Donna Cameron: History
Please note this is an old version of this entry, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Subjects: Others
  • multimedia
  • cpe
  • paper-emulsion

Basic Information

Donna Cameron
Name: Donna Cameron
(Apr 1951–)
Mishawaka, Indiana U.S.
Titles: Artist Scholar Inventor
Affiliation: Unknown
Honor: Unknown

1. Introduction

Donna Cameron (born April 7, 1951) is an United States multimedia artist, scholar and inventor. She is best known for the invention of cinematic paper-emulsion film (CPE), for which she was issued a U.S. patent in 2001.[1] Her CPE multimedia films, photography and videos are represented in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York City .[2]

2. Early Life and Education

Cameron was born in Mishawaka, IN, and was raised in New York City and New London, Connecticut. Her father, Dr. Donald P. Cameron was a pharmaceutical drug designer and organic chemist, and her mother, Carmela, was an educator.

Cameron moved to Chicago to earn a BFA in Film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), graduating in 1980. Eventually she moved back to New York and earned a master’s degree (MPS) at New York University's Inter-Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2009 and an MA in New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies in 2019 at the Tisch School of the Arts .[3] During her time at SAIC, Cameron worked with American media artists Robert Breer and Ken Josephson. Cameron also worked in black and white photography at The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)[4] with American photographer Harry Callahan and studied intaglio with Swiss artist Dadi Wirz. In addition, she acquired impressionist landscape painting techniques in Paris, France in the Atelier Ferdinand Herbo with French master seascape painter Ferdinand Herbo.[5] At The Art Students League of New York she received two scholarships to study with noted American painters Richard Poussette-Dart and Marshall Glasier, a student of German expressionist George Grosz.[6] At NYU, Cameron studied social media sciences with Clay Shirky, cinema history with Dr. Dana Polan and documentary film production with filmmaker George Stoney.

3. Professional Career

3.1. Early Work (1970-1991)

Cameron was first noted for her “lyric poetic” cinema and her invention of a paper fiber film emulsion technology, which she has employed in over 30 films and four portfolios of photography since 1970.[7]

In 2001, The United States Patent Office awarded Cameron a patent for her invention of "Cinematic Paper Emulsion" (CPE).[1] She has been referenced in the Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas ,[8] The Chicago Tribune by Bill Stamets,[9] and the Reading Eagle by Tony Lucia,[10] among others for the invention.

Cameron’s independent film work is supported and distributed by the Museum of Modern Art, NY Department of Film and Media’s Circulating Film Library,[7] as well as Canyon Cinema, the Film–Makers’ Cooperative, NY[11] and Lightcone film distributors in Paris, France.[12]

Cameron with artist Mike Kuchar in 1995.

In the 1990’s, Cameron explored documentary filmmaking with Confidential Do Not Duplicate, a film about the 1987 unsolved murder of her youngest sister, PFC. Beth Ann Cameron.[7] Drawing on her experience as a professional journalist for the Miami Herald,[13] the film was released in 1991.[7] This film premiered at MoMA’s “What’s Happening Series” and is also accessible in the Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media Collection of the Bobst Library at NYU. Prior to this, Cameron directed thirteen short experimental films, including fauve (1990), which was purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) NY Film Archive in New York.  The Cameron titles purchased for the MoMA Film Archive collection and distributed by the MoMA Circulating Film Library include Fauve (1990) with original music by Peter Wetzler;[14] NYC/Joshua Tree (1991), with original music by Don Militello; Autumn Leaves (1994) with original music by Gian Andrea Tabacchi ;[15] Jazz Elegy (2000), and Projector (2005) both with music by Mark Stewart,[16] and voice by Andrew Sloan, Brokn Bridge and LIFEtranspo (2011), both with music by Samir W. Zarif.[17] She has been commissioned to compose films by Maestro Fredrick Kaufman, founder and Director Emeritus of the Music School at the Florida International University in Miami. Her work was recommended by a committee of scholars and curators to the MoMA Circulating Film Library in 1990 and continues to be collected and represented in its archives.[18]

3.2. Current Work (1992-)

From 1987-1991, Cameron produced and directed a noted feature length experimental multimedia portrait of American filmmaker Shirley Clarke,[19] with whom she worked on Clarke's request. The work, “Shirley Clarke In Our Time” premiered at the Museum Of Modern Art in 1994[20] and selected for representation by The Museum of Modern Art Circulating Film and Video Library in 1995.  In June 2000, Shirley Clarke in Our Time was featured in the MoMA's Millennial Show Making Choices: MoMA 2000.

The film, made originally on 16mm film and 3/4" U-matic videotape and mastered on 1-inch videotape,(16) was re-mastered in 2011 on a DVD that celebrates Clarke's legacy in Independent World Cinema in a two-part cellphone documentary featuring New American Cinema founder Jonas Mekas,(23), also a contemporary of Clarke's.[11]

Cameron's CPE film fauve was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Millennial show, “The Color of Ritual, The Color of Thought: Women In Avant-Garde Film in America”.[21]

Cameron filming Gothic (1994)

At the 53rd Venice Biennale[22], Cameron's CPE films and documentaries collected by the MoMA Circulating Film Library and the MoMA Film Study Center were featured con latere  in the contemporary arts gallery at La Galleria Ca’ Rezzonico. [23]

Cameron co-directed, filmed and edited a documentary with Spanish-American artist-filmmaker Angel Orensanz, “The Orensanz Portfolio”, a film about Orensanz’ international art exhibitions. “The Orensanz Portfolio” was added to the MoMA’s Circulating Film Library collection in 2005.

Other noted Cameron avant-garde documentaries in the MoMA collection include Thunderbolt (2000), a live video dialogue with the late painter, sculptor and educator, Vivienne Thaul Wechter. Thunderbolt was screened at the MoMA, Ramapo College and at the NYU Directors Series Program the same year. [24]

Midway through the decade, Cameron released P.G. Titus (2006), one of a series of documentary moving image essays on the life and family history of Italian sculptor Pietro Guiseppe Tito.

Cameron has lectured and taught at a variety of universities and schools, including The New School University (filmmaking), The International Center for Photography (multimedia film and photography) and the School of Visual Arts (Computer Thesis Production). She has produced several original courses for New York University,[25] including the first multimedia production workshop in the Department of Film and Television (1997), a “Video for Photographers” class (1999) in The Department of Photography and Imaging, and the first hybrid portraiture studies humanities course in the  Open Arts program, all at NYU’ Tisch School of the Arts.[25]

Cameron has also lectured on film and filmmakers at international museums, such as The National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and The Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, France.

She teaches media production aesthetics at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Department of Open Arts.[25]

4. Awards

Cameron is the recipient of three MacDowell Colony Fellowships (1998, 1999, 2000)[26] and two Jerome Foundation Fellowships (1980, 1991)[25] for her portfolio in Film, Video and Photography. She was awarded a Jurors’ Choice Award (1991), and a Jurors’ Citation Award (1994 and 1996) at the Black Maria Film Festival.[27] She was named an Elodie Osborne Fellow of Film and Video in 2000.[10] She was twice awarded a Jose de Creeft Memorial Scholarship for Painting at The Art Students League of New York. In 2004 she was nominated for a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship.[25]

5. Journalism and Writings

Cameron has been a frequent web writer, art reviewer, interviewer, newsletter, brochure and flyer designer, print journalist and photographer for Manhattan Arts International Magazine,[28] The Museum of Modern Art, NY, Department of Film, The Film-maker’s Cooperative, The New York Film/Video Council, The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts, NY and the Miami Herald Newspaper.[29]

5.1. Publications:

Cameron is included in Making Images Move/ Handmade Cinema and the Other Arts, an anthology by Gregory Zinman.[30] 100 New York Photographers, an anthology by Cynthia Maris Dantzic[31] and The Animation Bible, an anthology of the history of animation arts by Maureen Furniss.[32] In 2007, Spuytenduyvil Press published her monograph, Donna Cameron.[10] Cameron has been profiled in the Marquis’ Who's Who Of American Women  and by film scholar William C. Wees, Professor Emeritus of Film at McGill University in his in his book, “Recycled Images” (1993, Anthology Film Archives.)[33] She is featured in the filmmaker Mike Kuchar's short film portrait, Donna Cameron at Work, (1991) and has performed in cameos in George Kuchar’s personal and class project works on video. Her digital film and essay “Remix for Shirley” (2019), is featured in the 2021 The Routledge Handbook of Remix Studies and Digital Humanities, edited by Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher, and xtine burrough,  in the section Part 4: Aurality and Visuality, 32. Hacking the Digital Humanities: Critical Practice and DIY Pedagogy.

The content is sourced from:

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions.


  1. "Method for making paper emulsion cinematic film" patent, issued 1991-06-12
  2. "Donna Cameron | MoMA" (in en). 
  3. "Donna Cameron". 
  4.    Sweeney, John. “Donna Cameron Comes to the Entrance Gallery.” Interview with the Artist, 13 Nov. 1996.
  5. Anonymous. “Une Américaine á Saint-Jean-De-Monts: Dona Cameron Peintre De Talent.” Presse-Ocean, 23 July 1985.
  6. "Marshall Glasier | MOWA Online Archive". 
  7. MOMA. “The Films of Donna Cameron (1979-2007).” 29 June 2008, New York City, Museum of Modern Art.
  8. Thomas, Kevin. “Cameron's Experimental Imagery.” Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 1991, p. F12.
  9.   Stamets, Bill. “Cameron Leaves Camera at Home.” Chicago Tribune, 20 Oct. 1991.
  10. "Donna Cameron". 
  11. "Donna Cameron - The Film-Makers' Cooperative" (in en). 
  12. "Light Cone - Donna CAMERON". 
  13. Museum of Modern Art. Directors Series Program, MOMA, 1992.
  14. "biography". 
  15. "Light Cone - AUTUMN LEAVES". 
  16. "Canyon Cinema : Filmmaker" (in en). 
  17.   Cameron, Donna, director. Samir W. Zariff & Donna Cameron "Live Reel @ The Millennium" In Memoriam: Beth Ann Cameron . YouTube, Google, 19 Aug. 2010,
  18. "Donna Cameron - Biography" (in en). 
  19.   Cameron, Donna, director. Shirley Clarke In Our Time (Preview). YouTube, Google, 26 June 2015,
  20. Center, Lincoln, director. Q&A With Donna Cameron, "Shirley Clarke: In Our Time". YouTube, Google, 11 Feb. 2013,
  21. Taubin, Amy (2000-06-25). "FILM; Women Were Out Front, Too" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  22. Cameron, Donna. “Donna Cameron-American Artist.”, 2 Aug. 2014,
  23. "Ca' Rezzonico - Ca' Rezzonico information and pictures". 
  24. Museum of Modern Art. Multiple Media-Singular Vision, MOMA, 1996.
  25. "Donna Cameron". 
  26. Release, Press. “The MacDowell Colony Announces New Support for Filmmakers - News.” MacDowell, MacDowell Colony, 15 Jan. 2009,
  27. "Don Militello Biography". 
  28. Cameron, Donna. “‘Video Is a Live Eye’ at the Whitney.” Manhattan Arts International, vol. 15, no. 1, 1998, pp. 24–26.
  29. Cameron, Donna. “Big As Life.” Http://, 1 Jan. 1998.
  30. Zinman, Gregory (2020). Making images move handmade cinema and other arts. Oakland, California. pp. 121–122, 131. ISBN 0-520-97258-9. OCLC 1100435260. 
  31. Dantzic, Cynthia Maris (2009). 100 New York photographers. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-7643-3340-8. OCLC 320189271. 
  32. Furniss, Maureen (2008). The animation bible : a practical guide to the art of animating, from flipbooks to flash. New York: Abrams. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-8109-9545-1. OCLC 156785117. 
  33. Wees, William C. (1993). Recycled images : the art and politics of found footage films. Anthology Film Archives. New York City: Anthology Film Archives. pp. 10. ISBN 0-911689-19-2. OCLC 28886131. 
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