Kaitlyn Dolan


It has been almost a month since I’ve had a chance to blog and a lot has happened! A fair warning to any readers, this might become introspective or tangential …

First, I graduated from RIT! Walking across the stage with all my friends and family cheering and applauding was a surreal experience. Even as we walked into the field house and took our seats, the day didn’t feel real. Thinking about the four years that lead up to that moment- all the sleepless nights, the joys and hardships, the people I’ve met, and stories I’ve been honored to tell- it partly felt anticlimactic.  It was odd to think that the hours spent in class, playing lacrosse, working, just being college students, would all end with a short ceremony and an empty diploma holder. I found myself saying goodbye to friends and places in the week after graduation, and finding more closure in these moments than in those I had in my gown. Don’t get me wrong, the pomp and circumstance of graduating college was fun and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in the following days when I was able to hug my friends, take one last walk through Gannet, and have a final cheers at MacGregors felt like a true Rochester send off.  I don’t know when I’ll return to Rochester, I’d like to think that college is a part of my life that I lived and loved but have closed the chapter to, but I have a feeling something will pull me back, maybe just for a short visit. That being said, I wouldn’t mind having another taco Tuesday at La Casa or kinky reggae from Java’s.

In the weeks following graduation, I’ve begun to start my life after college. I was able to go home to visit my grandparents, hike my beloved New England mountains, and smell the ocean I dearly missed. Everytime I go home, it really feels like nothing has changed. New England has this magic to it that no matter how many times houses change hands or developments begin, there is always something to bring you back to the place you grew up. For me, that has always been the ocean and the mountains. You can always count on losing cell reception, finding a tiny gas station with some iteration of name ‘country store’, and needing the perfect afternoon nap before the day fades into night. I love New England and I often miss the little things about where and how I grew up, but I have yet to become homesick. Through my years at school and my time in D.C. I haven’t felt the ache for my hometown that I’ve heard so many describe. I think it’s because of what New England gave me- a sense of adventure and the opportunity to always come home.  I know that the White Mountains and lobster tail will always be there, and that I will always be able to return after my adventures elsewhere conclude.

Which brings me to my next adventure, moving to Annapolis and started my internship with the Chesapeake Bay Program. So far, this new chapter has been an exciting start to the rest of my life. Within the first few days I had visited a plain sect farm, flew in a small high wing plane to capture aerial photography of the Chesapeake, and traveled to several state parks to document their amenities and features. This internship is so much more than I expected already and has brought me so much joy; I have been able to use my skills as a photographer paired with my passion for the environment to work for an organization that actually effect change.  I truly feel like I am where I need to be.

Stay tuned for more updates and images! Check out the slideshow below for images from former senator Bernie Fowler’s 31st annual Wade-In at Jefferson Patterson Park this past Sunday!

Earth Day

I just wanted to say Happy Earth Day to everyone and share some images from my Earth Day adventures in the Flatirons in Boulder, C.O. Enjoy!

The Image Deconstructed Workshop

At the beginning of this weekend, I felt nervous, a little lost in my career path, and unsure where I should turn after graduation. Sunday afternoon, that all changed. This past weekend I was fortunate to attend The Image Deconstructed Workshop through an grant from RIT.  

Through portfolio reviews and time with peers, I was able to find my voice, which I’ve felt just out of my grasp for a few months.  I feel reenergized and confident, knowing my work is good enough and is important. I left Colorado sad to leave, but excited for the road ahead. 

On a more serious note, it was also exciting to see that there are others who see the ‘old ways’ of photojournalism and want them to change.  Too often, we are an industry that cuts each other down, self medicates with alcohol, and are unkind to young journalists in the name of “that’s how the industry is.”   While in school I’ve often thought about the direct contradiction from this attitude and how we are taught to treat the people with whom we work. We are told to respect and never cause harm, but are cut down by older generations with threats of the industry dying and negative words saying we aren’t good enough. 

People like Ross Taylor, the founder of TID, and those who attended the workshop gave me a renewed sense of hope that those attitudes are on their way out.  The genuine care and support show this weekend was unmatched.  Every person was supported, checked, and encouraged. During portfolio reviews, reviewers asked “What do you want to get out of this? What do you need to know?” rather than throwing back criticism with no clear path to move forward. When people said sexist words, they were checked, and then graciously apologized.  We had conversations about harassment and intimidation in the industry, typically at the hand of the older white men who are dominating many parts of the industry. And every question, thought, answer, was treated as a valid, important addition to the conversation or presentation. 

This is the type of community we need to be building in journalism- one that shows the same amount of respect and support to each other as we do to the people with whom we work, and I truly believe people like Ross and community building workshops, such as TID, are on their way to making that happen. 

Using Format