The same out-of-focus treatment is seen in "Untitled (New York City, 1964)," an abstract that shows details of men's bodies as their paths cross on a crowded sidewalk. The sinuous curve of the man who strolls by in the foreground with a cigarette held behind his back transforms this street scene into a graphic design.
Donaghy made a significant impact, and just a few short years after the creation of his first serious photographs, he saw his photos exhibited at Eastman House and at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. Then, in 1969, he dropped out of the medium.
Donaghy says he abandoned black-and-white photography when a series of personal events (he met his wife, Maggie Donaghy, and his cameras were stolen) coincided with his deeply held belief that "there was nowhere to go following that work."
Plus there was the appeal of the counterculture just then emerging, which Donaghy embraced with a vengeance, winding up at Woodstock, living out of a school bus for a time, and then finally arriving in Boulder in 1970, where he joined the city's flourishing Buddhist community. And though he has pursued painting, various craft media and even color photography in the 25 years he has lived in Colorado, Donaghy hasn't taken a single black-and-white photo.
Given the undeniable power of Donaghy's vision, his choice to abandon the medium may strike us as a mistake, indicative of a lost opportunity. But art-making is like that. Others have worked their whole lives and still not accomplished what Donaghy did in a few short years.