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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Humans of Gainesville photographer is leaving town

Gavin Doran
Gavin Doran

Gavin Doran found inspiration through the humans of Gainesville.

The 23-year-old graduated UF in May with a bachelor’s in food and resource economics.

He created and nurtured the Humans of Gainesville Facebook page for the past year and a half, adding to the already existing one.

But Monday, the UF alumnus left Gainesville for southwest Florida to eventually work for Gartner, a technology company he interned for.

Doran fell in love with photography after receiving his first camera. As a kid, he was naturally creative and used art as an outlet. 

The Florida native moved to Gainesville at 18.

“I started it as more of a creative outlet,” he said of Humans of Gainesville, and it went from there. 

He chose to paint a portrait of the city with his camera.

He met his first subject at Santa Fe College, where a man with a handlebar mustache in the bookstore caught his eye. Doran made his first post on Jan. 9, 2014.

Through his project, Doran found himself humbled by the humans who offered intimate stories and a glance into their lives.

“I learned a lot from the different people that I interviewed, a lot about their lives,” Doran said. “I learned a little about myself as well.”

Doran would take a day or two out of the week and spend hours looking for subjects.

You have to get used to people rejecting you, Doran said, and expect it.

But he found most people were forthcoming with their stories, intrigued by his Canon 5D Mark III that he carried everywhere.

“For someone with no formal training of photography, his work was stunning,” said John Kaplan, a UF photojournalism professor and one of Doran’s former teachers.

Kaplan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo- journalist, described Doran as a natural talent whose inventive and creative nature advanced his photography. He said Doran’s critical eye to his own photography marks him as an emerg- ing photographer.

“He possesses a great curiosity,” Kaplan said, “and really cares about people.” 

[A version of this story ran on page 3 on 5/19/15]

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