Whitney Dafoe Photography

I live in the Bay Area. I have been in love with photography ever since I took a darkroom class in high school in 1998. But I have always been driven by a strong vision and sense of purpose behind the act of creation. I have been to all 50 states photographing and exploring (not intentionally, it just happened), and I have travelled to many countries world wide without my camera to learn and experience.

I don't think of myself as any one kind of photographer, I like being open to the subject and exploring new ways of framing and communicating. I strive to make honest images that inform and inspire. As Leonard Cohen said, I'm "just a kid with a crazy dream".

I am currently fighting a serious neuro immune illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. It has taken a slow and steady toll on my life since 2004 when I was 21 and I am now completely bedridden. There is no known cure. I struggle to continue my creative endeavors, and remain hopeful and inspired despite the desolate physical circumstances. I can no longer make the kinds of images you see on this site though I have continued to photograph as much as I can when I'm well enough and with the severely limited subject matter I have available.

Please see my ME/CFS page for more information about this illness and my battle to survive it

Click here for Selected awards, publications and exhibitions

Selected Awards, Publications and Exhibitions

scroll or swipe down swipe_down



Silver Award, Muse Photography Awards, Portrait and Documentary, 2023
2nd Place, People: Documentary, Annual Photography Awards, 2022
Gold Winner, European Photogrphy Awards, 2022
Gold Award Winner, Portrait Series, Le Prix de la Photographie de Paris, 2022
Silver Winner, New York Photography Awards, 2022
Professional Portrait Nominee, Fine Art Photography Awards, 2020
Honorable Mention, Annual Photography Awards 2020
Honorable Mention, Portrait, Chromatic Awards 2020
Finalist, KLPhoto Awards Portrait Competition, 2010
1st Place, Microsoft Pro Photo Competition, 2008
3rd Place, Paul Sack Photography Award, 2008
Honorable Mention, Paul Sack Photography Award, 2006


A Smith Gallery, “Portraits”, Book and Exhibition, February, 2023
Front Page, Palo Alto Weekly, January 2009
Palo Alto Online Inauguration Photo Essay, 2009
BBC News, January, 2009
Village Voice, January 2009
Newsweek, Januray 2009
BBC News, August 23, 2008
Soma Magazine, Fashion issue, 2008
Digital Photo Pro, Sept/Oct Issue
AES Daily, AES San Francisco, Oct 3-5, 2008
Genome Technology Center, website, 2008


New York Center for Photographic Art, Juror's Selection, April 2021
PH Photography Gallery, Stories Exhibition, May 2021
KL Photo Awards Exhibition, Annexe Gallery, Malaysia, May 20 - June 6, 2010
Art in Nature Show, Center for Fine Art Photography. Dec 4 to Jan 9 2010
52 Editions - limited edition catalog of fine art photography
Art of Photography Show 2009- San Diego, Aug 29 to Nov 1 2009
Center For Fine Art Photography, "Mind's Eye" Exhibition, May, 2009
Group Show, Brown Bear Gallery, SF, January, 2008
Permanent Installation, Interactive Wellness Center, Menlo Park, CA, 2007



California Student Media Festival, 1998 and 2000
Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project Selection, 1999 and 2000
Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project Award for Excellence, 2000
Center for Media Literacy Video Selection, 1998
Center for Media Education Festival, 1999
Educators for Social Responsibility- Social Awareness Award, 1998
Chicago International Film/Video Festival Selection, 2000
New Visions/New Voices Festival Selection, 2000
Pacific Film Archives Festival, Student Short Film Division Selection, 2000
Trailervision Web-site Selection, 2000


Gene Expression Using Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 Arrays
published 2007 to Stanford.edu
feature length educational video teaching the Gene Expression procedure
developed at the Stanford Genome Technology Center

Video Featuring Robotic Equipment at the Stanford Genome Technology Center
published to NASA website 2005


The Living Death, 2010-Present Day

I'm happy to announce that my now 13 year ongoing project starting in 2010 and continuing today, called "The Living Death" photographing my life with moderate and then severe ME/CFS has won numerous awards for various select series from this enormous body of work. You can click on each of the awards to see the winning series.
One of the images from this project will also be part of the A Smith Gallery's, “Portraits”, Book and Exhibition, February, 2023. The winning image is shown above.

Working as an intern for the Palo Alto Weekly

I'm working as an intern for the Palo Alto Weekly Newspaper right now. Aside from the headshots, it's a lot of fun, I get access to make portraits of people in intimate settings that are hard to get to normally. I could definitely see myself doing this for a living though I think I may want more gunfire to duck from.

News Archives


Year / Month