Archive for 'Non-Profit Work'

April 29, 2013

Thanks for visiting! We’re now located over here at our new site: Grain & Compass. We’re offering videography in addition to our photography and we’re really excited to see where our new brand will take us. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to know more about booking a photo or video session, or you can shoot us an email: hello[at]grainandcompass[dot]com  We look forward to hearing from you!



January 3, 2013

This past year has been full of travel, family, learning, growing, and challenges. We’re so grateful for everyone who has supported and encouraged us through our transition of moving back to North Carolina from Seattle and establishing our photography business back here. We are also so thankful for the opportunity we had to travel to Bolivia to provide professional photographs and video for the non-profit Mosoj Yan. We’re thrilled as we look forward at the year ahead and dream of where our new endeavor Grain & Compass might take us! We’re glad you’re alongside us for this adventure!

2012 looked like this:

– Settle into our new jobs and home in North Carolina

– Adopt two puppies – Watson and Bentley

– Visit Tim’s family in Maryland

– Spend time with Asharae’s family here in North Carolina

– Celebrate with Lauren and Andrew in St. Louis

Prep for Paige’s (Asharae’s best friend‘s) wedding which Tim photographed nearly single-handedly

– Celebrate with Paige and Khang here in North Carolina

– Attend Tim’s younger brother Ben’s graduation in Indiana

– Asharae chopped all her hair off

– Celebrate with Courtney and Ryan in Ohio

– Attend Asharae’s younger brother Christian’s graduation in Chicago

– Photograph lots of amazing people

– Travel to Cochabamba, Bolivia with our friend Emily to see where Tim grew up and to work with Mosoj Yan

– Fight with our insurance company over stolen gear and such (State Farm is not being a good neighbor.)

– Celebrate with Tim’s brother Richard and new wife Lindsey in Ohio

– Photograph more amazing people

– Travel to Hilton Head, Blowing Rock, Morrow Mountain, The House in the Horseshoe, Raleigh, and other places for photo shoots and weekends with friends

– Complete a fun personal project I’ve been yearning to do

– Do the videography for our very first wedding – see the sneak peek here

– Visit family over the holidays and take the puppies on their first road trip

– Filling up our wedding weekends for next year – contact us if you’d like more information about our photography and videography!

Rebrand Asharae Marie Photography to include Videography services under our new identity Grain & Compass (coming very soon!!)


Enjoy a little review of 2012 via a few of our favorite photos and videos.

December 13, 2012

We have been on a long journey this past year as we’ve been brainstorming and reworking Asharae Marie Photography. Since the beginning of our business, we’ve desired to create honest, beautiful images that will be cherished and passed down for years to come. Asharae Marie has been our baby for the last three years and it has allowed us to travel to amazing places and document beautiful stories. We are so excited that our current business has provided us a springboard to delve into the world of videography in addition to our photography. With this new exploration, and our desire for a name that opens the door for videography ventures, we’ve created Grain & Compass.

We wanted a name with depth – one that is beautiful on the surface and beautiful when you dig into the meaning behind it. Here are the thoughts behind our new name. We’d love to hear what you think!

The words Grain and Compass each serve as symbols of what we hope our photography and videography work to be.

Grain comes from the imagery of wood grain in the cross-section of a tree. Each of the rings in the grain represents a year in time, and each ring tells the story of that year – did the area experience heavy rainfall, a drought, a fire? The grain retells that tree’s story. In the same way that a tree marks certain events and the passage of time through its wood grain, we desire to mark certain events with a photograph and the passage of time through video.

A compass is honest. It always points north, and it directs you on your path. In the same way, we desire our work to be honest and authentic. We choose to not over-process our photos and video for a reason. We want to tell your story as it actually happened, rather than create a false reality. We hope that in difficult times, you’re able to reflect on the photos and video of your wedding day, for example, and remember the celebration, the commitment, and the joy. In those times we hope our work goes beyond a simple photo or video – we hope it serves as a compass, showing you which way is “north” and directing you back to the truth.

We’re thrilled to be able to share a little preview of our new brand! Here’s our logo designed by the incredibly talented Matt Daniels! Check out his other work here.

In the next month we’ll be shifting from Asharae Marie Photography to Grain & Compass. We’re excited to have you alongside us for this journey!

For now you can check out our temporary site: Grain & Compass

Like our new Facebook page!

Follow us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram: grainandcompass

October 11, 2012

When Tim, Emily, and I traveled to Bolivia in July, one of our main objectives was to photograph each of the young women living in Casa Albergue. We wanted to gift beautiful photos to each of these girls whose stories are not so beautiful. We knew two weeks in Bolivia would not be enough for us to “change their lives” in any significant way – that wasn’t our goal. Tim and I went to document the everyday life at Casa Albergue, in order to share their work with all of you and provide them with images and video for fundraising. Emily is currently working on her Doctorate in Psychology, so the staff at Albergue invited her back to do extensive research with the girls living there and even with some of the graduates of their program. As we worked alongside the staff at Mosoj Yan and Albergue, we heard beautiful stories of restoration and healing and redemption. It was an honor to photograph the girls those stories are about.

I dreamt of having an extended period of time with each of the girls to photograph them in a way that would truly reflect who they are. Instead, we had what I would call an afternoon of uncontrolled chaos. It was hilarious and fun and not anything close to the plan I had in my own mind. When we travel in Latin America, we have to remind ourselves of la manera latina – the latin way. Everything is go-with-the-flow, relaxed, unplanned, and unexpected. By the end of this trip we stopped planning what we’d do each day, because it never ended up how we expected. This particular afternoon, one of our last in Cochabamba, we laughed when we remembered we were photographing teenage girls – of course it would take them three hours to get ready for their portraits! When it came time for each of them to have their photo taken, they started out each pushing another girl to the front of the line, too shy to be the first in front of the camera. By the end, they were directing us around, deciding where they wanted to sit or stand and what “poses” to do next. Even though it wasn’t the carefully thought-out photo shoot I had in mind, it was beautiful to see the girls laughing and having a blast together and I’m grateful we were there to capture it.

You may remember we had our laptop stolen when we arrived in Bolivia – this prevented us from being able to give the girls these photos while we were still in the country. Luckily we had an Instax camera with us, so we improvised! Fujifilm makes this fun little instant camera which was perfect for the girls – they loved seeing the image appear right before them. While we’re still going to send each of the girls at Albergue a print of their photo below, we were happy to gift them with something small before we left!

If you haven’t read the last post about Albergue, you’ll want to start here. It’ll give you more background behind these photos and these girls’ stories.

October 3, 2012

Today I will be happy.

Today I will be happy. I will get rid of every sad thought in my Spirit.

Today I will be grateful to God for the joy and happiness he gives me.

Today I will try to change my life.

Today I will work cheerfully, with enthusiasm and passion.

Today I will be friendly. I will not criticize anyone.

Today I’m going to eliminate two plagues: busyness and indecision.

Today I will have confidence in myself.

Today I will confront all my problems with decisiveness and courage.

Today I will not envy those that have more money, that are more beautiful, or have better health than I do.

Today I will not think in the past. I will not hold a grudge against anyone. I will practice forgiveness.

I will repay bad with good. The future belongs to me.

And tomorrow I will have another day like today.

This is posted on the wall of the dining room where each of the girls at Casa Albergue eats each day. It is there as a reminder to these girls that they have been given a fresh start and, despite all that has happened to them, they can choose their next steps. These girls have lived on the streets. They have been abused verbally, physically, and sexually. They have been abused by people they don’t know and by their own family members. Some have been sexually abused since they were too young to know anything different. Others had to sell their bodies because they had nothing else left. One was kicked out of her own home after being raped by her father and becoming pregnant at 13. These girls know what it means to feel violated, hurt, fearful, and to be able to trust no one.

I’m not trying to shock anyone, but the reality of these young women’s stories is not a pretty one. I’ve had a hard time putting all of it into words – knowing what’s appropriate to share and what’s not. It’s not fun to talk or read about the truth sometimes. But if it’s truth that calls us to action that can help others, then it’s the truth we need to hear. These few young women at Casa Albergue are not the only ones who this has happened to. It has probably happened under our very noses and we haven’t been aware of it. We like to think that these things only happen in far away places like Bolivia. But that’s nowhere near true.

The girls in these photographs are blessed to have found (or been found by) Casa Albergue. Now they live in a place that is safe, they eat three meals a day, they go to school and learn a trade so they can have a legitimate job when they “graduate” from the house, and they learn where true healing and redemption comes from. The holistic treatment at Casa Albergue has an 85% success rate. That is, more than 8 out of every 10 girls graduate from the house, and go on to get a job to support themselves, further their education, even get married and have a family. This success rate is extraordinary. Because these girls are “treated” spiritually, in addition to physically and emotionally, they are transformed from the inside out. It is this transformation that has brought many of the young girls back to the house to help and volunteer for years after they have graduated. They know the transformative power and healing that a relationship with Christ has had in their own stories, and they want that for other girls as well.

Tim and I tell the stories of these girls to shed light on what they have been through. Our hope is that the photos, video, and stories we share speak to someone. We pray that someone is moved to support Mosoj Yan and the healing work they do for these girls. Or that someone decides to volunteer their time and energy to further what they and organizations like them are doing. Or, if nothing else, we hope that you share these stories with someone you know. They are hard to listen to and hard to share. But we must share them anyway. If we do so, perhaps other young women can find the same healing as those at Casa Albergue.

All of these images are from Mosoj Yan‘s Casa Albergue. This is the house where our sweet friend Emily spent six months during college, and where we spent most of our time while we were in Bolivia. Come back soon to see portraits of each of the girls in the house. It was an honor to hear their stories and to photograph each of them. We’ll post those soon!

Don’t forget to “like” this post or send it to a friend using the buttons below.

And send us an email if you’d like to know more about how to support Mosoj Yan.