Our first featured artist is Lyle Robinson, a bit of a late bloomer in the world of photography, but his images of urban (and rural) life have really started gaining popularity in his Etsy shop. Here, Lyle gives us some great insight into his belatedly-discovered passion, and how he achieves the gorgeous - and sometimes haunting - effects in his work...
How did you get into photography?
LR: I wish I could say that I caught the photography bug early on, and that my youth was spent photo-snapping and learning the craft, as it were. The truth is, while I did take a few photos back in the day - for the sake of memories - my love for photography took shape about a year or so ago...at the tender young age of 53!!
So, you could say that it's never too late to snap it - snap it good! That's a Devo reference there...
LR: Yeah, I got it, thanks. Very funny. Anyway, as I was saying, I've always loved a good photo, but it wasn't until last year that I started seeing things in a different light, so to speak. I was also inspired by the professional success of my friend, well-known photographer Irene Suchocki. She introduced me to what's now commonly referred to as 'Fine Art Photography' and I've been doing just that since October 2014.
You do quite a variety of different photos; from gritty city scenes to derelict-looking railroad tracks to bleak cemetery scenes, and from groovy old cars to pretty rural scenes as well. How do you find 'that' shot on each occasion?
LR: Some shots I go looking for, while others just happen upon me by walking or biking through various Montreal neighborhoods.
It's on these walks that I've discovered the beauty in the derelict, the abandoned and the neglected. Homes, laneways, discarded or uncared for objects - they all have a beauty and character to me that shine through wonderfully on film...or in my case, digital bit and bytes!
That being said, there's obviously also beauty in a pretty flower, a rural scene or a vintage car. I tend to see everything as having great potential for what I do, and more importantly, what I like!
What kind of gear are you using?
LR: As I've only recently gotten into photography, I'm still dependent on my trusty Canon 7.1 MP Power Shot A570, which I bought used at a thrift shop for $7.00!! While I would love a fancier camera, I find that the "magic" is found in the subject captured, and if that subject is not interesting, it really doesn't matter how awesome your camera is, the image is just not gonna be happening.
Plus, this fits in with my loving the forgotten and the "obsolete". Although, I don't dismiss buying a "better" camera in the future. But for now, I'm well pleased with the results.
That's quite interesting; the results are truly amazing! What software do you use to enhance your images?
LR: I'm currently using Photoshop CS3 along with some filters from a company called Topaz. I like adding a mood to a piece, and these software programs allow me to bring out what I see in my head, but what might not readily be seen in an un-manipulated image.
Have you got a standard way of working? Or do you approach each image with a different idea?
LR: As I mentioned earlier, my standard way is to go out for a walk in my neighborhood, or in an area that I am unfamiliar with, and then see what "pops" up; what grabs my attention.
Sometimes, I see exactly how the end result will look in my head as I'm snapping images, while other times I "mess around" with PS until I hit upon something that I find looks interesting.
Eventually, I'll most likely work on themed concepts - like a series of vintage cars or cool-looking rusted objects - but for now, I just wander about. And believe me, there are always little surprises that get me all excited as I reach for my camera. I hope that feeling never fades.
Lyle, thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. Where can readers find more of your work?
LR: It was my pleasure Mark and thanks for the interest. I'm currently working on my own portfolio website/blog, but until that's up, my work can be found over at etsy.com/shop/PhotographyByLyle.