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  • Writer's picturePhotoED Magazine

Chris Donovan: Complicated Maritime Clouds

When Chris Donovan was a child, he looked up at the smoke billowing from the pulp mill in his hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick, and asked his dad if that was the factory that made all of the world’s clouds. “No,” his father replied. “They make money.”

Chris Donovan is a multi-award-winning documentary photographer who has travelled the world to tell stories with his camera. With patience curiosity, and a gentle approach, Chris produces work that highlights people often ignored by mainstream media, thrusting them into the public sphere. He refers to his interests as finding "the interplay of community and industry" and finds photography compelling because it is a "universal language, accessible to all.

Following formal photography studies at Mount Allison University and Loyalist College, Chris' vast portfolio of impressive work has led him to win the News Photographers Association of Canada's Canadian Photojournalist of the Year award for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018). His work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the Sony World Photography Awards, and the National Newspaper Awards. His clients include Maclean's Magainze, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, ESPN, and many other news outlets

Chris' current and ongoing photo book project The Cloud Factory speaks to the disparity of wealth in Saint John. "This is an important project for me because it's about my home, " says Chris. "Saint John is home to a number of billionaires, members of the Irving family who run the country's largest oil refinery and own dozens of other companies, including all the local newspapers, employing practically the entire city. It's also home to some very high child poverty rates.