audre rae photography


Posts in Seeds of Africa
In Ethiopia With Seeds

As many of you know, back in 2013 I travelled to Ethiopia to work at a school and document for Seeds Of Africa. After returning a decided I wanted to share my images and not just through my instagram, Facebook and blog but instead with prints in a pretty gallery filled with people who can discuss the images rather than giving it a thumbs up or a heart. I wanted these images to do something for Seeds of Africa and the families they support, so I put together a show, had a grand opening and all proceeds from sales will go to Seeds of Africa this coming Monday when I go out to New York for a fundraising event where two of my prints will be auctioned off. This has all been exciting for me, I do enjoy documenting weddings, families and even fashion but this is what makes me the happiest. Below you will find the prints that are currently for sale, these prints are mounted and ready to be put on your wall sizes range from 12x18 ($150) to 16x24 ($250) -- if you are interested in purchasing a print, please email me: --- All proceeds will go to Seeds of Africa.  






In Ethiopia With Seeds

As many of you may know, last summer my darling Luke and I traveled to Ethiopia to teach for and work with an education and community development nonprofit called Seeds Of Africa. During my time there I took many photographs of the children and the community as well as taught the students photography . When I returned home I thought about the many photographs that now sit on a hard drive and decided to put together a gallery show to share what Seeds Of Africa is doing to my community here in Madison, Wi. Adama, the city where we were is about the same size as Madison and in many ways they are similar, so it is only fitting to share with you all my experience, my photographs and together raise some money to help Seeds Of Africa continue with all of the things they are doing. The opening is this Saturday, April 26th at the Common Wealth Gallery located at 100 S. Baldwin St. Madison, WI. We will be there from 6-10pm with Yes Coffee Roasters sampling Ethiopian pour overs, as well as some lovely coffee donated by Johnson Public House - Brown Rice and Honey is baking some delicious goodies, there will be a raffle  and DJ ASUMAYA (aka Luke) will be spinning some Ethiopian cassette tapes that we found on our days off.

The gallery will be open until May 2nd, which there will be a closing reception from 5-9pm for Madison's Gallery Night.

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Coffee Ceremony

As I sit and enjoy my morning coffee, I daydream about Ethiopia, and the wonderful coffee we had daily while we were there. What I loved most about our trip ( tied with the adorable children I was able to hang out with) were the coffee ceremonies. Everyday after Luke and I were done teaching we would go over to Genet's home for an amazing lunch and after we were done eating we would sit for an hour and drink the freshest coffee you will ever have.  Before you can enjoy a cup of coffee in Ethiopia, you first roast the beans, grind the coffee using the mukecha and zenezena ( which act as a mortar and pestle). By this time the water to brew the coffee is ready in the jebena (decorated traditional coffee pot) - adding the water and recently ground coffee to let boil together and then served. We were able to enjoy this tradition daily, sometimes twice a day and for Ethiopians, the coffee ceremony can happen 3 times a day, it is an important social event to gather the family and community to talk and be together - I find is wonderful and I miss sitting in Genet's compound listening to the ladies talk to each other in Amharic. Here is a series of images that I took of all the wonderful women who invited us to coffee ceremonies.

UKG Photography

Happy Ethiopia Monday! It seems these will sadly end soon since I only have a few more things to write about but today I am very excited to share with you some of my students work! If you weren't aware, while I was in Adama, when I wasn't photographing for Seeds of Africa I was teaching the children photography thanks to a handful of wonderful friends who donated their old digital cameras to me to give the children. So today is all about the UKG (upper kindergarden) class and my favorites of their images. I tried to teach the children some simple composition and maybe you can pick some up in these images but my amharic is, well pretty much nonexistent and they were just starting to learn english - so communicating was a bit challenging and by week two I was just letting the kids go wild with the cameras to I ended up really enjoying the outcome:


Micro-Finance Project

The reason we were connected with Seeds of Africa is the same reason why this organization has this wonderful Micro-Finance Project for the mothers- and this reason is the lovely Maggie Sands. I met Maggie a little over a  year ago on a shoot and while working together here and there I was able to learn more about Seeds and what they do not only for the children but also for the parents.  To start they offer an adult literacy program that offers the parents the opportunity to upgrade their level in reading, writing and financial literacy, acting as a tool for personal empowerment and a means to reach their full potential as parents, community members and employees. After that they offer a Three Day Entrepreneurship Seminar, and in November of 2012, twenty-three mothers participated. The seminar focuses on topics such as separating money between business and household, reinvesting profit, maintaining records, thinking proactively about new markets and a how-to in writing a business plan. If both programs are completed then the women are eligible for the Micro-Finance Project which allows the women to create a business through a Micro Credit of about 2,000 birr per person (2.000 birr is about 105USD). This opportunity allows mothers to work independently, train in a field to increase household income, and moving away from the traditional aid model, a shift takes place allowing mothers to support themselves and their families. So after Luke and I would teach during the week, on the weekends we would go out into the community to meet some of the business owners. On the first Saturday we went to visit Martha and Banchiayahu's mother who has a successful business selling injera, which is a traditional flatbread made out of teff flour and served with just about every meal in Ethiopia. While we were there we learned about her business and she talked to us about how big of an impact Seeds has been for her and her family. She told us that since she has opened her business she has made a wooden box and every day she puts a percentage of her earnings in the box, she plans to open after she has paid off her loan to Seeds.

Music Project - Take Root Center

Today I get to brag about my boyfriend Luke, and what he did at the Take Root Center while we were in Ethiopia. Luke is an elementary art teacher  here in Madison so prior to us leaving I knew he was going to feel right at home. Luke worked on a music project with the students, he helped them record songs that either they have written or their teachers did, he also had them create album art and he taught them basic video editing. He will be putting together an album of all the songs that he worked on and will hopefully sell them to raise money for Seeds of Africa.  Together Luke and I made videos of the songs, I would take video clips throughout the day and then Luke would put it all together, you can see my favorite one here. Luke also had the idea to put together a little documentary about the Take Root Center, you can watch that here. I have heard from many people here in Madison that Luke is an incredible teacher, and although I have never doubted it, it was so wonderful to be able to witness him in action, it was an amazing experience to share with Luke and he is the best travel companion a girl could ask for.

The Take Root Staff

This week on Ethiopia Monday I have a collection of images of the staff at the Take Root center. They all were incredibly dedicated, treated us like family and made us feel very welcome.  We worked with them at the center and had lunch every day over at Genet's house - always amazing and always made me eat way more than I needed to.

Fun at the Take Root Center. (Ethiopia)

As most of you know I have just returned home from just shy of a month long trip to Ethiopia where my boyfriend, Luke and I spent the majority of our time working with Seeds of Africa , teaching at the Take Root Center (See blog about my teaching here). Along with teaching the Seeds I was asked to document the TRC, staff and the community, so I have many photographs and stories to share -so for the next several weeks, Mondays will be 'Ethiopia Day' - I will be posting my photographs and telling my stories from our travels so be sure to check out my blogs on Mondays!  

Today the following images are from our time out in the playground with the kids, everyday between classes and after classes were done, Luke and I would get to jumprope, play football and I would usually get my hair done (no photo proof of this).

For more information as to what Seeds of Africa does please visit their website here

Teaching Seeds

For the last few weeks I have been spending my days in Adama, Ethiopia teaching and photographing for Seeds of Africa , a nonprofit educational organization that runs an after-school program that includes academic projects, cultural enrichment, the arts, ethics, sports and student health education. In addition, students are provided with nutrition, medical services, clothing and school supplies. I encourage all of you to click to the link for Seeds of Africa to learn more. My boyfriend, Luke and I were asked to come and teach art at the Take-Rook Center , Luke did an amazing music project with the kids, together we made a series of videos and I taught photography thanks to a handful of my friends who donated their digital cameras (I showed up to the center with 10 great point&shoot digital cameras that I was able to leave there for the kids to use!). For the next few weeks my blog posts will be filled with many of the photographs from my time at the Take-Root Center along with my students work. Stay tuned, and enjoy.