Artist interview featuring Dorothyann Strange

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I would like to introduce you all to Dorothyann she has traveled to places such as Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Spain, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and England photographing all of her adventures along the way. Her work is hanging in coffee shops, restaurant and other local business.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Dorothyann: I get an idea or an inspiration, often during a night of insomnia or in the shower. I write my idea down making it as clear and detailed as possible so that my thoughts and therefore my vision become clear. I write of the potential problems of shooting this vision followed by possible solutions to them. Then I plan the shoot itself. I practice the shoot if possible or appropriate. If any other issues or problems or variations of my idea pop up, I change the plan, or adapt my vision to improve it. Then off to photoshop to complete the vision.

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy?
Dorothyann: Ah,Etsy. A friend recommended I look into selling on Etsy. I had no idea what they were talking about. What a discovery!
What I enjoy most about Etsy are the artist photographers I have come in contact with. I have learned more from them than any photography organization I have been a part of. FPOE is my go-to group for advice in photography, selling photography, printers, and the general business of photography. Also, they are great for venting about difficult issues or celebrating good news.
As for my least favorite part, hm-m-m, maybe not understanding exactly what I need to do to get ‘seen’ more often, though I have been neglectful of my shop recently because I am in the middle of moving to another state and getting a house ready for sale, so my views have taken a severe hit. My customers have all been terrific, which is not everyone’s experience.

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Dorothyann: 1. Patience! Sales will come, but not as quickly as you had hoped.
2. Add something to your shop daily, if possible. It really improves the number of times your shop is seen, for some reason.
3.Look at other photog shops to see how they make theirs unique to their style, and develop your own personal style and reflect that in your shop.
OH! Join Etsy teams, especially, fPOE! You will learn important if not essential information for selling on Etsy. Plus, teams are supportive of what you do and what you hope to accomplish.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Dorothyann: My first camera was a Kodak 104 Instamatic that I was given for Christmas when I was twelve. For my professional start, a photographer who worked in a photo shop invited me to enter a local photography contest. She picked out three photos from a handful I brought in as I had no clue what to enter. I won the show, beating out the photographer who encouraged me and whose pic had won an earlier contest. Two hundred fifty dollars richer, I decided to shoot more seriously and enter more contests and a camera club. These experiences gave me the confidence to find venues to sell my images.

SammyPhoto: Who inspires you?
Dorothyann : Yikes! There are so many. Some are not photographers. I love the simplicity of Edward Hopper, Robert Frank and Ansel Adams. I love the power of Dorothea Lange and the intelligence of Annie Liebovitz. My mother also loved to shoot and she is my muse.
These are artists I aspire to though I find my style is still too far removed from anything these artists do. I will continue to work to simplify my work and make it more thoughtful and intelligent.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Dorothyann: Iowa will always be home to me though I have not lived there for 37 years which I believe has influenced my choice of subjects. I have always missed Iowa and perhaps, if I am honest, my young years living on the family farm. I have chronicled my life experiences through scrapbooks starting at a very young age. I have scrapbooks of my 4-H years, high school events and friends, baby scrapbooks. And now I do photo books ordered online. I have books on my two daughters experiences in the Peace Corps (I visited them both in Uzbekistan and the Dominican Republic) and a book of letters and photos sent by my Marine son who had been stationed in Iraq. Always, it has been important to me to record my life as it has been a wonderful journey.

SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Dorothyann: I like drama in a photo, if possible. Fun, on occasion. Sometimes, thought-provoking.

SammyPhoto: Share some of your hobbies with us.
Dorothyann : Gardening in the spring, summer and fall. Movies in the winter! I make my own Christmas cards and come up with new photo products of local images to sell in a local gallery.
Travel when I can!

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Dorothyann : I took me five years before I started to make a profit in photography, primarily because I sell photos and photo products such as coasters, mugs, keychains out of a local gallery that takes a 40% commission and if it doesn’t sell, I eat the cost! Though the exposure through the gallery has led to custom work with several banks and homeowners that has saved me. I will increase my online presence as it has considerably less cost to it. Here is were fPOE has been so helpful, I just need to act on their good advice.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Dorothyann : Self-taught, though I have learned much from talking with professionals. I am friends with several photojournalists and with professors who teach either in art or photography. I also belong to a camera club where I have learned from amazing photographers, and judges. There is also an excellent annual conference in Holland, Michigan called SWMCC that I have attended. I subscribe to photo magazines as well and visit interesting photographer blogs online.

SammyPhoto: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Dorothyann :
Occasionally, I need to remind myself that I do photography to express myself, to show others what i see in something, some place, or someone and not to produce images that I think will sell or that is in vogue that people want to hang in their homes. I find it creatively draining to take a photo and make it like all the others ‘out there’ so that I can get a sale.

Stay true to your heart and your vision!

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Dorothyann for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out RightOnStrange on Etsy and follow her on social media here….
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