New Work for the Greater Twin Cities United Way

This winter I got the opportunity to work on a dream project with the Greater Twin Cities United Way. I shot portraits of immigrant communities, men reintegrating into society after incarceration, members of a Native American community center and a mother advocating for the education of her family. I conducted audio interviews with them and we paired the audio with their stills. Check out the outcome below.

Custom housing built to show the audio portraits that I conducted. See video below.

Custom housing built to show the audio portraits that I conducted. See video below.


Shortlisted for 2018 Catchlight Fellowship

CatchLight received a total of 317 proposals for consideration from 52 countries with an even gender split. A jury of seven leaders in the field of social documentary photography—spread across four continents—spent two weeks reviewing the top 125 of the submissions before meeting on February 24, 2018, to agree on a shortlist of finalists. Working as a focused team with guidance from Stephen Mayes (former secretary to the World Press Photo competition) and with input from the two media partners, the jury assessed the proposals with several key criteria in mind: 

  • Quality of photography and creative leadership
  • Collaborative ethos and commitment to creating and contributing to fellowship community over time
  • Ability to leverage stories to engender change

The judges reached a strong consensus that each of the shortlisted candidates represent excellence in visual storytelling on a vital social issue, with particular emphasis on innovative distribution.

The Final Selection
Final award decisions will now be made by the three media partners and CatchLight, conducting interviews and reviewing references to find the right fit between the issues and the organizational resources. CatchLight Fellowships will be announced on Tuesday, April 2, 2018.

CatchLight is very grateful to its talented panel of judges and trailblazing media partners:
Amy Yenkin, Former Director of Documentary Photography at Open Society Foundation
Shahidul Alam, Managing Director, Drik Picture Library & Founder, Chobi Mela Festival of Photography
Brent Lewis, Co-Founder of Diversify.Photo and Sr. Photo Editor of ESPN The Undefeated
Azu Nwagbogu, Founder of Lagos Photo Festival
Laura Beltrán Villamizar, Projects Picture Editor at NPR, Founder of Native Agency
Paul Lowe, Director at the London College of Communication
Nina Berman, Photographer at NOOR and associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Marcia Parker, Publisher & Chief Operating Officer of CALMatters
Jon Sawyer, Executive Director of The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Read full announcement:

Andrea Ellen Reed in Doc! Magazine

Fotodoks – Festival for Contemporary Documentary Photography


Focusing on a different theme and partner region for each edition, Fotodoks festival reflects and discusses contemporary documentary photography. This independent forum, which takes place in Munich (Germany) every second year since its establishing in 2008, is the largest festival for documentary photography in the German-speaking world.

With the topic ME:WE Fotodoks 2017 illuminates, in dialogue with the partner country – the USA, the relationship between the individual and the collective. The projects of the selected photographers tell of the search for security and love, describe exceptional situations, analyse political commitments and positions, observe boundaries and transgressions, and use the medium of photography as an escape ahead.

“For Fotodoks, the exchange between the photographers and the audience is very important and so we are thrilled that this year again a large number of the exhibiting photographers can be present at the festival in Munich,” – says Robert Pupeter, co-founder of Fotodoks. – “From the President of the photographer’s agency Magnum, Thomas Dworzak, to the versatile American photographer and author Tim Davis, to Sofia Valiente, winner of the World Press Photo award, many guests from the USA and German-speaking countries will be here to discuss and reflect with us.”

The ME:WE exhibition shows 17 photographic positions on the relationship between the individual and the collective. Within five days of the festival, photography will be reflected and discussed with photographers from the USA, Austria and Germany. 

Click to read the article and section on Andrea's work:

Juror Award Recipient for South Bend Museum of Art Biennial 29

Now in its 29th incarnation, the South Bend Museum of Art’s all media Biennial 29 presents a diverse look into contemporary artwork made by artists living in the Midwest. Open to artists residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, this exhibition is an up-to-date dialogue of art happening in our own backyard. The pool of exhibiting artists is deliberately limited to allow for the showing of a greater body of work by each artist. From 247 submitting artists, twelve were selected by juror Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky including Andrea Ellen Reed.

Andrea Ellen Reed awarded Juror Award by curator, Miranda Lash.



ASMP Member Profile w/Jenna Close

Andrea Ellen Reed

By Jenna CloseApril 25, 2017Member Spotlight


Andrea Ellen Reed is a storyteller based in Minneapolis and Brooklyn. She is also the President of ASMP Minneapolis-St Paul. Andrea’s “multi-sensory” project Unsighted was awarded a 2017 grant from the Tim Hetherington Trust. She can be found at

Watch Unsighted.

Watch a compilation of The Streets are Talkin’.

We Asked: What is Unsighted and how did you come up with the idea for the project?

Andrea Said: Unsighted is an experimental short film that exemplifies the evolution of my work into soundscapes and moving photography. I created this film in 2015 in direct response to race riots in Baltimore, MD and Ferguson, MO – both the result of the deaths of unarmed Black men. In the film, I created a soundscape of edited audio clips of pundits, civil rights activists, educators and newscasters to comment on how Black people internalize White supremacist culture.

I was participating in a Masterclass at Fabrica in Italy and wanted to present this work but the version I created was not working. The instructor asked me why creating this work was important to me and my perspective immediately shifted.  I was able to talk through my ideas and landed on something that was simple and powerful with Unsighted.

We Asked: How much time have you spent on Unsighted and how do you balance that with other work/life requirements?

Andrea Said: The time that I spend on Unsighted varies. To shoot and edit the video took two days, while researching how to exhibit the work in a public space has taken considerably longer. Working with sound and exhibiting my work outdoors is new territory for me and over the past couple of years, with the help of grants, I have had dedicated resources to help me prototype outdoor structures to show the work and connect me with professionals who have shown work in all spaces.

I have a full-time job and finding time to work on my projects can be challenging, but I made a commitment to myself that when I started working full-time I would continue to pursue my work by promoting it and seeking funding through grants. It was not until I had been working at least 8 months, that I was able to clear some headspace to be able to focus on my project with any real commitment.


©Andrea Ellen Reed

We Asked:  In your project The Streets are Talkin’, you combine still images with audio. Please tell us a little bit about the process of creating this project and what led you to include audio.

Andrea Said: The process of combining still with audio allows for the subject to tell more of their story and allows the viewer to experience it on many levels. I began using this multi-sensory form of storytelling at the 4th precinct protest where protesters shut down the 4th precinct police station in North Minneapolis. I thought this would be the perfect space for this project because it would allow the viewer to experience the protest by not only listening to the interview, but also by hearing the ambient sound of cars passing, fire crackling, and people interacting. To create the Streets are Talkin’ I began by spending time at the protest.  Slowly, I was able to see where the story was and approach people about participating.

We Asked: How do you find your subjects and then convince them to participate?

Andrea Said: My subjects are sometimes people I know, but are more often than not people I do not know or know very well. When I see someone that I want to photograph on the street I am usually attracted to their look- something in their face, their mannerisms, or their body language has a story to tell. I introduce myself while very deliberately holding my camera at my side or completely put away in my bag. I ask them what their name is and have a conversation with them that does not have anything to do with photography. I get to know them for a little while.  As we continue to connect, I let them know that I am interested in photographing them and telling their story. Most times people are open to that. Other times, they do not feel comfortable and we sit there and continue on in conversation.


©Andrea Ellen Reed

We Asked: What advice would you give to others who are looking for outside funding for passion projects?

Andrea Said: One thing I did that was very helpful was I met with a professional grant writer who had years of experience writing grants for corporations and non-profits. Her advice to me was to know what the organization is looking to fund and speak specifically to that. That really helped me to focus my efforts and tailor my message to each grant and that is when I started to see results. I would also advise that you keep records of all the grants you have applied for and keep track your latest fine art resume, bio, artist statement, and a folder of sized images. You will not be able to use your written docs word for word, but you will know where they are and be able to build on the strong parts every time you submit and soon you will have some really solid grant materials. I have found it really valuable to do one-on-ones with the staff that work for the grantors. I bring printouts of the work I am planning to submit and get feedback on everything from the order of the images to the messaging in my artist statement. My goals is to walk away from those meetings with a sense of any changes I need to make so my message is clear to anyone reviewing my work.

We Asked:  What is one of your greatest challenges as a photographer today?

Andrea Said: One of my greatest challenges as a photographer is continuing to make the work I want and need to make.  I became a photographer because I wanted to do challenging work, work that is not always popular and often times does not pay the bills. Over the years, in an effort to support myself, I have taken photography jobs that have taken me further away from my original goal.  There was a point where I had gone years without shooting anything of substance and that became daunting and made me question my relationship to photography. As an African American artist, it is imperative to me that I am always creating work that tells the stories of my community in a way that is thoughtful, engaging, and challenging.  Keeping sight of that has been my greatest challenge, but as I have grown as a person and an artist it is becoming less so.


©Andrea Ellen Reed

We Asked: What advice would you give to students and emerging photographers entering the industry today?

Andrea Said: I think it’s really important to have a creative community that will give you feedback and help you grow. While in school, you are encouraged to show your work multiple times a week, but when you are out of school, the focus becomes finding work. Sometimes that can be a very insular process. I would connect with as many photographers as you can find that share your skill, passion, and drive to be at the level you want to reach (and beyond) and show each other your work consistently. This will help inform your work as well as give you an opportunity to learn about successful business practices.

When I got out of school, I had more questions than answers. Because of this, I looked for people to give me answers by going to talks, one-on-one meetings, and information sessions. No one person or workshop can give you the answers you need to guide your career.  It’s important to go into any learning opportunity with a strong sense of your work and taking applicable info to inform your work, not define it.

We Said: Congrats on your Tim Hetherington Trust Award, Andrea! You can view Andrea’s work at the following links:


Watch Unsighted

Watch a compilation of The Streets are Talkin’






Tim Hethertington Trust Visionary Award 2017 Supplementary Award Winner


The Tim Hetherington Trust is proud to announce the Visionary Award 2017, which this year the judges have awarded to OMAR IMAM for completion of his innovative project “Syrialism”.  Described by some as “documentary Surrealism” Omar creates conceptual portraits of a carefully constructed cross section of the Syrian diaspora including pro and anti government voices, Jihadists and pacifists, professionals and artisans and many others who are represented in ways that reflect their perspectives and experiences.  Omar is primarily focused on challenging Syrian self perceptions in ways that provoke enlightened awareness of the broader Syrian condition, and secondarily offers a window through which other cultures can watch and learn about the Syrian experience since the onset of civil war in 2011.

Supplementary Award

In finalizing the Visionary Award 2017 the judges took the unusual step of adding a supplementary award to ANDREA ELLEN REED for her project “Unseen” which offers an authentic insight into the Black experience in USA 2017, told with startling clarity through a soundtrack of pundits, politicians and others describing the world we live in accompanied by a video of Andrea the artist watching and listening.  It’s an approach that is simple yet innovative and delivers a visceral understanding of how it is to be so deeply enmeshed in American culture yet held on the periphery as an onlooker on one’s own participation.  In keeping with everything that Tim stood for, it’s hard to describe yet simple to understand once seen and is overall profoundly honest.

The judges comment:
"Both projects are addressing fractured communities in different parts of the world.  Both artists are at a point in their careers when they could benefit from support and guidance and could use a cushion that would enable them to experiment.  They have a sense of their audience and where they want to go and would benefit from a little help on the tiller.  Their work transcends social divisions, national boundaries and challenges preconceptions and engages broader audiences.”