Your Transformational Photographer and Mentor
My name is Tatiana. However, people tend to call me Tati, Tat, Tater Tot, Taterani, Hottie Tottie, Tornado, or something along those lines. I come from a Danish and Hawaiian father and a 100% Norwegian mother. Plus, I have the greatest younger brother in the world. I was born in San Francisco, raised in Houston, and since I was in the womb, I traveled to Norway to visit my mom’s side of the family. My sense of home has never belonged to one place and often times, I feel like my heart is sprinkled all over the world.
Ever since I was young, as cliche as this may sound, I’ve always had an affinity for life. Although my life has been far from only peaches and roses, I’ve had this burning fire within me to live and then live some more. It may be my triple Sagittarius nature or simply, this innate recognition that life is short and we get to choose how to live it.
On one hand, this fire has showed up in mildly 😉 adventuresome ways. I never sat still as a child, searching for snakes in my backyard, doing karate with the boys, swimming during all hours of daylight, and so on. By the age of 17, I took it up a notch by traveling internationally on my own. I worked random jobs during the school year, so I could save enough money to convince my parents that I had the funds to travel. Shout out to them for somehow trusting and recognizing that this was apart of my soul’s path! Over 10 years later, I’ve spent at least a month in 15 countries across 5 continents. I could write a book on this alone.
On the other hand, my Sagittarius nature has showed up in a much more deep, spiritual, and introspective way. My external explorations are beautiful mirrors for the internal journeys I’ve always taken as well. I’ll never forget as a young girl, sneaking up to our roof top and watching the stars for hours, feeling more connected to God than I could possibly describe in words.
Even though I’ve always felt a connection to the unseen, I didn’t have my “questioning life moment” until of all nights… on prom night. I had a conversation with someone who planted the right seeds for me to begin exploring the edges of my mind. Three years later, I was studying abroad in Cape Town and taking part in my first plant medicine ceremony. If I thought my eyes were open already… Well, this ceremony certainly blasted them open for good.
As my spiritual path started rapidly unfolding, I was still in college, figuring out what on Earth I was doing in the “professional realms”. Business school was feeling more and more wacky and my ability to sit in a desk from 9-5 was feeling less and less tangible. In the midst of a summer internship at a corporate bank, I had an experience that awakened my love for the camera. I owned a camera since I was 11. However, it suddenly dawned on me, “Wait… As second nature as this feels, there’s something really special here.” I bought my first professional camera and the rest is history.
When I graduated college, I hit a fork in the road moment – go corporate or follow my heart. I unanimously chose my heart. Within a month, I gathered my savings, packed my bags, and moved overseas. My intention was to fully devote myself to the camera.
I started by offering free, collaborative photoshoots. Each photoshoot was a rich learning experience and within a matter of months, I was working with massive influencers, top models, luxury Air BNBs, local brands, travel agencies, and more. It was almost as if my “learn as I go” mentality was moving faster than I could keep up with. I thought to myself, “How on Earth is this all happening so quickly?”
I decided it was time to get some formal training under my belt (as fun as it was “winging it”). Next thing I know, an opportunity in Milan led to me working for one of the only photo assistant agencies in the world. For three months, I assisted some of the best photographers in the industry. Even though the work was grueling… I’m talking “12 to 16-hour days on our feet with no lunch break” kind of vibes… I gained a degree’s worth of knowledge. My year overseas came to an end and the nudges were pointing me to the Big Apple.
As all of this was happening, I was still deepening on my spiritual path. There were times where I’d assist for a Vogue set during the week and then attend a sacred ceremony on the weekend. I started to feel like I was straddling two very different worlds. The lack of synergy was becoming unavoidable and I began asking myself questions like… “What am I doing? Who am I? Am I totally out of my mind? …” You know, the quarter life crisis questions.
In February 2019, I miraculously received the answers to my prayers. I was sitting by myself at a coffeeshop in Houston, eating breakfast and reading “Women Who Run With the Wolves”. All of a sudden, everything went white. I couldn’t see anything except for a vision that appeared of myself in the future. I saw myself in a photography studio, sitting across from a woman. Together, we were meditating, laughing, tapping, crying, sharing, screaming and all the rest. Afterwards, I took photos of her. However, rather than only focusing on her outsides, I was capturing more of her insides. Her essence, radiance, sensuality, power, pleasure… Boom. The vision ended.
This moment single-handedly changed my life. It felt like the greatest challenge because my present moment looked nothing like the vision and yet, it felt like the greatest blessing because it gave me a sense of direction. Even though I was a few months out from moving to NYC, the Mecca of fashion and beauty photography, the vision never left my heart.
Looking back, I thought I was moving in the right direction in NYC. I was reaching new heights as a photographer and working for my role models as an assistant. However, COVID gave me the course correction I didn’t know I desperately needed. It sucked me out of that city like a vacuum and planted me in the comforts of my parents’ homes.
For the next 12 months, I was isolated, celibate, sober, and submerged in the darkness of the cocoon. The stillness illuminated all of the ways I was living in “half ass” alignment. As challenging as it was, I could feel that it was time to “clean house” and let go of all the beliefs, stories, relationships ties, and traumas that were ready to be shed. The old must die before the new is born, as they say!
As all of this “death” was happening, without even realizing, I launched my business. I started an Instagram called Awaken + Align and at first, it was my way of sharing my voice with the world. After years of keeping my spiritual journey to myself, I was ready to share everything I knew related to healing, transformation, personal development, and more. Soon thereafter, inspired action led me to offering online circles, 1:1 sessions, and deep-dive workshops. New life started to take form, while the whispers of Tulum grew louder…
In March 2021, I listened to the nudges once again and moved to Tulum, Mexico. After a year of transforming from the inside out, I felt ready to re-enter the world as a new version of myself. Tulum welcomed me in with loving arms and opened my eyes to a life I didn’t know possible. It was as if all of my vision boards, manifestation journals, and morning visualizations were coming to life. I remember telling my friend at Burning Man in 2019 that I wish there was a place where I could experience this all year around. Tulum was that place.
Within a few months, a series of Divine events led to the birth of transformational photography. The vision I saw in 2019 was finally ready to come to life! I’ll never forget my first session. The exhilaration of weaving healing, coaching, and photography in a way I hadn’t seen elsewhere… It still brings tears to my eyes. Within my 1.5 years in Tulum, I captured over 100 people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, you name it. You can only imagine my heart explosive excitement that so many people were feeling called to this work!
At this point, something even bigger and better happened. I met my man, my beloved, my King, my world, and the One I desire to spend the rest of my life with. Once again, I could write a book on him alone. As if Source couldn’t get any better, he happens to be born and raised in Maui, Hawaii, the land of my father’s ancestors.
In February 2022, we hopped on a plane for Mamma Maui to facilitate at a retreat together. My partner whisked me straight from the airport to one of the most sacred parts of the island, Iao Valley. Within moments of my feet touching the soil, I dropped to my knees in howling tears. I could feel my ancestors rising and welcoming me home once again. After years and years of knowing I would live in Hawaii one day, the time had come.
This leads me to the chapter of life I find myself in now. The medicine of this land is affecting me in ways I don’t have words for quite yet. There are many changes happening, from new gifts coming online, new offerings being born, new ideas being created and yet, the story is still being beautifully written…
As I close, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read this!!! Although there are many details interwoven in between, this is by far the most intimate biography I’ve shared publicly. I hope that it could offer you not only a glimpse into my world, but serve as a powerful mirror for yours. Whether it was a seed of inspiration, clarity, reflection, or whatever it may be, may this serve as fuel to the fire of your life too! Mahalo for being here!
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