Happy Mother’s Day

To my most amazing mother, Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for having me and raising me.


Mum in the studio.

To all my friends who are mothers and come in every form: Stepmothers, Heart (adopting) Mothers, Other Mothers, First Mothers, Auntie Mothers, Grandmothers. I love you all. You all make a difference with your love.


Mother's GardenMegan

familyMy Grandmother's Hands


Dreaming in Daufuskie

Last year I made a very memorable trip to a place called Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. It’s a place full of history, formerly occupied by plantation owners to grow cotton and rice. Because of the location and harsh conditions the slave population was able to retain their language, culture and heritage. I came to explore and find a bit of the heritage that is left. Last night I came back after a year away
and I was so happy to be Dreaming in Daufuskie.
















The Road Home: Boston

My father died in 1986. At that time, and at a young age, Boston became a field of ghosts to me. Every piece of Boston reminded me of my Dad and it was unbearable. From Filenes to the Commons to Dudley Station, it was unbearable. As I went to Boston over a month ago to see my ailing Grandmother, every minute became a happy memory. I came to terms with all of the bittersweet memories and I left whole if not happy. Every image is a memory. Thanks family.









Art + Life


My name is Kafi Atiyah and I believe in experiencing beauty in every day moments. My name means quiet gift. My friends may say I’m a gift at some point, but the quiet part is still up for debate. I’ll say that I’m quiet when it counts. I hope that this new blog will bring you photography, art, beauty, and miscellaneous but helpful and fun information. Thank you for stopping by. Stay tuned for more art and life.

From Ama Chandra: Loving Miles…


Laughing, loving MaeLee and Miles

With great courage and love, our friend Ama Chandra delivered twins Miles and MaeLee.  Today she will be letting Miles say goodbye.  With all her love, she wanted to share Miles with you all.  Our friend always shows great spirits and uplifts others, even in her most difficult moments.  Many of you have asked how you can help Ama during this time.  Please contact me directly at studiokafi@gmail.com or via facebook @KafiD’Ambrosi. Ama also requested that you leave your comments here on the blog so that she can read each one instead of on facebook.  “Thank you all for your love.” – Ama

Mamma love you Miles-



Miles and MaeLee

Miles + MaeLee

Mamma + Miles



What Spring Looks Like: Ocean City, MD + Bethany Beach, DE

In the middle of preparing and getting ready to launch my new brick and mortar studio in Station North Arts District, I decided to take a day off.  A friend’s birthday, a girls day out; Ocean City, MD and Bethany Beach in the off-season. It was cold rainy, warm and windy. This is what I saw.

Karen + Christian } A Wedding at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center

Karen + Christian James. From the beginning, they were all about their love, starting their life together, their faith and their family. Their wedding had to have two additional passions, art and dancing. Their perfect day came together at the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center.  They pledged their love and fidelity surrounded by friends, history, art, music and loved ones.  Then they danced until their DJ left. Heres to you Karen and Christian. We’ll never forget such an amazing day and we’ll definitely will never forget the Converse.

So You Think You Can Dance?

My daughter thinks she can dance.  She thinks she can dance salsa, samba and of course, her own private happy dance. This is her private happy dance.

she thinks she can dance

It seems all summer I’ve been dancing a somewhat fun, but complicated dance with my business and art.  I’ve been balancing wedding photography and art openings and my own personal development with family, friends and sanity.  I had a successful show, Body Politic I, at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center that ran from July through mid September. As a proud affiliate of The Black Male Identity Project, I received a grant from Baltimore Office Promotion of the Arts to present this show and programming for Free Fall Baltimore 2011.

I will have a month of programming for the month of October at the Station North Arts Cafe, located at 1816 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD.  Please come support Free Fall Baltimore, Station North Arts and me if you are so inclined.

October 8th, Opening reception of Body Politic II, 6-8pm

October 14th, Grits and Gravy Artist Talk, 11am-12pm, Second Friday

October 19th, ‘Just Do the Work’ Business of Art Discussion, 11am-1pm

October 27th, Exhibition Closing, Spoken Word Night, 5pm-7pm

Enjoy the dance and hope to see you all soon.


You Are Still the One

Happy Anniversary to my gorgeous husband, to us.
As I sat here this morning thinking of marriage, my marriage, I was eating gourmet jelly beans and had an epiphany. Love and marriage is like a mouthful of Jelly Belly beans. You take that first bite and it’s joyous, the second is full of surprise and on it goes. Spicy, soothing, fire, coffee? I love so many things about him, about us. I try not to share too much so others won’t get jealous.

He’s the man who couldn’t wait to begin our marriage, so we preplanned our elopement. He wiped away the morning sickness, faced a choice of losing me or our unborn baby, and has encountered prejudice for loving me. He makes me cry with his tenderness and makes me proud just for being himself. I love that we fit.

thinking about Louis


praying for olivia

My last post showed a maternity session with Julie and Andy.  They have requested friends and family pray for their daughter Olivia. In their own words:

“Please keep our little girl in prayer. An ultrasound this morning revealed a mass in her abdomen and surgery is being recommended. We’re being followed at Hopkins and should know more once we consult w/ pediatric surgery tomorrow. Please pray for her, the doctors, and us as we wait to find out the final diagnosis and treatment plan.”

“We’ll know more about the mass and surgery once Olivia arrives, so we’re just loving and waiting for her to make her entrance. We can’t say enough about the amount of love and support we’ve received. Thank you all for your continual prayers. We have felt them go before us in each step of this process.” – Julie Lange

julie + andy, waiting for olivia at evergreen house

so remember when we were young and we would babysit for the competitive price of $1.10 an hour? well, it took me 34 hours to buy those lee rider jeans. i used to babysit for one family. at first there was just one, and then there were three:  brian, andy and lizzie. andy was the middle child. he used to call me fafi and he loved his cowboy hat, his baby sister and generally causing havoc with, and coloring on his brother with his dad’s permanent marker drafting pens. there was much soccer, a couple of kitchen fires and a few near death experiences. overall, a good babysitting adventure. i survived him and he survived me. fast forward to today. i no longer babysit and he no longer leaps from his deck trying to be a flying cowboy.
he found a beautiful bride and his best friend in julie and he is about to become a dad to olivia.
we all spent a couple of hours at Evergreen House, laughing, avoiding garden eating deer and splashing in the fountain. thank you julie and andy. i can’t wait to meet olivia.

bill + lizzie’s wedding by thy stream

just married

their love story wasn’t that of a blazing river, but one that reflected them, slow, steady, true and to the point. they met at a party, that he specifically remembers. St. John’s College is where it all began. the story of lizzie & bill involves, a bit of will you go out with and let’s be friends. Then there was ‘A Goat, or Who is Sylvia?’, a declaration of love, a let’s be friends reply.  their wedding was simple but generous. it was full of friends, laughter, sounds of nature and the munching of charm city cupcakes, by the dozen.  it was just plain sweet.



the rings


the laughcooling by the stream

world's colliding



While the actual building took months, this journey to the relaunching of me has taken years.  It is an ongoing and fantastic journey. I hope to share more of the wonderful couples, families and projects that I’m working on currently and will be working on in the future.  I’d like to say that I did it my way, on my own, but I couldn’t have done any of this without my fantastic husband Louis D’Ambrosi.  He’s my hero because he allows me to fly.

by Aeriel Lane-Beck at Ladew Gardens

isabella + nicole, mother’s garden.

isabella + nic.  mother’s garden ,baltimore city maryland.  mother and daughter, together. they adore adventure; whether in baltimore, bombay, new york and beyond, friends and family mean the most. they love a gathering with great food, music with a beat and of course, dancing into the night.  they love being with each other even more. we found a spot in the middle of the city that was ours. we added light, laughter and music.

to view complete slideshow, click here.

2 boys +bubbles/baltimore + a mini cooper

baltimore, a sunny saturday. brendan & jake, i’ve said it before, they are all boy. rough and tumble with a bit of sugar. a perfect day, for some fun. sunny with a threat of rain. we had bubbles, a mini cooper, a mast and a wide field. i love watching children do what they do best: run, play, spill and laugh.

the brother hug

brandon is a storyteller and jake is the still water. two brothers. i’d like to say how dynamic i was in this session, but truly, i just watched and waited. we had the bubble being blown on the mini cooper!, the brother hug, the flat out run, soccer, mom love, hellos to grandma, and a history lesson about the pride of baltimore. in the end, i went off for a nap and the boys continued onto more play. the joy of childhood. For a slideshow click here!
much love & affection,
ms. kafi-




the boys

the cowboy

tammy, the original international incedent

we met in budapest, hungary many years ago. in an instant, we recognized each other as a ‘kindred spirit’.  we ate and laughed our way through Hősök tere and Istvan utca.  there was the spa, the shopping and a slight international incident.  i still can not show my face in baku, azerbaijan.  she was at my first photoshoot, she was my first client. she gave me the name studioKAFI and every once and awhile, she still calls me studio. she was there, when i was in the ICU after having my sofia. our friendship involves late nights, long drives, secret glaze, european chocolate, presents and  long calls to russia and beyond. one of us owes the other one a trip to the beach in puerto rico. happy belated birthday.  all my love.  you are the gold hook.  to view the complete slideshow click here!


just tammy

the look


i'm short, tammy is tall. ladder needed.






her eyes

happy birthday dad, we celebrated at WYPR

today is my dad’s birthday. tony brown passed away almost 25 years ago. it feels like yesterday, especially during those great life events. one thing i know is that he would have been completely enraptured by his granddaughter sofia.  she is the best of all of us.  today she did a PSA for The Family Tree of Maryland, which provides families with solutions for prevention of child abuse and neglect.  we love supporting The Family Tree. she was hilarious and after about 15 takes decided it was time to color. sofia often turns and i see my dad in her face and in her ways. we hope she doesn’t become a superstar. really. i love you dad.



sofia, papa, the script


getting miked



88.1 this is NPR


capello confections, home of the bisconne!

last fall, i took a little morning drive to beautiful town of port deposit, maryland. port deposit has an amazing history, but i didn’t go there for the history. i went for the bisconne.  mrs. capello is one of my favorite people, well since forever. when i heard she and her family opened a bakery shop, i knew it would be literally, confection heaven.  i went, i saw, and every edible item i captured, i tasted and maybe shared with my husband.  i can’t recall.  i enjoyed my  famous bisconne with coffee, and boxed up everything else. every morsel eyes closed fantastic.  so if you live in port deposit, or celebrate mother’s day, are participating in a wedding, gifting a tea time party or observing easter and/or all other holidays, capello confections is the place. capello’s forever! For the complete slideshow of Capello Confections & Main Street, Port Deposit, MD click here: Capello Confections & Main Street


spring design fever.


if you are on the east coast, you know that we’ve been experiencing a bit of spring.  i’m cynical about this spring weather in february since my feet are still cold from being snowed in. twice. good news is that the creative juices are flowing, and a fantastic new website is on the horizon.  i’m working with a new graphic designer with great vision. i can’t wait to have a website that is completely me and hopefully appeals to YOU.  it’s been a great year so far and i can’t wait for all the couples  and families queuing up for their spring session.  enjoy the warm, rainy, cloudy weather.




Aeriel – Fierce, Funny, Sweet

the story. well, it took  us 7 months, 2 Emergency Room visits and a few other inconveniences to get to this session. we were so happy to both arrive at the venue, on the scheduled date, that we had to celebrate with tea & gelato from Joe Squared. i have to put in the disclaimer that i’m partial to anyone with freckles as both my parents have them.  this is a vintage valentine session and aerial has more than a hint of young eartha kitt in her fabulous vintage black dress. MLK day was yesterday and i also captured an image that paid tribute to many people who sacrificed, literally.  i can follow my dreams because people paved the way.  aerial is everything you see and more.. she is fierce, fun and always sweet.

for the full slide show: just Aeriel

in the city with megan + the boys

a friend of a friend is nice. a friend of a close friend is even better. from our first contact megan was excited to have a family session with her boys. too cold to be outside, we decided for some indoor studio time. my rules at the studio for kids and parents alike are, 1. no wanton destruction of property and 2. no fire starting
these two rules cover a lot and actually make for a fun day. parents get a little nervous about my relaxed style in-studio, but i never want to dampen children’s natural energy. that’s what i want to capture. so with help and genius from the man crew, we had a great time. my new friend brendan and i had a cuddle and jake was begging to be squeezed,  but he was having none of it.

For a complete slideshow click here:  in the city with megan + the boys


sofia, a barn, papa & trees

for a photographer, the hardest people to photograph is our immediate family. d the two people i love the most are the hardest for me to capture because,  they never sit still, they are always running, they have their own agenda even on a shoot day. my heart and soul are my husband and our daughter sofia. new year’s day, we drove into the country to see our dear friend, Lisa. she fed us on homemade eggnog and other delicacies. we decided to take a look at the remaining barn on her families maryland property. sofia explored the barn, ran around the old baseball field and tired out her dad. it’s the slow down moments that make you so thankful for what you have and fill you up with love.  i love my family and i hope you can see why i love them too.




For a full slideshow, click here:  sofia, a barn, papa & trees

happy new year from studioKAFI

it has been a great year for studioKAFI photography.  we relaunched in april, 2010 and have been going full tilt since then. i took a dive off the cliff into my personal projects and  i jumped into the pool of digital photography, social media, & marketing.  i’ve learned so much and i’ve met some amazing people, photographers, entrepreneurs in this short time.

thank you!

Kafi, Louis & Sofia

For the 2010 year-end video for studioKAFI, click here:  Happy New Year


St. Michael’s, Maryland – at sunrise


one of my secrets is that i have a huge amount of family within an hour’s radius of where i live.  so no matter how rough life can be, i know that there are people i love close by.  this shoot was special to me because it was with my cousin, Dr. Keith Hinderlie and his family.  while at every session i  hope to capture images that resonate with each person, it is a different feeling when each image you create becomes a mirror of people  you love and  a mirror sometimes of yourself.  i love you hinderlie family!


For the complete slideshow click here Hinderlie Family

your love, makes me…. / tu amor, me haces….

december session, outside on a windy day, on a steep hill with a canon. perfect venue for family photos. my mind said stay indoors, but my heart said let us do natural light. juan and sandra were determined to make a special memory for the children this christmas. the have been through a difficult time recently and wanted to do something special with everyone. so we ran, laughed and cried our way around federal hill last saturday. the light was sweet and so was this ‘familia’

sesión de diciembre, exterior en un día ventoso, en una colina escarpada con un canon. lugar perfecto para las fotos de familia. mi mente dijo estancia dentro, pero mi corazón dijo nos dejó hacer la luz natural. determinaron a Juan y a Sandra para hacer una memoria especial para los niños la esta Navidad. el tener sido con un rato difícil recientemente y quiso hacer algo especial con cada uno. funcionamos, reímos y gritamos tan nuestra manera alrededor de la Federal Hill Park, el sábado pasado. la luz era dulce y así que era este familia.

quiero agradecerle por compartir su familia, su alegría y felicidad. mil besos, con mucho amor y afecto.

To view the complete slide show click here Sandra Y Juan = Familia

To purchase prints click here studioKAFI.com

greer family christmas

the word i would use to describe this family is unique.

the girls were ready for their session, the minute i walked through the door. they laughed, posed themselves, jockey for position and most of all shared their sisterly affection.


valerie is obviously one of those mothers who anchors the whole family.

we decided on the setting.before i arrived. there would be a christmas tree, candlelight a fire and maybe some cookies. one wardrobe malfunction, no tree, no mantle, no fire, no candle light, no cookies. yet for some reason, there was still laughter, much joy and of course a song.


i adore this special family and they adore each other.


to see the complete slideshow, click here the greer family

lydia & sabina

a new Milestones Session. my  sugar-plum faeries, lydia & sabina.  just a few moments, to capture two sisters. they flitted and floated and my fifteen minutes flew.  what more can i say about these two beauties. this is a mini-post for a mini-mini session.  love and kisses.




To view the complete slide show click here: lydia & sabina

willow grove farm + tanguays

we discussed the time, the location.  we debated the weather temperature. i checked weather.com.  could the kids handle the cold? were we in the right place? we made it! it was cold, but beautiful.  there was hot chocolate, a game of kafi-says (aka simon says) and lots of running, trampling and pathfinding. i’ll say it again, it was just plain fun.  ben and susanna, definitely in love. camden is all girl while levi is most definitely all boy.  a good time was had by all.



in love, love


to see the complete slide show go to tanguay’s at willow grove farm

Justin+Ritta+Bryson = Fall at Ft. McHenry

Ft. McHenry, october 2010. on this day,  there was no war, no one composing music set to history; instead, we had a gorgeous morning perfect for baby bryson’s outing with his mom and dad.  we had loads of fun with bryson and he set the pace for our morning. we waited for the first smile and then time flew. justin + ritta, i loved seeing how much you love each other and how much you love bryson. he’s well-loved and a perfect combination of you both. with two mothers at the session, at bryson’s first sneeze, we were done.



first smile





justin + ritta


dad’s hands

wonderful family

For more images, click here:  Justin+Ritta+Bryson – Images | Kafi D’Ambrosi.

orgullo hispano/hispanic pride, broadway series

i’ve been photographing a series on broadway avenue, here in beautiful baltimore, md.  the current life on this street is quite fascinating. north avenue & broadway is slightly depressed, only lightened by the stretch of johns hopkins, which folds into the itinerant workers, then the hispanic culture center of broadway and then into historic fells point.  this painting is located on the southbound side of broadway.  this mural speaks to me and every time i pass by i stop to read it.  here is to celebrating Hispanic Heritage month.

‘The dignity created through a rich history of effort,sacrifice and work is what for me, symbolizes, Hispanic Pride’

at the rio, with ganthet + ?

i was very excited all week about my session with aeriel and ganthet. early yesterday morning, a croupy aeriel called to say she had to cancel. “how about a mini-session with ganthet?”, i suggested. so here we were without our aeriel. he gave his side of the story about their on again, off again romance.  his version is spicy, her version is more romantic, but we’ll get to that later.

missing aeriel

more laughter

To see more Ganthet click here: Ganthet

motherhood in maryland

i used to have this weird concept that i would make a great mother one day, but bad wife.  let’s just say, i’m hoping to go from ‘good to great‘ in both areas. my facebook friend list is filled with all the ‘babies’ i used to take care of, who are now grown and are mothers, fathers, artists and all around fantastic people who want to change the world.  last week, one of the babies i used to care for, joey d’entremont passed on.  it was a bittersweet week seeing friends that i love and have  missed, grieve. i know many of us, took time to slow down and cherish our loved ones.  this is my little loved one, sofia at the baltimore book festival a year ago today.

small circle, joey d’entremont

last week i had the pleasure of doing a maternity session with the wonderful ruut and watch her blossoming with life as she is due to give birth at any time.  this morning i was asked to do family portraits at a funeral.  a young man was killed over the weekend, while crossing the street near his home. hundreds upon hundreds showed their respect to him and his family today.  we often think of birth and death as the circle of life.  today i realized that this circle of life is often much smaller than we can imagine.

joey d.

#wppi road trip 2010, dc + j*

the day began with no coffee, add in beltway traffic into dc, an hour late and an airport taxi is  blocking the parking lot.  of course i yelled at the taxi to move it. i ignored the garage full sign, and begged for valet parking. a little brunette, stepped out of the cab in great boots and great hair.  of course it was the reason i came to the road trip, @jasmine star. we had the same expressions of being disenfranchised.  can’t wait to have the cherry on top of a great sunday.  it’s been a fantastic day of learning and meeting great photographers

no nades in palm springs

i loved living in california. i think somehow i’ve been tagged by it.  as summer is almost coming to an end and i think of the fences we put up in our own lives. there are boundaries that made sense at one point, but no longer are significant.  here is to cutting away at fences without meaning, swimming in the desert without a lifeguard and enjoying life!

house of fritz

i met a man named rudy, who had lived in the same house for over 30 years. he asked me to come and shoot his property. my favorite thing was his dog fritz’s house, it was solid, built many years ago, filled with fresh straw and lovingly maintained. rudy has had three dogs in the past 30 years, all named fritz, none of them ever slept in the dog house.  this made me laugh.


many artists, myself included, strive for that one shot that evokes emotion, feeling, memories and a response.  i often want to capture that edgy photo with the wow factor.  when i shoot for myself, i am capturing my own memories.  i failed to realize that my own memories as a mother are often the memories shared by other mothers. today is a studioKAFI fan favorite.  the pink shoes.  emotion evoked? love and affection.


bryson. there are some photographers that are just photograph babies.  yesterday, meeting bryson for the first time convinced me to reconsider my focus. everything good about a new baby was there in bryson. a wonderful mother, sweet sunlight and of course a blanket was all we needed.

celebrate life

in the past week, a horrible act of violence was committed against someone in my family, a friend of mine passed away, i was in a wedding and a baby was born. i don’t understand the meaningless violence, i don’t know if my friend knew how special she was, i hope the marriage is even more beautiful than the wedding. it has been a full circle of life kind of time. i hope that we can all celebrate life as it should be celebrated.


Ms. JacksonI’ve always had a fascination with storytellers.  My grandmother was one of those people.  To me the most fascinating thing about a story teller are their hands.  Young, old, weathered and tender, they are always a story within themselves.


StudioKAFI Photography is ‘the art of every day’ Our website, studioKAFI.com has been launched. It has been fabulous working with Anthony Rayl of NoticeDesign.com and we appreciate all the hard work. While we have been in business since 2001, we are taking this opportunity to relaunch our fresh new vision of lifestyle photography, fine art and social commentary. We hope you enjoy our site, our images and our stories.