Donavon Smallwood - On Starting Out

In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats to artist Donavon Smallwood who uses the camera as a means of exploring humankind. Through intimate images that transcend surface, he cultivates a deeper sense of consciousness. Despite only shooting for a few years, Donavon has crafted his own visual language, one rooted in a community and a connection with the divine. 


In Languor, his first book - an ode to NYC’s Central park - he accentuates the beauty and stillness of nature as well as creating some powerful encounters with strangers. With the pandemic and the history of Seneca Village in mind, the project explores hidden histories and how they impact belonging. The work is an examination of ideas about nature, home, tranquillity, and escape. 


In this conversation, we discuss Donavon’s creative process and journey in the industry so far. We talk about balancing commercial, personal and editorial work, influences and his hopes for the future. 


Follow Donavon on Instagram @xdonavon Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram. If you've enjoyed this episode, PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe five stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth. We will be back very soon. For all requests, please email

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