Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Focus On: Planet Chey

Cheyenne of Planet Chey

What is it about the art and craft of photography that forms the structure of our lives? It's a combination of creativity, adventure as well as exactitude, and it is irresistible to many of us. Meet Cheyenne Rouse of Planet Chey on Etsy.com. Cheyenne found photography in a class at school when she was 15. She recalls it could possibly be the only "A" she ever received in her entire educational career, and it sparked her creativity to such an extent she knew it would be a permanent part of her life.

Cheyenne grew up on the beaches of southern Florida and spent her summers on a family farm in North Carolina. Somehow, though, the mountains, deserts, canyons and red dirt of the strange and beautiful US West called to her, and in 1998 she based herself in Park City, Utah. She did stock and assignment photography gigs and traveled across the US and Hawaii, finding her niche in sports and adventure photography, including extreme adventure, yoga, and lifestyle work.

Cheyenne's work has been published in a myriad of well-known publications and advertising, and she continues to sell her work through stock image agencies. Although she put away her film camera a couple of years ago, she still yearned to find a way to showcase her scenic photography in a gallery setting. She heard about Etsy and set about converting her film images to digital files and just recently launched her shop. Cheyenne is an extremely artistic person, and when she finds a passion she doesn't let go. Her amazing sense of tenacity combined with her creativity and incredible enthusiasm for life have led her to continuing success in everything she feels strongly about.

We had a chance to talk during these past months, and here's our conversation:

Ann: What motivated you to get your gallery up and running?

Cheyenne: After shooting as a professional photographer for over 17 years, I had a great collection of landscape images I wanted to do something with, and I always secretly wanted to display and sell my photos at a gallery. I decided to seek out an avenue that was affordable to start up and that I had control over -- Etsy seemed like a great way to go! I don't actively shoot photographs anymore; I hung up my camera in 2002, although I do have several stock agencies around the world who sell my Adventure Sports, Outdoor Recreation and Health & Fitness images. I wanted another way to resurrect my landscape photography, since they are timeless and mean so much to me.

Pow Wow

A: How does your photographic work inspire you in other parts of your life?

C: A thought-provoking question for sure. I think looking over the collection of images I have on Planet Chey, I realize what a lucky and fortunate person I am, not only to visit and shoot these amazing landscapes of the US West and Southwest, but also that I was lucky enough to make my living that way for a long time and not have to be part of the rat race. I feel so fortunate to have lived a life that people only dream of -- granted it was not an easy path, but a very satisfying one. I think all in all I have more gratitude in my life as a result of my photography.

A: What do you do to get your creativity flowing?

C: I really need to be part of nature and my "eye" needs to see new things...travelling REALLY sparks my creativity and wanderlust...so I think I need to travel more!
A: What's next for Planet Chey?

C: What's next is adding more photos to my gallery -- all of my photos were shot on film, so I'm waiting for another batch to come back from scanning, and I'll get them posted. I'm also wading through the whole social networking world to get my gallery out into cyberspace and spread the word -- Twitter, Facebook, as well as my blog are drawing attention to Planet Chey. I also just put a sign on my car's back window with the link to my gallery and have printed up marketing postcards to distribute around town. I'm bound and determined to make my Etsy shop a success, and I know when I put my mind to something I can make great things happen!

A: Do you think you'll pick up a camera again?

C: Mmmmmmm -- do I think I'll ever pick up a camera again? Well, I did break down and buy a DSLR last year, a Canon, of course. My old Canon was part of my hand, and I could operate and shoot it without thinking about a thing. This digital version I really have to think about when I shoot. It's like learning to ride a bike again, but I DO love the fact that you can see what you captured right then and edit as you go. That is a GREAT feature the film camera did not have. I do have to say there was something to be said about sending your film off to the lab after a long road trip and waiting to get them back in the mail -- it was like Christmas, to me anyway! Then spilling out the slides onto the light table and gasping (or crying) in excitement that you got the shots you wanted -- although there were times when all I got back were blank slides! So I guess my answer is -- I have picked up a camera again, but it will never be like it was before to me -- mainly just playing around now and enjoying scenery without feeling like I have to document it -- I think my serious shooting days are over. but I know better than most to never say never!

Please visit Cheyenne's shop, Planet Chey, and be sure to check out her blog and website and see her other artistic projects.

Baja Beach

Thank you Cheyenne!

A world traveler and self-taught photographer, look for Ann wandering around city streets and tromping through woods and hiking trails with her camera. After owning an international transportation business for many years, Ann has found her creative spirit again through the lens. See more at Ann's shop and her website, and say hello to her on her blog too.


Judi FitzPatrick said...

How nice to meet Cheyenne and have her, and her gorgeous work, as part of the team.
Peace, Judi

UrbanJunkies/zuppaartista said...

fabulous interview ann! great questions!
and it was great getting to know another incredible poe photog!
i love the baja shot!

Ann Wilkinson said...

Thanks! Cheyenne's Baja shot makes me want to strip down and jump in that beautiful water!
I'm always so honored and amazed to get to know our POE photographers!

Rita Vasconcellos said...

Great Photos
Big Hug from Portugal

Rita V.

Cheyenne said...

Thank you Ann for the fun interview and making me sound SO good - :o) Miss seeing you!!!!!

Happy summer - Cheyenne