Jock McDonald – The Rurals

Artist Talk Webinar February 19, 2022 at 11am
January 8 – March 3, 2022 (Exhibit Extended)

Photographer Jock McDonald

Artist Talk Webinar: with Jock McDonald. Learn about The Rurals. Join us for a discussion and Q & A. Saturday, Feb 19, 2022, 11 am – 12:30 pm. Click on the video below to see a recording of the Artist Talk.

Opening Reception: Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, 1–4 pm *Must show proof of Covid 19 vaccination to attend.

Exhibit Dates: Jan 8 – March 3, 2022

Location: Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott St., SF

Curator: Melissa Keesor, Director of Harvey Milk Photo Center

Gallery Hours:    T-Th 3–8:30 pm & Sa 11 am–4:30 pm
For purchase inquiries please contact Jock McDondald at,

Kindred Faces of Country Life
By Jock McDonald
Follow on social @thejockmcdonald


The RURALS Project became and continues to be, a project of discovery. It has revealed to me qualities of rural community life that are threatened by technology, not only in these foreign countries, but in the United States as well. The villages I visited in China, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Mexico and Cuba were largely agricultural. The farming in these rural areas is still relatively primitive. This technological “backwaterness” seemed to me to have some positive, as well as negative, results. I feel that the people I met in these villages, despite their tremendous hardships, lead richer lives than many of the highly civilized peoples I met in the large cities of those countries, due to the depth of their sense of connection to others.

This project is a modern journey back in time to a connectedness of soul to soil, of the individual to family. Maybe I am only lamenting the loss of the good old days and the human values of those times. I recognize the vast distance we have covered in a short time the ironic creation of the “global village”, and the dehumanization that comes with technological advances. This is the price tag for the velocity at which we choosing to travel in our modern world.

To sit at a table with three generations of people, after farming all day long with them, singing ancient songs that are handed down through the generations; was a journey into our past, and a way of being profoundly moving experience.

It is with reverence and awe that I have been drawn into the lives of these rural people. I recognize a connection between them and all of our own rural ancestors. I believe that the photographs I took capture dimensions of community life that are disappearing, and not entirely for healthy human reasons. I am not a historian or sociologist, but I believe that when people lose agriculture as their dominant way of living, their societies decay. It is not the loss of farming itself that is responsible for this decay. It is rather, the loss of those qualities of life that require a community’s acknowledged interdependence and communal awareness, and the substitution of either too much individual self-seeking, or subordination of the human community to abstract corporate enterprise. I plan to continue to record these kindred faces of country life throughout the world, to help preserve images of the rurals and the humanity they evoke.

Jock McDonald has photographed the famous and the infamous, the beautiful and the triumphant, the ridiculous and the sublime. Living and working in Napa, CA, McDonald’s work is an exploration of portraiture and landscape photography which aims to capture the essence of humanity by focusing on the bonds that unite, rather than the walls that divide. As McDonald says, “If art represents the highest form of hope, it is my desire to throw visual, emotional weight on our shared humanity.” 

With a successful professional background photographing commercial campaigns for brands like Levis, IKEA, and Gap, McDonald transformed his practice into fine art photography. His signature technique of weaving cut photo strips together has become a symbolic gesture of interconnectedness. Aerial and industrial weavings take a “gods-eye view” that literally and figuratively widen our perspective on nature and human impact. Portraiture has allowed McDonald to connect with people from around the world of all backgrounds, and to share that sense of humanitarian kinship which he senses is vital to a thriving, equitable, and empathetic world. 

Widely collected and exhibited in public and private collections both domestic and international, McDonald continues to expand his practice into public art and large-scale projects as impact continues to be vitally important to the artist. 

Notable exhibitions include the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum Fototeca de Cuba, Texas Tech University, Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakland Museum, DeYoung Museum, Center for Contemporary Arts, Texas, Fortress of Peter and Paul, Leningrad, Ukrainian Republic Social and Cultural Center, Exconvento del Carmen and ITESO Centro Cultural, Guadalajara.

His photographs are in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the University of California San Luis Obispo, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Lehigh University Collection, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

A noted lecturer, McDonald has spoken at the Academy of Art San Francisco, Oxbow School, Portfolio Center, California State University, Cal Poly, City College of San Francisco, and the Saybrook Institute. 


Jock McDonald, born in Vancouver, Canada in 1961, opened his Art studio in San Francisco in 1986.  He is a self-taught photographer whose work –both in black-and-white and color– has achieved national and international critical acclaim for its distinctive use of humanity, our shared commonalities, and qualities of mystery. McDonald’s portraiture, his depictions of world rural life, and Woven works have been widely published and exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including exhibitions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, and Cuba co-sponsored by the Mexican, Canadian, U.S., Cuban, and former Eastern European Soviet governments. His last exhibit, titled, The Light of water was exhibited at the San Francisco International Airport.   


2020      We the People, Projection Project with Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco, CA  

2019      The Light of Water, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco CA.

2017      The Art of Jock McDonald, Found by Maja, San Francisco CA.   

2016      Native Son Vancouver B.C. Canada 

2015      Napa Valley Collects, Napa Valley Museum USA

2013      Liquidity, Havana the Long View, Gallery 16 San Francisco CA. USA

2012      Liquidity, The Journey of Water, Galeria Galiano, Centro Habana, Cuba

2010      One World Portrait,Lehigh University Art Gallery Museum LUAG Gallery, Bethleham, PA 

2009      Water: Liquid: Instability 291 Gallery, San Francisco USA 

2009      One World Portrait, Havana Biennial, Havana Cuba       

2009      One World Portrait, Y2Y Gallery, San Francisco USA

2009      The Perspective Show: Straight Lines in a Round World, Ogilvy New York USA 

2008      The Perspective Show: Straight Lines in a Round World ,291 Gallery San Francisco, California

2007       Being and Seeming, 30 years of Self Portraits, Casa Escorza, Guadalajara, Mexico

2007     “A Series of Series”di Rosa Preserve, Gatehouse Gallery, Napa California

2006      “A Series of Series” Ex Convento del Carmen, Guadalajara, Mexico

2006      One World Portrait, Included in the Biennial, Havana, Cuba

2004 Untitled (Portrait of Gunter Gerzo), Permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, (Santa Barbara)

2004 Terra Firma, The Roots of Community, Portraits of rural life. Museum Fototeca de Cuba, 

              (Havana, Cuba)

2004 di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, Third Annual Benefit Exhibition and Auction (Napa, California) October

di Rosa Preserve Artists – Contemporary Perspectives Art Auction Museum of Contemporary Art, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (Santa Rosa, CA) May

2003 The Rurals: Soul to Soul.  Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX). August – October

The Rurals: Soul to Soul.  Center for Contemporary Arts (Abilene, TX).  March

1999 The Possibility of the Impossible: Rural Portraits of Cuba and the United States of America.  ITESO, Centro Cultural (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).

1998 The Color of Black & White.  Digital Pond Gallery (San Francisco).

1996 The Rurals.  Robert Mondavi Winery (Oakville, CA).  January – March

1996     One Vision: Two Perspectives.  Gallery 16 (San Francisco).  January – February

1995 Journey into the Interior: Photographs of Rural Life.  Vision Gallery (San Francisco).  

1994 Una Visión, Dos Perspectivas: La Fotografía de Jock McDonald (“One Vision, Two Perspectives: The Photography of Jock McDonald”); A Retrospective Exhibition 1984-1994. 

Exconvento del Carmen (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).  Co-produced by the Governor and Minister of Culture of the State of Jalisco, the US Consul General, the Embassy of Canada, and SAR, Ltd.

1994 Here and Now: Bay Area Masterworks from the di Rosa Collection, a featured artist. 

Oakland Museum (Oakland, CA).

Portraits by Jock McDonald.  Academy of Art College (San Francisco). 

1993 The Rurals: Kindred Faces of Country Life in Russia, Ukraine and Southern Illinois

Belcher Street Studios (San Francisco).

1991 Positive Negatives: Portraits of Courageous Russian and American Public Figures

Fortress of Peter and Paul (Leningrad, USSR).

Positive Negatives: Portraits of Courageous Russian and American Public Figures.  

Ukrainian Republic Social & Cultural Center (Kiev, Ukraine, USSR)

1989 Photographs by Jock McDonald.  The Atrium Gallery, Joseph Lurie Company (San Francisco).

Positive Negatives.  St. John’s College (Santa Fe, NM).

Visions in View, a nationwide Eastman Kodak tour.  McDonald’s portraits were the only black-and-white photographs included.

1987 Comic Celebrity Portraits. San Francisco Suicide Prevention Benefit, San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center;  De Young Museum (San Francisco).

1986 Photo-linen Portraits of California Artists.  Fuller-Goldeen Gallery (San Francisco).


2016        The Idea Lounge, Art in Our Own Image, Petaluma, California

2009         The Beauty and Intention of Film, San Francisco California

2008       The Art of Seeing, Sonoma California

2007       Casa Escorza ”The Cultural Power of photography” Guadalajara, Mexico

2007       di Rosa Preserve “Interpreting perspective on Culture” with Bernardo Huzo Gonzales and

               Sergei Samborski

2005     “How To Get There from Here”, City College of San Francisco, Concert and Lecture Series

2004       The Art of Farming,Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

2004      Guest Artist, Master Class.California State University Summer Arts (Fresno)

2004      Teacher, Illustrative Portraiture,Fall 2003 Academy of Art (San Francisco)

2002      I’ve been there and there’s no there there.  Oxbow School (Napa, CA)

Capitalism Versus Communism and the Spiritual Ramifications on the Artistic Temperament.  

 Di Rosa Preserve (Napa, CA).

1997     A Model Approach to Shooting ‘Real People’ and getting Great Results.  PHOTO ‘97 Conference at VISCOMM ‘97(Los Angeles); American Institute of Graphic Arts, Phoenix Chapter (Phoenix, AZ).

1994 A Model Approach to Shooting ‘Real People’ and Getting Great Results.  PHOTO Conference ‘94 at VISCOMM ‘94, Javits Center (New York City); PHOTO West ‘94 Conference at VISCOMM ‘94, Moscone Center (San Francisco).

 1993 Journeys Into the Interior: Photographs of Rural Russians, Ukrainians and Americans.  Saybrook Institute Graduate School & Research Center (San Francisco).

1993 A Model Approach to Shooting ‘Real People’ and Getting Great Results.  PHOTO ‘94 Conference at VISCOMM ‘94, Javits Center (New York City); PHOTO West ‘94 Conference at VISCOMM West ‘94, Moscone Center (San Francisco).

1992 Russians, with Love.  An article in San Francisco Chronicle’s“This World.”  

Lover of the Image.  American Photographers Association seminars and courses: City College (San Francisco); the Academy of Art (San Francisco); and the Art Center College of Design (Switzerland)


The di Rosa Art and Preserve, Napa, CA.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

University of California, San Louis Obispo, CA

Santa Barbera Museum of Art

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum of Photography, Fototeca, Havana Cuba

Stanford University Palo Alto, C

UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA.

Watershed Assets, San Francisco, CA.

Summit Trail Assets, San Francisco, CA.

Max and Franchesca Applegarth

Dr. Jordan and Caroline Shlain,

Michelle and Kevin Douglas

Jim and Jean Douglas

John and Kary Chendo

Kirk and Katheran Citron

Nick and Margo Graham

Kevin and Meridee Moore

Barb Nieman

Albert and Kimberly Brooks