T.E.S.T. Interview: anotherangle
We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. It seems fitting to inaugurate this interview series with an introduction to Michael, anotherangle, who started the Toronto Etsy Street Team.
So tell us a little about yourself and your shop?
Well, I am a very amateur photographer in Toronto. I am completely self-taught; I’ve never have a lesson on how to use a camera, photoshop, or anything related to photography so even though some people think of photography as ‘art’, I like to think of mine as D.I.Y. craft.
I started my shop in August after a close friend of mine (LaLaLollypop) suggested that Etsy would be a great place to sell my stuff. I logged for my first time that night, after our conversation, and I have been impressed with Etsy ever since!
What do you do outside of photography?
Well, I would like to keep my occupation a little secret. But let’s just say I work full time so the photography is more about pleasure and I do it when I can. As far as other stuff, I am often involved in volunteer work with a social justice focus.
What motivated you to start a Toronto team?
Well, I was motivated to start a Toronto team for a few reasons. One was that I know I tend to do more, produce and engage more, when I am working within a community rather than just on my own. It didn’t seem like the other versions of Toronto teams were active anymore and I got a sense of what could be accomplished by an Etsy Team by looking at other Teams’ sites and I thought ‘Hey! That’s what Toronto needs!’ So, because there wasn’t really something for me to join here, I figured I should put my money where my mouth is and just start it. And I have a pretty long history of starting groups and organizations, so that process is pretty familiar to me. Also, I thought that I was more likely to get sales from people who were local because of the type of craft I am doing and I also love the idea of trading, which is more easily done locally.
So far, all the Team members are fantastic! Now we are entering the tricky time of group building, where we figure out who is able to step up and take on responsibilities so the group can grow and not rely on one person to keep things going (I mean, I have bad weeks like everyone else and can’t always do everything I want to).
Tell us about your process (camera specs, lighting, framing a shot, digital effects...)
My process is very simple. I bought my first DSLR in June. I am still learning how to use it. A typical ‘shoot’ for me looks like this: I think of somewhere to go, usually in the afternoon or dusk; I hop on my bike and head over there; I then wander around, being as attentive as I can be to the things I usually don’t notice or I take for granted; then something usually ‘pulls at me’ and I start shooting; when I am in a more natural environment, often I will just sit down in one place for about 10-30 minutes and look very, very carefully at what is around me, looking for shapes and colours that I find...compelling. Right now I only use natural lighting. I kinda think of my photographs as ‘found images’ because of that....I wander around looking for things as they are rather than placing them in I way that I want them to be.
Because I live in Parkdale, almost all of my high quality photos have been taken within a 2km radius of Queen and Landsdowne, many along the Lake and in High Park this autumn.
How do you choose your subjects?
Well, this summer, I gave myself sort of ‘tourist in my own town’ locations to travel to. Like, I biked along the Lake one day, another day I hit Little India, another day I went and explored the alleys of my old neighbourhood, I spent time at the CNE just taking photos one evening, that kind of stuff. Right now, I prefer stuff that doesn’t move so I can take my time and craft the shot carefully. But I really want to learn how to take photographs of the human body so I have been getting people to model for me for fun (all body types are welcome!) so I can gain experience in how to do that.
What's next for the preservation of light and shadow?
Hmm, well, I would love to have another photo show. I keep my website updated weekly with things I call ‘Artifacts’, which are a combination of a new photo and an older piece of my poetry; often the poetry is just a fragment, not a whole poem. I have been working with an another Etsyian, Bill (HouseofSixCats), and now have coaster sets of my photos which are really cool...the only problem is I want to buy all of them myself!
I want to work on getting a decent supplier for high-quality cards; I am thinking about offering one-of-a-kind cards....we’ll see. Right now it’s tricky just balancing full-time work and my love for photography.
Maybe the community you've started to build here can help with how to achieve the elusive life/work balance? I'm sure it's something we all face. Thank you very much Michael, for taking this time to introduce yourself and your 'D.I.Y' photography. With the striking 'found images' you are capturing already, I look forward to seeing how you will continue to explore this medium, and expose this city and its inhabitants!
Check out more of Michael's work in the anotherangle etsy shop, on The Preservation of Shadows and Light website, on Preservation of Shadows and Light Facebook Fan Page, on the preservation of shadows and light myspace page and in The preservation of shadows and light flickr stream. You can also follow shadowsnlight on twitter.
anotherangle was interviewed November 5 to 12th, 2009, by minouette.