Hello from Virginia and D.C.

By Caitlin Kelly

I’m now at my third hotel since March 3…and this one is the best, thanks to a great rate on hotels.com, a gorgeous Fairmont in D.C., and I have two days’ leisure after a whirlwind three days at the Northern Short Course conference nearby, an annual meeting of photojournalists at all levels of skill and experience.

I spoke yesterday on pitching and had a decent audience — maybe 50 people — and made a few really interesting potential contacts for future paid work.

I started my journey with a long drive south on March 3 from New York to the town of Middleburg, Virginia, home to the oldest inn in the U.S. — 1728 — the Red Fox, and stayed there for two nights.

The area is very beautiful, a real 18th-century landscape mostly because extremely wealthy landowners have bought and held enormous estates for riding and fox-hunting. The town (pop. 637) is full of tack shops and saddleries.


Here’s the inn:





I found a nearby Civil War battlefield and savored solo sunshine and silence on one of Virginia’s oldest bridges, (1802.)




The conference was excellent, with presentations from highly accomplished photojournalists. Celeste Sloman showed us the work from her New York Times project (and book) documenting the women of the 116th Congress.




Eman Mohammed showed her powerful images of conflict, but also quieter and more intimate moments as well.

I have only two days off in D.C., but had a great dinner with friends at 2Amys, which makes amazing wood-fired pizza.

Today is sunny and warm and I’m headed to the National Gallery for a show of Degas.

It feels very good to finally savor some downtime away from all the anxiety of daily life — and yes, I am couching and sneezing into my elbow and washing my hands a lot!

8 thoughts on “Hello from Virginia and D.C.

  1. Kelly

    The two lectures you mentioned were standouts for me too! I ended up buying the “Women of the 116th Congress” book and looking through it with my daughters when I got home. It is a game changer and I can’t wait to see some of those images in future history books.
    And Eman’s story was powerful all around!
    I really appreciated your lecture as well! Being able to conceptualize rejection as part of the process is a game changer for me. It also helped to hear your backstory regarding your parents as freelancers and now you too! It gives me a sense that this really can be done if I can step outside my own self doubt.
    So thank you, so very much!
    It was wonderful to meet you and you’ve inspired me to write again alongside photo essays!
    So, thank you, for letting this perfect stranger talk to you about her boobs! Ha!

    1. I loved that we started talking boobs so quickly — it’s nice to have someone who gets it (even if we didn’t want it to be for that reason.)

      That book must be an amazing thing to talk about with your daughters.

      I am still processing “Navy cryptologist”!

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