When I was growing up, my brother, Ryan always gave me the worst Christmas gifts...One time he gave me a Hot Wheels car for Christmas when I was 16!  That all ended when one year my brother gave me a National Geographic book filled with portraits of people from around the world.  At the time, my brother was studying painting and sculpture on the East Coast and was becoming accomplished at his craft.  For the first time, I did not disregard this gift, but was inspired by it.  I looked at the imagery and thought that I could tell the stories of the people in those photographs.  It was then that I decided to use photography to express my story and the stories of others.

My brother, R. Rashad, has been my greatest collaborator.  He is the person that I bring my most provocative ideas to and he challenges me to think deeper and make them stronger.  Every so often, we blend our mediums and create work together.  The image shown above is an example of such collaboration.  I shot an image in film and had it printed on canvas.  My brother then painted over top the image with oil based paint to create an added dimension to the narrative of the piece.  This and a few other collaborative pieces will be on display at our gallery show this weekend.  The show will also display our individual works of my photography and his sculptures and paintings.  With the help of Melissa Taylor, owner of Beauty Lounge Minneapolis, and Adora Tokyo spinning, this evening will be one for the books!

Here is a preview of some of R. Rashad's work:



Both  R. Rashad and Andrea Ellen Reed will be

accepting commissions and selling original work at the gallery show.










Who Do You #Respect?

Submit the Elder You Respect

to Be Apart of The Elders Project!

Here is a teaser for my project "The Elders"- a still photography and documentary project coming soon. Which elders do you ‪#‎respect‬? ‪#‎theeldersproject‬ ‪#‎aerphoto‬

No better way to celebrate ‪#‎tbt‬ than to introduce a project that has been on my heart for some time. My portrait and documentary project "The Elders" is a project that features those older than myself who have guided me as I make my way in this world. "The Elders" will soon feature the elders of others- uniting all our stories in one beautifully crafted documentation of a generation of people often overlooked. For a chance for your elder to be included in the documentary and portraits, Instagram and Facebook me a photo of you with your elder @andreaellenreed with a few sentences about why you ‪#‎respect‬ that person and what they have taught you. In order for your vote to count you must hashtag at least one word that describes them i.e. ‪#‎conviction‬, as well as include the following hastags: #respect ‪#‎theeldersproject‬ ‪#‎aerphoto‬ Anyone within the US is eligible. I will then fly (at my own expense) to meet your elder and tell their story of wisdom in "The Elders" documentary accompanied by a beautiful portrait. Only one will be chosen, so send me your best pic and your best story. As the stories pour in, I will share mine with you about my mom and why I #respect her so much. But for now, I will say I will always ‪#‎love‬ and #respect my mom for her‪#‎courage‬ and her ‪#‎strength‬! #theeldersproject #aerphoto ...For photos of "The Elders" visit andreaellenreed.com/the-elders

Me and my mom

Below is the first submission to be considered for inclusion in The Elders project from Renee Larson, owner of The Bow Tie Shoppe.  Check out who she #respects and what her person means to her...



Send me your submissions on Instagram @andreaellenreed and on Facebook to Andrea Ellen Reed Photographer

Black is the New Orange??

After watching the second season of Orange is the New Black, I was beyond hooked.  I feel in love with the complexity of the characters and how easily their dreams and mistakes so seamlessly intertwined.  The second season embodied everything I love about storytelling- it was honest, provocative, and beautifully nuanced.  I disappointed when it ended.  (And even more disappointed in myself that I inhaled the whole season in three days!)

Not long after bingeing did I come across a fan art contest on the internet to create work to celebrate the show.  All of the entrants thus far had been of either computer illustrations or those done by hand.  I have many talents but those are not among them.  Not one to be easily discouraged, I knew I could create something using my skill-- photography.  Shooting people is my specialty, but using real people would be to cumbersome.  There had to be some way to convey a narrative without using an actual person.  With my mind adrift, I asked myself..."If orange is the new black, why can't black be the new orange?"  Black...orange...Black Oranges!  Fruit has long been used to represent parts of the human anatomy.  Why not use the black orange to recreate some story lines in Orange is the New Black?

Armed with my new vision, I went to the store and grabbed a dozen oranges, black spray paint, orange screwdrivers, glycerin, peanut butter, and caramel apple dowels.  I stuck the dowels in the oranges and placed the other end of the dowel in a styrofoam base to spray paint them evenly.  The concept would not work unless the viewer was able to identify the inside as an orange so after the paint set, I cut into the orange to reveal the inside.  I cut multiple oranges until I got the most symmetrical V shape.  To make the dripping orange juice, I mixed glycerin with various flavors of Crystal Light.  Styling the peanut butter and the bag of oranges proved to be the most challenging, however.  Ultimately, I shot the orange and various props on a white seamless and transposed the orange onto the file in Photoshop.  This project was definitely a test of my food styling skills, but I knew that with some effort I could create something that was as well thought out and as provocative as the show itself.  

I was trolling the next the other day and was pleasantly surprised to find that my series, "Strange Fruit", was chosen as one of the Runner Ups for the Orange is the New Black Global Campaign! Check out the triptych below.

© Andrea Ellen Reed

© Andrea Ellen Reed

© Andrea Ellen Reed


While I was creating my pieces for OITNB contest, my husband, Iyare Oronsaye, was creating a piece for the contest as well.  Since he is a 3D Animator, it's very rare that he and I are working on similar projects.  He is always my go to when talking ideas through, but it was nice to be working creatively on the same project at the same time.  It's also interesting to see how we interpreted the challenge.

There must be something in the water at our house because we both got chosen as Runner Ups in the Orange is the New Black poster contest!  Go figure.  Check out his genius below...


© Iyare Oronsaye (aka My beautiful husband)

Iyare Oronsaye is a 3D Animator living and working in Minneapolis, MN.  Check him out and his dope animations at iyare.co.


Check out the finalists and other runner ups from the Orange is the New Black poster campaign click on the image below!

Click to view

Click to view

Dangerous Men

"All men dream, but not equally.  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are the dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." 

- T.E. Lawerence


A few weeks back, I began shooting my latest project Grayscale, which is a portrait series featuring bi-racial families.  I had the privilege of shooting three families thus far.  The project is brand new and filled with possibilities and I can not wait to see where it will go! Below is a peek inside...Stay tuned for more.