ABOUT KATIE

HAPPY. 

 

It's who I am. It's how I live my life.  Even through thunderstorms, I choose happiness.  I constantly look for the bright side, and maintain a grateful-for-the-little-things and silver-lining perspective. 

 

I call myself an eternal optimist, however in this description lies an infinitude of other words to color my personality. Words like:

powerful - There is nothing so motivating as listening to the fire in your soul.

trusting - In myself, in others, in the power of the universe

excitable - I'm very much a YES person, I write in capitals and use exclamation points like it's my job. 

dreamer - An even more accurate description would be soul-listener.

passionate - In life, in love, in travel, in culture

curious - If I were a cat I would probably be dead

go-getter - I know what I want and I make it happen for myself and for others in ethical, soul-nourishing ways.

authentic - How exhausting to pretend to be something else all the time. I'd rather be me. Take me or leave me. 

direct - I'll tell you if you have spinach in your teeth... even if you're a stranger.

emotional - Poems move me, happiness moves me, loss moves me. I believe that the more we feel and listen to our emotions, the more they'll guide us to a truer version of ourselves. 

intentional - There is intention behind each photograph I take and each of my life choices. Why be a sheep when you can be the shepherd? 

 

My journey started in New York and love brought me to Paris where I live with my now fiancé. My life isn't perfect but it's mine to make. My days consist of doing things that feed my soul like photographing, trying out new recipes and reading anything I can get my hands on. My current favorite is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If pure magic could be molded into words, it would be this book.

 

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katie-donnelly-paris-family-photographer

My passion and work are intertwined into a soulful dance to the sounds of a jazz quartet. My passion is my work, and my work is my passion. I run my business this way and give each project my full unbridled heart. Fearlessly. Deeply.

 

I grew up with musicians for parents, falling asleep in the middle of NYC opera houses and jazz club booths during their rehearsals. For me, a life without music is not a life. My childhood favorites: The Queen of the Night aria from the Magic Flute and the classic swing band favorite In the Mood. Nothing makes me feel happiness like those two. (A close third? Puccini's Quando m'en vo' from La Boheme.)

 

I don't run as much as I should (even when I ran the Paris marathon, I didn't really train for it… bad Katie.) I drink champagne whenever I can because I love celebrating everyday moments. I read voraciously. I'd rather fruit than sweets for dessert and I beg for veggies at all meals. Coffee and going to the diner for Sunday breakfast make me happy. I'm bi-lingual (français et english).

I'm a New Yawka. 'Nuf said.

 

I believe that people are inherently good, that you can never be overdressed or overeducated, that love conquers all, and that differences should be celebrated and cherished. I'd rather live in a colorful, eclectic world with surprises down the windy roads of life. 

This is my cousin/best friend, my mom and I at my favorite childhood playground, Manhattan Plaza in NYC

This is my cousin/best friend, my mom and I at my favorite childhood playground, Manhattan Plaza in NYC

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One of my favorite quotes from Robert McCammon's book, Boy's Life:

You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

 

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe."

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The soul of my work is finding magic and showing it to the world. To rediscover the simply joys that we've forgotten, and to capture that childhood perspective of wonder, of boundless possibilities, of limitless creativity. 

 

My book, The Authentic Portrait: A Parent's guide to Photographing Childhood is all about how to capture the magic. It helps parents overcome their fears of using their fancy camera and teaches them how to capture their child's life more authentically.

 

My clients are categorically awesome. They love the hell out of my work and I love the hell out of them. They're giggly, cultured, open-hearted, passionate, and are a huge part of the joy in my life.

 

I'll forever be grateful.

 

My cousins and I on halloween. No, I'm not a lobster, I'm an alarm clock.

My cousins and I on halloween. No, I'm not a lobster, I'm an alarm clock.

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My work has been featured on international blogs and magazines such as

Style Me Pretty, Brooklyn Limestone, Mimosa Lane, New York Magazine, Observer Playground and Image Magazine.

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Photograph by Vanessa Tierney

Photograph by Vanessa Tierney