Archive for 'Personal'

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!



February 19, 2013

We are so very pleased to announce that we’ll be launching our new website on Thursday, February 28th! That’s only 9 days away! We’ve been hard at work building our new site, and more importantly building our new brand. We’ve already been so overwhelmed with the love and support you’ve all shown us as we’ve been a little MIA here on the ol’ blog, but working hard behind the scenes. Throughout this whole process, it’s been very exciting for Tim and I to consider who we are as artists, what we want this extension of ourselves – Grain & Compass – to be, what sort of stories we want to tell, and why.

Here’s a little something I wrote for our new Facebook page – it describes much of what we’ve been thinking through and dreaming about.

At the depth of our being, we are relational. We want to know you, to hear your story, and to retell it in a beautifully honest way through our photos and video. We don’t take photos simply with the intention of making a beautiful image. Instead we strive to capture who you truly are, honestly and without pretention. We want to know you and for you to know us. It is through that process that we hope you become comfortable enough in front of the camera for us to capture your personality in an authentic way. The best photos are captured when you let go and allow yourself to be you.

In case you’re not terribly active on Facebook, you should know that in celebration of launching our new site, we’re hosting a little giveaway over there! Head on over and cast your vote by “liking” our new page AND “liking” your favorite photograph in this gallery. The couple with the most votes at midnight on Wednesday, February 27th is going to win a lovely little album ($450 value) from their session or wedding!

Speaking of weddings, our dates are filling up for this year! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to know more about what we offer in the way of photography and videography! We’re so stoked about all the couples we’ll be working with this year and can’t wait to share their stories with 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

November 8, 2012

This post is a bit of a departure from our norm. It’s purely a personal project, an exploration, and a creative collaboration. The idea for this shoot has been rolling around in my mind for a little over a year now, with new ideas being added and old ones thrown out. It finally transformed into what you see below. Before you look at the photos, you must read the short story below. I sent these pictures over to my dearest friend Paige, who you’ve seen on the blog many times before. She’s a fantastic writer and has a way of using words that sweeps you away to a different time and place. Check our her blog, For the Love of Literaturehere if you enjoy anything remotely literary. I asked Paige to craft a short story based solely on the photographs, and what she came up with was even better than I could’ve hoped for! Enjoy!


     There once was a young lady by the name of Samantha Thatcher who was born to a wealthy aristocratic family in the heart of New York City. It was said that on the day she was born, her hair was as much a surprise as her premature arrival. Both parents possessed dark hair the same color as the soot collecting in the numerous chimneys in their beloved city. So when Sam, as she soon came to be nicknamed, made her early appearance with bright red tresses sticking up in all directions, the newly hired maid ran shrieking from the room that the child had been born with her head on fire. As her father sat gazing down his meticulously manicured mustache with the young maid’s shrieks fading down the halls, he knew this tiny daughter with hair the shade of flames, would never cease to be peculiar.
     The tiny baby grew into a small girl who proved her father’s premonitions to be true. She hid from her exasperated French tutor in a tall sweetgum tree and was always somehow in trouble with the neighborhood boys. Her mother gave up on repairing tears and stains on her expensive boutique clothes and settled for staring disapprovingly at Sam’s scraped knees whenever she was in the same room. Sam knew she was a scourge on her parents’ reputation and happily passed the time in an unused attic room positioned under a gable of the house. The steeply angled walls offered a quiet sanctuary away from the bustling city of smoke and hawker’s cries where Sam poured over a book entitled The Cyclopedia of Wonders and Curiosites which she had “borrowed” from one of her tutors who had intended it for a male student.
     Within the book’s pages, Sam learned of famous Greek heroes and brave Joan of Arc. She traveled to Saudi Arabia and the Jungles of South America. She soaked in illustrations of the Great Pyramids and the Floating Gardens of Mexico. But her favorite chapter of all was titled “Most Remarkable and Astonishing Creatures of the Known World”. Sam was fascinated by the animals and insects described below pen and ink illustrations. She carefully memorized the facts of each creature and practiced portraying them in her own sketches. She started collecting anything of interest in old milk bottles that she lined up along the windowsill. Within the glass, lit behind by sunlight, were kept leaves and feathers of unique shapes, sparkling rocks, insect shells, and other oddities. Her father would overhear snatches as Sam skipped down the stairs muttering about the lengths and color variations of net-winged beetles. He would peer over his newspaper at his contrary daughter, shake his head, and go back to puffing on his enormous pipe.
     One blustery day, Sam had once again succeeded in losing her French tutor and thought to go for a stroll in the park. She was busy inspecting a line of ants marching along the trunk of a tree with the magnifying glass she kept in her petticoat pocket when something cold and wet nudged her hand. She swung around, tool still in hand, to see an enlarged dog nose through the glass. She dropped the glass to discern a skinny spotted dog sitting by her boot with a tail whipping up dust on the ground behind it. Sam couldn’t believe her luck! She fished out a piece of leftover cheese from her many pockets and held it out for the dog who picked it up daintily with her teeth before devouring it in one bite. From then on the two were inseparable and her parents saw the uselessness in trying to keep the skinny stray from the house.
     As Sam turned from small girl into a young lady, the passion for discovering the wonders of the world grew with her. She spent hours in the grass, her dog’s head resting on the gentle rise and fall of her stomach, gazing up into the clouds which turned into mighty ships pushed along by the wind. She thought about how her milk bottle collection was so scant compared to what she knew to be out in the world and when her mother had happened upon the assemblage while looking for hatboxes, she’d thrown most of it away in disgust. She started to feel trapped under the city’s suffocating closeness. She thought it must be rather like how it would feel to be encased in amber, like the moth she had found. A gilded cage. She was tired of the stuffy old suitors her parents persisted on having her make polite conversation with. It was time to leave.
     Samantha Thatcher stood with her leather trunk and her dog at the edge of the dock. Steam billowed out of the great ships awaiting their cargo. Their steel hulls loomed out of the murky water so that she had to lean back and shade her eyes to see the railing. She tried to shut out the whistles and the men shouting over each other as she mentally ran down the list of what she packed. She had carefully stowed away all of her journals and sketchbooks, cases full of drawers and compartments for collecting, and a new assortment of glass vials and jars. Lastly, she’d placed her Cyclopedia of Wonders and Curiosities between a stack of sweaters. A burly man sporting a scruffy beard and kerchief around his sweaty neck lifted her trunk with a groan. She could hear the jars clinking against one another. “Excuse me for asking, Miss, but where might you be headed off to with all of this?” panted the man as he eyed her dog.
 “On an adventure,” replied Samantha.


Many thanks to everyone who helped bring my imagination to life:

Our models: Sara Orr and Lily the dog

Hair and Makeup: Courtney Thomas

Kim McIlwaine from Il Bella Gardens for letting us use her property for our location

My mom for transforming a hideous old wedding dress into the long flowing skirt Sara is wearing in the final shots

My dad for letting us use his “Nature Collection”

Our favorite thrift and antique stores where we collected many of the treasures: West Stanly Christian Ministries, The Carousel Horse, and The Depot at Gibson Mill

My parents house, where we collected the rest of the treasures, including Lily

Paige Daniels Nguyen for writing a beautiful story that gives the perfect backdrop to these images

Tim. For all his patience with me as I collected all manner of glass baubles, vintage clothes, and other doodads to complete the picture I had in my mind.