John Donat 1933-2004 – Photographer, Filmmaker, Broadcaster, Writer, Lecturer

John qualified as an architect and then travelled with Peter and Elizabeth Ahrends, Richard and Mireille Burton and Paul Koralek through Turkey to Persia. He discovered Islamic architecture and encountered magic on the island of Aght’amar in Lake Van, Turkey. The newly qualified architect virtually became a photographer on that spellbinding island.

He returned to London to work as an architect in the LCC Schools Division – but photography was beginning to take over leading to a crisis of choice.

He then escaped to Crete to photograph the island and its late Byzantine frescoed chapels but was really there to decide the future: architect or photographer? Decision made, he returned to freelance as a photographer, broadcaster, writer – all and always about art and architecture. As he put it: “Crete had set me free”.

Photography always came first. He only worked for the best, his client list reads like a roll of honour and his pictures have been published online and in all the major magazines and in countless books. Only a glimpse of the highlights can be seen here of the colossal archive which itself is ripe for publication as are Holloway Prison RIP, the Bazaar of Isphahan and those Cretan frescoes – in colour…

He also wrote a Report for the RIBA: Architecture in Television and Broadcasting and subsequently contributed to more than 100 programmes on radio and TV.

He delivered one-man shows at the RIBA, for the British Council and of the British Library at the Venice Biennale and made presentations – worldwide – on Architecture Art and Life as the theme encompassed by this Website.