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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy photo Eleven-year-old Griffin Schutten showcases his talent at a local flea market vendor booth. The young entrepreneur and photographer has a real eye for capturing wildlife, flowers and an historical flooding event in Anderson.

Eleven-year-old Griffin Schutten's talent is being showcased in his very own booth at a local flea market.

His eye for photography -- and capturing the moment in still-life -- was something that others definitely needed to see, thought Rags to Riches owner Alecia Rickett.

"He's a super cute kid and he takes photos all the time," she said. "I wanted him to have a place to sell them. He has a great eye for it."

So she contacted Griffin's dad, Ken, and asked if he would be interested in selling his photos at her flea market on Main Street in Anderson.

The preteen photographer became an overnight entrepreneur. His framed photographs have been selling since his start there last fall.

Schutten's work features still-life -- such as flowers and frogs -- to flooding in Anderson last year.

Griffin has been involved with photography for almost three years. The 11-year-old, who will turn 12 in March, had been wanting a camera. After he got one for Christmas, that sparked his interest in capturing simple things in real life in an unusual way.

"When I picked up my camera, I knew this is what I wanted to do," he said.

Schutten looks at life through an artist's eyes. He looks for the interesting in the everyday parts of life.

One day, his family was outside gardening, and they called to him, "Hey, here's a frog." Schutten came over and wanted to get a certain shot of the frog. "I was thinking and thinking," he said. He tried to figure out how he could capture the image he saw in his head. He finally got out his tripod, got on eye level with the frog and got the shot he wanted.

While he takes many photos and gets better with practice, Schutten also studies photography through many books and online videos, his dad Ken said.

Young Schutten studied a video that suggested each photographer view each potential photo in nine squares. Each square should feature a certain aspect and the photographer is encouraged to fill each square.

Schutten put that into practice when he decided to capture the beauty of a cherry tree in bloom. That became the primary focus, he said, because the viewer tends to look at the beauty of the pink and white blooms. From there, Schutten decided to include a red barn and dirt road to the side, to add interest, he said.

This past spring, when Anderson was struck by historic floodwaters, Schutten wanted to take a photograph that would stand out.

With no traffic out and about, Schutten stood out on the highway and lined himself up with the lines of the highway. He took a picture of floodwaters by the bridge in town.

"I wanted a straight shot," he said. "It's one of my favorites."

As a young marketer of his work, Schutten naturally seeks to capture something different.

"I try to stand out from other photographers," he said. "I try to keep it simple and get the best shot I can of normal, everyday things."

For instance, Schutten had an idea of taking a photo of a bolt. Not just any shot, but a specific image.

So one day, after school, he set his camera on a timer and took multiple shots as he dropped the bolt. Schutten said it was "pretty hard" to capture the shot. He had to hold the camera in one hand, while dropping the bolt with the other. Out of approximately 200 shots, only one turned out like he wanted.

Schutten has learned more about the importance of patience. He does whatever he can, even getting down in the "itchy grass," to get the shot he wants.

His hard work is paying off. Customers are enjoying his photography, he's launched his own Facebook photography page, "Griff's Gallery," and four of his best photographs are going to be featured on the Van Gogh traveling art bus.

Rickett says his talent at such a young age is impressive. She enjoys looking at one photo in particular of the frog.

"It makes me smile because the frog looks like he is trying to hide but I can still see his bulging eyes above the rim of the pot," she said.

Rickett is pleased that Schutten's platform is proving successful.

"It's so neat to see young kids pursuing their talents."

Schutten's dad, Ken, said he enjoys seeing his son develop his talent.

"It's interesting to see his perspective on things and how he sees the world a little differently," he said. "He develops and improves with each picture that he takes."

When he isn't doing homework or taking photos, Schutten enjoys spending time with his dad; Julie, his mom; and Janie, his sister. He also likes to watch Netflix and play video games.

And sometimes, he's thinking of his next shot.

Why does he view life through such a unique lens?

"I really like art," he said. "I think it's what God gave me."

General News on 02/08/2018

Print Headline: Looking Through The Lens: Pre-Teen Photographer Captures Unique Images

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