Category Archives: me

blonde (i)photos & other news.

i’ve been busy.

me, on stage for Mortified DC – School’s Out for Summer, 2012
photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography, LLC

in fact, the last 16 months have been straight up tumultuous. exciting to say the least, and downright harrowing at times. but good – all very good.

i know, i know – moving to kenya, shooting weddings & photo projects all over the states, mexico & africa, becoming a kenyan resident & starting a kenyan business, then narrowly escaping somali pirates, leaving my beloved lamu island, kenya, teaching in india, falling in love, traveling some more, becoming a storyteller, becoming an innkeeper, and taking up woodworking are not excuses for ignoring my blog for over a year…but there are some things you just can’t plan for. sometimes life takes over, and really, i blame my iphone. it’s true – i love having a camera with me all the time that fits in my pocket and takes great images. and i love uploading those photos directly to facebook and sharing them with friends, family & fans. plus, it has helped me begin to separate photography work & photography fun, since that line was starting to blur (in a bad way) after working so hard the past 7 years.

just so you know, all of my recent work from the last 16 months (weddings, portraits, travel, documentary) can be found on the blonde photo | facebook page. if you aren’t a fan, and you want to stay up-to-date on everything i’m shooting & doing, then you should go ahead and click here.

sometimes i miss blogging, but it’s no longer part of my workflow, and i’m not yet sure if i will get it back anytime soon. more so, i’ve been working on my personal writing lately, turning some of my crazy stories into performances, and yes, you can see some of those on my new youtube channel. and blonde brouhaha site! i’m also dreaming up a new website to highlight all of my crazy creative endeavors, but still figuring out how to combine my three loves:

blonde photo | blonde brouhaha | blonde voyage

…and i was serious about everything i mentioned above, especially the fact that i am running a beautiful, historic bed & breakfast, so if you are interested, you can find out more about that here.

and now, for your visual delight, here are some of my favorite blonde (i)photos from the past year.

enjoy.

iphone :: kenya – key west – dc – india – eastern shore – puerto rico

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July 19, 2012 · 9:52 pm

BLONDEVOYAGE!

my *new* travel blog!

i am *so* excited to share my new travel blog BLONDEVOYAGE – which will chronicle my adventures for the next few months, while i’m based off the coast of kenya, in the village of shela, on lamu island!

i leave in just a few hours (woo!) and won’t arrive on the island until tuesday afternoon (!!), where i will be greeted with sunshine, white sails, and the gorgeous smiling faces of the people who live there! for the next three months i will have the privilege of calling this beautiful island my home…i am so looking forward to relishing in the simplicity of village life. along with photographing an amazing wedding on the island at the end of the month, im looking forward to spending the next few weeks focusing on writing (my first love) and photography (my passion) in this incredible environment. in all my travels around the world this is the *first* time i have ever returned to a place i have traveled previously! my plan is to update BLONDEVOYAGE often with news, stories, and photos — so stay tuned!

also, i *just* posted FIVE blogs from my travels to this very place earlier this year, so if you are curious as to where i’ll be, what i’ll be doing, and why i absolutely love this island so much, check it out!

enjoy!

* * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

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Filed under africa, me, news, photography, snapshot, travel

shore life.

my new neighborhood.


the idyllic eastern shore :: claiborne, maryland.

it’s true! i’ve skipped town and am currently staying in an adorable little cottage on the chesapeake bay! for the next few months i’ll still be shooting in & around DC, but will be based in the quaint little town of st. michaels, maryland. in addition to relishing the small community and wonderful energy of the eastern shore, i’ll be learning about and documenting the life & work of the watermen – getting up close and involved with oyster dredging, crabbing, fishing, and working on the boats. after spending the last few weeks in africa sailing throughout the lamu archipelago i simply couldn’t transition back to city life…so i’m trying something new! photos of africa are coming soon (i promise! – polaroid sneak peek here) but for now, here’s a look at claiborne – the tiny, idyllic neighborhood i feel so lucky to have discovered…

enjoy!


sunset in my backyard…

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Filed under eastern shore, just for fun, me, photography, st michaels

kenya!

jambo kenya!

in just a few hours i’m headed back to africa!

for the next few weeks i will be traveling throughout kenya — i’m incredibly excited to see the country and learn about the work and lives of some very interesting people. i prefer to travel as spontaneously as possible, so my plans are still tentative and flexible – i haven’t figured out the where/when/how of everything, but i am certain it will be an amazing adventure!

on the agenda: documenting social work in nairobi, education and culture on the island of lamu, and research on the game reserves. some serious sailing and a quick trip to zanzibar are also in the works, as is pretty much anything else that presents itself! i plan to bring back some fantastic stories and great images and can’t wait to share it all with you!

kwaheri!

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Filed under africa, me, photography, photojournalism, travel

critical exposure: picture equality.

empowerment through photography.

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last night’s critical exposure fundraiser was a fantastic success! i was so excited to attend their fotoweek reception and was thrilled to be among the 40+ amazing photographers that contributed images to the silent auction. it was an inspiring evening and i was truly honored to speak to guests about my experiences working with the organization over the last year. critical exposure is amazing and i feel so lucky to be part of such an outstanding group of dedicated individuals that are making such a difference in the lives of dc students. enjoy this glimpse of the evening and check out the links below to learn more about the work critical exposure is doing and my experiences in the classroom!

wish you could have attended to support this incredible non-profit? no worries – click HERE to make a donation or EMAIL me about sponsorship opportunities :)

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MLK photo student DeMarco did a great job speaking to guests!

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LOVE that a soldier won the “bidding war” on the canvas i contributed to the auction – moody monument!

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and what fun is fotoweek without a fotobooth? me + photographer michael bennett kress.

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critical exposure :: the power of photography

critical exposure :: gallery opening!

critical exposure :: in the classroom!

critical exposure :: photo students!

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Filed under art, dc, education, me, photography, photojournalism, volunteer

forever hold your peace.

new orleans photo alliance :: photo exhibition.

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“I was looking for the same kind of pictures that I look for when I am photographing. I was looking for what would move me and for what I would never tire of looking. I wanted to see a burst of life palpable on a piece of paper.”- Sylvia Plachy

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The New Orleans Photo Alliance is pleased to present “Forever Hold Your Peace,” a group exhibition on the subject of weddings, juried by Sylvia Plachy. In curating this exhibition, Plachy, a Hungarian born, New York based, world-renowned photographer, selected 31 photographs depicting the traditions, customs, symbols and the rich human tableau surrounding wedding rituals. A slideshow of 58 additional images will be featured in the exhibition. “Forever Hold Your Peace” will be on view from June 5 – July 19, 2009 at the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, 1111 St. Mary St. New Orleans, LA 70130. The opening reception takes place on Saturday, June 6, from 6-9pm. Ms. Plachy will present a Gallery Talk at 7pm, where she will walk through the gallery to discuss the show and her thought process in selecting images.

*  *  *  *  *

i was recently introduced to the new orleans photo alliance when i was working with momenta + the LA-SPCA in new orleans last month (more to come on that soon!) after meeting some of the members and learning about all that they do, i decided to not only join the alliance, but also enter a few images for consideration in their upcoming show: forever hold your peace. having never really shown my work or entered any type of contest or show, i was nervous, excited and overwhelmed at the idea of selecting relevant work and the prospect of seeing my images in a gallery!

i am absolutely thrilled to announce that 3 of my images were selected by the amazing sylvia plachy to be included in the show! WOOHOO!

the following images are 11 x14 chrome custom chromira prints by CHROME IMAGING, matted + framed in 16×20 black classic frames by Allen Custom Frame & Biscarr Fine Art. i can’t thank harry biscarr and his staff enough for showcasing my images so well – they looked STELLAR for the show and it was a pleasure working with them!

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the launch, 11×14 custom chromira print

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a perfect fit, 11×14 custom chromira print

the following image was selected to be part of the slideshow and will be displayed digitally at the exhibition:

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first sight, digital slideshow image

while i will not be attending the opening reception this evening in new orleans (i have a fabulous philadelphia wedding tomorrow!) i do plan on making a trip to the big easy in the next month to visit the gallery, my friends at the la-spca and soak up some louisiana summer sunshine!

i want to thank everyone who encouraged me to enter this show, my amazing friends who helped me select the final images, and of course my outstanding couples who allowed me into their lives to document and capture these amazing moments. ashlee + paul, novak + nicole, lindsey + chris – thank you!

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Filed under art, exhibit, me, news, photography

arlington national cemetery.

a place of rest for our nation’s heros.

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today i visited arlington national cemetery for the first time. my grandmother is in town, and we ventured to the cemetery to visit the grave of my uncle ricky who died in vietnam in 1969. although she has visited his grave many times over the last 40 years it is still an emotional journey and i was grateful for the opportunity to be by her side today. 

it was a cool, sunny afternoon and apart from the groups of tourists near the visitors center and the notable grave sites of JFK and others, the grounds were very quiet. in the far reaches of section 17 we were completely alone as we searched the rows for his name, and found it tucked under the shade of a large tree, close to the edge of the grounds.

the cemetery is hauntingly beautiful – endless rows of gravestones mark the resting place of veterans and military casualties from every war in our nation’s history. over 300,000 men + women are buried here, making it the second-largest national cemetery. during our visit we witnessed a horse + carriage funeral procession, an all too common occurance, with funerals taking place five days a week and totaling approximately 6,400 each year. 

we were both overcome by sadness and grief – not only for ricky but for all those who lost their lives fighting and suffering in war. however heavy our hearts, the visit was a wonderful way to honor and remember those who have sacrificed for us. seeing my uncle’s grave was very emotional for me – i was filled with remorse, anger, and sadness, but i left with an incredible sense of pride.

to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
– thomas campbell

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Filed under dc, me, photography