Tyler Lyons~Interview of a photographer

Tyler Lyons, from Hampstead, MD is a graphic design major with a minor in photography at York College of PA.  Lyons’ photography on Facebook and Woodpress caught my attention and I requested an interview. 

You’re a junior? I’m technically a senior, but I’m graduating the fall of 2013 due to me being a transfer student from Penn College of Technology. 

How long have you been interested in photography? In Penn College’s Graphic Design program, an introductory photography course was required. They taught the basics of how to shoot black & white film. We learned everything from how to shoot, as well as developing the film and producing prints in the darkroom a very “old-school” process. One of the assignments was portraiture.  I went home and did my first “photo shoot” of my two best friends. That’s when I fell in love with portraiture. 

What got you interested in photography? The surprising success that came out of that first film shoot I did with my friends. I asked Santa for a Canon Rebel XSi for Christmas.  As soon as he delivered, I started using my friends for shoots. Once I started posting them on Facebook, people started coming to me and asking for shoots. In no way was I trying to do photography as anything more than a hobby, but I feel very blessed that I’ve ended up pursuing it. 

Inspired by any specific photographers? Sally Mann sticks out in my mind. Her portraits are more than just people. They’re dark, they’re intense, and they tell stories. Many photographers that inspire me are less known, my age, and I follow on Facebook. Kyle Thompson, Steven Sites, and Shane Black are the ones I find myself looking at the most. And oddly enough, America’s Next Top Model. I don’t watch the show for the drama, but rather to see how professional photographers go about doing more legitimate shoots. I write down their name, and look at their portfolios online later.

Particularly interesting photo shoot? Last year, I did a photo shoot similar to Keith Major’s powdered paint, but instead used liquid paints and it turned out extremely well. I had a male model, with cool tones of blue-green and purple, and a female model with warm tones of red and yellow. The male model submitted his photos to the American Eagles’ Best Shot contest, and placed 5th in the nation. The prize was a gift card to AE, as well as my photograph being shown on their billboard in Times Square. 

Other shoots that stick out were with my dancer friends. In my opinion, dancers are the best people to photograph because the compositions they can create by the contortion of their bodies are fantastic. These were featured in Google Plus’ photography contest as ‘best of’ under the category ‘fashion.’  Another dance shoot I did with the female model included some powdered paint, and smoke bombs. These colorful clouds of smoke gave it the interesting look. 

Career hopes/plans after college?  Ultimately, the goal is to get to NYC and become a photographer for big time clothing lines or Vogue! The only thing you need to succeed in life is an extreme passion for the thing you do, and a little luck. I’m determined to make it happen. 

Funny story or shoot gone wrong?  During the shoot with the paint and smoke bombs, the model slipped on a rock and took a less than graceful dive into the river. Was she hurt? Yes… Was it hilarious? Absolutely. 


More of Lyons’ photography can be viewed at http://tylerlyons.wordpress.com/

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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