Here's another great and inspiring photographer. I chose the photographers in this series because they are "relatable". They may be moms, they may have been surprised by photography, they may have moved to new places and had to start over. They have lessons to share with us...and they're all good (the lessons and the photographers)!
This interview was first published in the "PhotoStories of the Heart" eCourse.
Meet Katie Donnelly. An American woman living in Paris. Her photos on Facebook and
Instagram make me want to hope a plane back to Paris! Her lifestyle photos of kids make me
Katie is best known for capturing childhood magic in a quirky, kiddish way. She then shows her magic to families, who seem to forget how very wonderful and full of love the little moments
How did you develop as a photographer?
The school of life + photography school. Bosses, clients, teachers telling me what they loved
and hated about my work. Taking that, and then finally realizing that I don’t give a crap about what THEY loved, I needed to give a crap about what I love. I realized that I loved kids and
Do you have a philosophy of photography/art? How does that influence your photos?
It’s gotta make you feel. If it doesn’t, if you don’t hate it or love it or aren’t inspired by it, it’s not
art to you. Point blank. Art is different for everyone. Also, everyone makes crap art, seriously, I
take a ton of really bad photos ALL THE TIME because I know that I’m aiming for the really
good ones, and it takes a lot of hard work to get them. I’m okay with that. It’s the fun in making
art. Though it’s also frustrating.
Has photography opened you to new/different adventures? Into what new areas? How did it happen?
Teaching and writing. They’re both really scary things for me to do, but you gotta jump off the
highest cliff to make the biggest splash right?
I started giving private photography lessons and I wrote the book, The Authentic Portrait: A
Parent’s Guide to Documenting Childhood. It’s a book for parents on using their cameras,
figuring out how to use simple natural light, and working with their own kids.
I’m really passionate about everyone being able to photograph their lives. It’s so so important. I
have only a few photos from when my parents got married and when my brother and I were
kids. Before the divorce.
I want to know that I came from love. That they (parents) really loved each other. It’s so
personal. So many people come in and out of our lives and have this huge impact on us that
echoes for years, and through lifetimes. We need to remember those people.
What makes you “feel” an image How do you translate that “feel” into the picture?
Hmm, I’m not so sure if I understand this question but photographs need to give me emotion. I want to hear the laughter and cry with them. I want to feel how warm and tight her hug is. It’s a whole experience.
Re: your favorite photos…what makes them special to you?
The people in them. They make me remember certain memories or give me a connection with
someone I may not even know. Like I said before, you experience the photos, they aren’t just
there to be pretty.
What has your photography taught you about yourself? and the world around you?
That art is really a series of self portraits. My business and goals around photography have
pushed me past so many self-made boundaries and made me really dream. It’s made me want
to throw up with fear, it’s made me closer to myself. I’m a naturally optimistic person, I’m so
joyful so much of the time but I still carry a lot of baggage from my childhood. Like most of us. It
becomes very raw and clear when you dig deep. It’s scary to go down into yourself. You need courage. And a hell of a support team. I’m so glad to have the women over at the Illuminate Support Group, my other photographer/creative friends, and a partner who celebrates me and lifts me up. I’m really really lucky.
Are you involved in any projects? What do you hope to get from the project(s)?
I just wrote my book (woo!) and am starting some personal photo projects that I’ve been
dreaming about and have been too scared to start. Everyone’s always waiting for the right
moment when most likely that moment was yesterday. I’m hoping to layer on the emotions and
storytelling even more. I’m hoping that doing this project just for me, will help me get past my
fears and self doubts of calling myself an artist.
How to find Katie
Katie Donnelly Photographer
Based in Paris, booking internationally
Snag my book, The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s Guide to Photographing Childhood here.
It's me again
Did you catch Katie's "why"? Why she makes the images that she does? A "why" is required for every photographer or artist. Your "why" influences how you present your work and how people find you.
Do you know "why" you do the art work you do? And, I guarantee, your "why" will be much deeper than you first think. Need some inspiration to think deeply about your "why"? You can learn more about "true purpose" here.
Want more inspiration?
Who would you like to learn more about? Who are your artistic heroes? Who are the creative business owners that inspire YOU?
Share your ideas with me in the comments section (below) or over on the Facebook page. I'll do my best to help you out.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure.
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