Profiles of Local ‘Women of Wisdom’ Authors and Photographers

by Jo Ann Brannock

Fullerton resident Donna Edman photographed and compiled a book to honor the wisdom of 49 mature women between the ages of 50 and 95. The purpose of the book was to share the advice and stories of ordinary, not famous, 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 of courage, grace, and strength. Also included is the advice everyone would give to themselves at age 20. Interestingly, the majority of the results of these tips have been sharing the wisdom of knowing yourself and becoming authentic.

Each of the photographic portraits has not been retouched and shows the wrinkles, age spots, knotty joints and well-deserved pounds of these genuine women of wisdom. These women paved the way for young women and could serve as mentors for the next generation to become themselves and find their passion.

Edman’s interest in compiling such a book stems from his own experiences when asked what his favorite color was. She replied that it was “blue” because it was the favorite color of the co-worker who had asked her this question. It was then that Edman realized that she had lived for the approval of others and not for who she was. The revelation of this led to other careers as a social worker, geriatric care manager with her own business, and later to her current career as an award-winning portrait photographer. She sees her role in her current work as helping people become who they really are while being photographed.

Author Donna Edman and Joanne Harrold, who features 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 willingness to discover the small details of what it takes to accomplish something. She is a true inspiration, and now, at 67, she is also a woman of wisdom. And what would she say to herself at 20? It’s okay to not be perfect, to try things and fail, to ask for help when you don’t know or understand something, to not do everything and to always be the best .

To learn more about Donna, visit

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Lola R. McClure