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If Only For a Moment: Audre Rae's Camera Uncovers Human Potential

By Paul Rowe

Browsing Audre Rae's website, one is exposed to a wave of isolated moments, flashes of intimacy, tiny slivers of life that gleam for a moment from a couple embracing in an autumnal forest to bridesmaids preparing a young bride to be. These sparks of authentic human connection that we pass by every day are the driving force behind Madison photographer Audre Rae's craft.

"My passion for photography is rooted in my love for human connection," Rae said. "Through photography I am able to connect with people and document them as them, whether it is at their wedding with the love of their life or in their living room with their morning coffee."

These unscripted moments, the times in our lives when we are comfortable with the ones we love, define who we are more deeply than a staged photograph, which isn't lost on Rae. One secret to the depth of her work lies in the fact that she portrays clients as they actually live.

"Lately I've been really getting into doing in home lifestyle sessions with families, creating memories for families to look back on and remember how life was back then," Rae said. "You don't have to be getting married or having a baby to hire a photographer. Life is precious. Your days are special. Why not have them documented?"

What sets Rae apart is her warmth, her uncanny ability to relate to others, and her acute sense of empathy. After meeting up for a coffee or chatting on Skype, folks are simply drawn to Rae and feel comfortable acting like they normally would at home during her photo sessions. Rae's ultimate philosophy as a photographer is to bring out the authentic person, couple, or family. Luckily for Rae, this comes naturally.

"I want my clients to feel like they aren't being photographed. I want them to feel comfortable enough to forget I am there all together," Rae said.

For Rae, the stories that most define us absolutely need to be told. Deeply inspired by National Geographic as a young girl, Rae now travels the world capturing moments and sharing real tales of the ones who need their stories told the most.

From the Girls Rock Camp in Madison to a teacher in Milwaukee, a malnourished clinic in Guatemala or a water project in El Salvador, Rae unleashes the joy, suffering, and humanity of their tales. Working with the Girls Rock Camp is especially important for Rae. For years, Rae wanted nothing more than to play in a band, and now that she's achieved that goal, it is her desire to share moments of self-affirmation with young girls out there.

"I feel it is important to show these girls that they can rock too, and with that confidence, give them an understanding that they can do anything they want- being a girl doesn't put limitations on you," Rae said.

These captured moments compose the restorative narrative that anyone can become whoever they want to be in this life?they offer us glimpses of our own potential, if only for a moment.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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