Write Around PAM: Melodie McDaniel

Morganne with Ebony. Melodie McDaniel. 2017. Photograph, archival pigment print. 33" x 44". Black and white photograph of a young Black individual posing on a tall black horse in a field of short grass in front of a light cement brick building with a palm tree to the left. The tall, thin rider is wearing black riding boots, jeans, a light colored t-shirt with undecipherable letters on it, and a plaid shirt tied at the waist. The rider is laid back in the saddle, back arched across the back of the horse, right arm gently extended holding the reins straight, and left arm outstretched, hand resting near the horse's tail along with the rider's ponytail of long braids. The tack has a simple design of thin leather straps and small silver buckles. The horse stands, left foot forward, head raised, mane blowing in the wind, with nose and mouth partially out of frame and slightly out of focus.

When was the last time you felt really free? In your body, in the space around you, in your mind? This piece by Melodie McDaniel offers a moment to notice, to reflect, and to celebrate those moments in our lives when we have been able to let go, to take deep breaths, to trust, and to rest. We invite you to spend some time today writing, using this piece as inspiration. We’re thrilled to feature McDaniel’s photography in the Ansel Adams in Our Time exhibition, opening in May. Learn more about her work at and about Compton Jr. Posse, an equestrian program that provides training and mentorship to Southern California youth, at

We have two prompts to help you get started. As always, you can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Set a timer for 9 mins and just keep your pen or pencil moving.

I am myself when… / That was the moment…

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the spring. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM @melodiemcdaniel

Melodie McDaniel, (American, born 1967), Morganne with Ebony, 2017, © Melodie McDaniel, Museum Purchase: Photography Fund, 2020.43.2

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