20 July, 2015 Kat Cole Atlanta // Lifestyle
Checking things off of a to do list. It is one of my favorite things to do. I am sure you can relate. What’s even more rewarding is getting to check off a bucket list item. When it happens I sit there and try to soak it all in. I typically end up saying something along the lines of, “how in the heck is this my life?!” This session was one of those times. When I met Kat Cole I was but a newbie in the industry. It was my first time photographing a conference. Sure weddings & events were one thing but this corporate adventure took me into a new realm within my career.
I remember hearing Kat speak for the first time in 2012 at Women’s Foodservice Forum. After that, I was determined to get to know her and photograph her one day off of the stage. 3 years later I did just that. We had almost crossed paths several times in New York City and tried to meet up to snap a couple of photos at the Ace Hotel but we were like ships passing in the night. At the beginning of this year Kat’s awesome assistant called me and said that she wanted some fresh shots of her around Atlanta and wanted me to do them. After I got off the phone in that coffeeshop, I’m pretty sure I did a small jig and ordered another Cortado to celebrate.
At the time, all that I knew was I had plans to shoot in her loft and that I wanted this shoot to be different than the typical corporate vibe. I just wanted to hang out in her life and take pictures along the way. I flew in a day early to go on an ATL solo adventure and scout out some places to shoot. During this time I met so many cool people! I started at the lofts and got lost a couple of times. I hadn’t seen Kat at this point but practically ran right into her while exploring. She was on her way out to NYC for a meeting only to fly back that next morning for our shoot! What a trooper. We hugged and parted ways. Then I followed my nose to the scent of a campfire and coffee…lucky for me I found Foster ATL. I spent time with the guys for a little while, snapped a couple photos of the owners kiddo and took a tour of their place. They agreed to let me photograph there the next day. We also strolled into a cute boutique and coffeeshop called Henry & June and took some photos there. We had a blast! We hugged some strangers, visited General Assembly ATL, had some windy rooftop adventures & shot in between a couple of semi trucks. We ran around on the Belt Line and she showed me some of her favorite sculptures and artwork, but not before having an ice cold one from Orpheus Brewing. It was just one of those days!
The video below is by far my favorite interview with Kat and I have seen a lot. Please before you continue to the images watch the video. You’ll kick yourself in the shin if you don’t. If you know me at all… you are aware of my love of story telling. Mostly with my images but with my words too. I love that they ask her questions that we all think to ask but never do. It’s authentic. I believe it tells her story with a different approach. Kat is one of my favorite people in the world. Not only because she is a complete corporate badass but because she is consistent. She’s relevant. She’s the real deal. Kat genuinely listens to you no matter where you are in your life ….she’ll meet you there. She cares about others and does it without ulterior motives. She loves her community and supports local artists and businesses. She gets involved and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. If for some reason you have been living under a rock and don’t know of Kat Cole then take my advice and watch the video below and follow her story and adventures HERE.
A couple of months ago when I was in ATL photographing Kat I had mentioned a simple idea to her. It was a plan to inspire people to promote love everywhere they went to anyone they met. No judgements. No walls. No stereotypes. I wanted people to share their stories with each other and come together to do good in their communities. She listened to me, gave me some tips and was in full support of where I was going with it. Not long after, I founded the Promote Love Movement. What Kat doesn’t know is that she has been my biggest inspiration since day 1. I have watched her and many other clients I work with (especially Joni & Wally Doolin and the crew at TDn2K) over the years. I have heard them speak while taking their pictures and documenting their events. I have taken notes. I have marinated on their keynote speeches and tucked them away in my heart. I have learned a lot from them but the one thing that will ALWAYS make the difference in your brand and in your life is GIVING BACK. It’s so easy. Doing good can be something we strive to do on a daily basis. I’ll wrap this up with a quote from Kat…
“If you are in a position to help…there is no greater way to display gratitude for that position that you’re in than to help someone else. That can be as simple as opening up a door or buying a cup of coffee for someone behind you, or volunteering at a local shelter which anyone can do in their communities. Then, yes, as you evolve in your life and get yourself in a position where you can help others in a different way or a bigger way…doesn’t mean it’s better. Sometimes money is not the answer for groups and people in need. Sometimes it’s time, it’s love, heart, ideas, thinking and expertise. You never know when your life will turn in an instant and you’ll be the person who is in need. Go do some good no matter how high or low you are on the totem pole… you never know when you’re going to need it one day.”
UPDATE: Some of these images of Kat will be featured in Marie Claire magazine [Print & Online]. Check out THIS really great article of 3 women who went from flat broke to CEO.
And now…some tunes for your listening pleasure. Anytime I am on a shoot I pay close attention to what song the person I am photographing is playing while we’re driving around. This was one of the good ones:
Thanks for everything you do Kat…you truly are one of a kind.
Kat Cole Atlanta Lifestyle Session