Brooke DiDonato, '12

Profile: Alumna Flourishes as Freelance Photographer in NYC

After graduating from Kent State with her photojournalism degree, BROOKE DIDONATO, ’12, packed her bags and moved to New York City — her “midwestern dream” — and has been growing her career as a freelance and gig-based photographer there ever since.


Her Kent State professors and mentors at a newspaper internship helped her find her niche outside of news photography, encouraging her to pursue a more creative route.


“It definitely helped having validation, and it felt like it did lead me in this direction,” she said.


DiDonato traces many skills, such as making subjects comfortable and being able to direct photoshoots, back to her time in Kent State Student Media. She said her experiences during her undergraduate career planted the seed for those skills to flourish in her professional life.


After working studio assistant jobs for three years in New York City, DiDonato landed her first big job as a photographer for an artist who created an installation in the desert near Palm Springs, Calif. Her work has been included in various magazines and exhibits, most notably in The Fence, an outdoor photo exhibition located in Brooklyn, N.Y.


“I’m my own boss, so if I don’t put effort into (my work), then I’m not going to get paid,” she said. “That’s definitely been a huge achievement of mine, being able to do this for the last two years.”


Being creative, no matter the medium, is a long-time love for DiDonato. She has always been inclined toward making things and telling a story with her art.


“I can’t imagine not doing it (photography),” DiDonato said. “It’s creating something that comes from inside of you. Taking a visceral thing and putting it on paper has always been interesting to me.”


She said she is interested in exploring film and directing, as well as doing installation-based art, in the future.


(Adapted from an article published in August 2018)

POSTED: Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 3:43pm
Molly Spillman, '19