Friday, 11 June 2010


Friday Finds... PhotoGrunt

This is my 30th interview of the amazing not-so-well-known artists of Etsy!

Steve of PhotoGrunt on Etsy is a fabulous photographer that I have twice mentioned in past Wednesday posts due to the the kind gesture of including some of my work on his own blog. I was delighted when he agreed to do an interview for this week, and by golly it's a fabulous one too. Steve's sense of humour throughout I found made his very precise photography seem so much more intriguing! I love how his focal point is entirely dependant on the surrounding light and shadow, and his chosen frame is based on what he can capture in the moment that it all seems to come together. It's a definitive style that is beyond point and shoot, which for me captures more than just the subject in the photograph but, the artist themselves. Almost like capturing your own reflection using subconscious descriptive imagery. I hope you enjoy Steve's photography as much as I do, and dont forget to check out his store offer at the bottom of the interview!

(Just click the images to go direct to the listings)

-- Tell me a bit about you! (Name, Age, Location, and give us a random fact whilst you're at it.) My name is Steve Raley; I’m 55 and live just east of Seattle, WA, USA. I’m retired military, having spent 20 years in uniform.

-- What is your business about then? My business is all about photography. Contrast, juxtaposition, irony, new perspective; observing and capturing everyday things that are rarely noticed; presenting them in such a way as to give them new life and meaning, that is what I’m endeavoring to provide.

-- How did Etsy come into your life? My wife was into Etsy, selling vintage collectables. She started telling me I should open up a shop to sell my photography. She told me some more, and told me some more, and kept telling me. Then one day, out of nowhere, I had this idea that I should open up a photography shop on Etsy, and here I am!

-- Are you working a day job too? Oh yes! I work as an IT Support Technician at a private school for gifted students, grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.

-- How long has the artist in you been 'unleashed' for? Well, I was really into drawing when I was a kid. Then in high school I got into photography and enjoyed the creative potential of the medium. Eight of my twenty years in uniform were spent as a photographer, honing my skills. I hadn’t picked up my camera for several years when, about 3 years ago, I got the itch again. I started back with film photography, and then a couple years ago I got a DSLR outfit. So, I suppose you could say my inner artist has been properly unleashed for about 3 years.

-- What has been the inspiration behind your business? The inspiration behind my business has really been my desire to create and to express myself through my photographs. It’s just that simple.

-- If you could describe your products in three words, what would you tell me? Three words, huh? My, you don’t give much quarter do you?! Ha! Well, if I only have 3 words to work with, I choose “Light”, “Dark” and “Perspective”.

-- What would an average working day for you be like from dawn til dusk? Oh my, that will put folks to sleep! Up at 6 am, out the door by 7:30 and to work by 8 am. Fix my first of 2 coffees, then check and respond to e-mail and phone messages. Follow up on any pressing technical matters and monitor/respond to computer trouble calls and technical problems throughout the day. Home between 5 and 5:30 pm and spend the evening with my wife. I’ll catch up on the news, have dinner, and spend time doing such things as working on my photographs, check the Photographers Of Etsy (POE) forum, process any orders I might have or work on correspondence. I may even work on either my blog or the POE blog. Go to bed and do it all again the next day. Pretty humdrum, eh?

-- What's your favourite material and techniques to work with? Well, working with digital photographs, as I do, there’s not a lot of “material” that I’d be working with. But techniques, well I’d have to say my favorite technique, or at least the one I employ most often, is to pick an area and go on a bit of a “photographic walkabout”, and shoot whatever catches my eye. I’m not talking quick “snapshots” but seeing something interesting and using the resources at my immediate disposal (light, shadow, exposure and perspective) to capture the most interesting images I can.

-- What is your ideal vision for the future for you and your work? Oh, you opened up a whole can of worms with the word “ideal”! My “ideal” vision is to have my own gallery where I display fine art photography; not just my work, but the work of other new and established photographic talent. Coupled with my gallery would be a stock photo archive and photo studio. And, since this is my “ideal”, let’s throw in a cappuccino machine with attendant barista as well.

-- Away from work, what do you like to do for fun or to wind down? I enjoy a quiet evening at home with my wife. I also enjoy taking in a good movie, going out to dinner, visiting the art museums or even going on my little photographic walkabouts.

-- What are you likely to search for on Etsy? Generally, when I do a search on Etsy, it’s for photographs. Mostly I’ll be checking out the work by fellow POE members, but other times I’ll widen my search parameters.

-- Any last words? Gosh, that sounds ominous, doesn’t it?! Do I get a cigarette and a blindfold too?! ;-)

The only last words I have Nay, is to express my appreciation to you for featuring me and my shop on your blog. I’m very honored, thank you!

Oh, and how about this?! Between now and next Friday, anybody making a purchase on my shop will get a free photo of equal or lesser value if they mention that they saw this feature on your blog! Is that cool, or what?


First Light Photography said...

Great interview with one of Etsy's finest!

TheEye said...

Steve is a way cool guy... with a groovy sense of humour and a laid-back vibe... I had no idea about the military background... nice to learn a little more

PhotoGrunt said...

Thank you so much, Naomi; this is a very big honor for me!

Unknown said...

Great interview with a great guy and wonderful artist. It is nice getting to know you better Steve!!

Girl in the frame said...

Yaaay; I enjoyed learning a little more about the nice guy with the Freddie Mercury look, who's work has always been of my admiration as well.
Great interview!

Briole Photography said...

Wonderful interview! It was great to learn more about Steve.

watercolors said...

Good interview and great to get to know the artisan more personally.
Great photography!

jdavissquared said...

great artist!

Julie said...

Fantastic work!

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