site


14 boxes (383 photographic prints, plus approximately 31,000 negatives, contact sheets and other records.)


The Steven W. Donahue Photograph Collection includes photographic prints, negatives, business files and other records related to Steven Donahue's work as a professional photographer, primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Physical Location

B2. Filed in Pictorial Collections; Oversized boxes 1, 2 and 3 are shelved in the Big Box location.

Related Material

Steven W. Donahue Collection in the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library Steven W. Donahue photographs in the Historial Architecture and Landscape Image Collection: Modern, c.1945-, Ryerson & Burnham Archives Archival Image Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago


Boxes 1, 2, and 3 are shelved in Big Box location
Finding Aid of the Steven W. Donahue Photograph Collection, 1965-2013
Edited Full Draft
Cindy Abel Morris
© 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131