Local author and photographer profiles ‘Women of Wisdom’

by Jo Ann Brannock

Fullerton resident, Donna Edman, has photographed and compiled a book to honor the wisdom of 49 mature women between 50 and 95-years-of age. The purpose of the book was to share the advice and stories of ordinary, non-celebrity, but wise women. Each of the life stories is about gaining independence, creating a path to follow and following that path, and the hard-won lessons about courage, grace, and strength. Also included is the advice each would give to their 20-year-old selves.  Interestingly, the majority of results of this advice were the sharing of wisdom of knowing oneself and becoming authentic.

Each of the photographic portraits has not been retouched and shows the well-earned wrinkles, age spots, gnarled knuckles, and pounds of these authentic women of wisdom. These women paved the way for younger women and could serve as mentors for the next generation to become their true selves and find their passion.

Edman’s interest in compiling such a book is related to her own experiences of being asked what her favorite color was. She responded that it was “blue” because that was the favorite color of the colleague at work who asked her that question. It was at that moment that Edman realized that she had been living for approval of others and not living for who she was. The revelation of this led to other careers as a social worker, a geriatric care manager with her own company, and later to her present career as an award-winning portrait photographer.  She sees her role in her present job as to help people become who they genuinely are while being photographed.

Author Donna Edman and Joanne Harrold, who is featured in the book. Photo courtesy of Donna Edman

Something special about Donna Edman is that she is always learning. She takes on projects with enthusiasm and a drive to find out the small details of what it takes to accomplish something.  She is a real inspiration, and now, at 67, is also a woman of wisdom.  And what would she say to her 20-year-old self? It’s OK to not be perfect, to try things and fail, to ask for help when you don’t know or understand something, and to not do it all and still be the best.

To learn more about Donna visit