Lyle Robinson – Photographer

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...

Thanks for joining us, Lyle! Firstly, where in the world are you located?Lyle_lo-res
LR: I live in Montrel, Quebec, Canada. A pretty big metropolis if I do say so myself!

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.

Old Montreal Living - 4 - by Lyle Robinson
Old Montreal Living - 4
- by Lyle Robinson

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.

i_chinatown_01That'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-lookingi_mercedes_01 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.

27 thoughts on “Lyle Robinson – Photographer

  1. blubutterfly

    Hi Mark, another awesome piece of writing, I really enjoyed this interview with Lyle, what a wonderful story. It is never too late to follow your dream, sounds like he is having a wonderful time!! I really love how he is still using an older style camera, did he $7.00? OMG, well he has certainly got talent there, I couldn't even take nice shots with a 80.00 camera and that is no exaggeration, thank you for the link through to Lyle artwork, as mentioned in another post of yours we are renovating so will definitely keep Lyle's Artwork in mind, 🙂

    Reply
    1. MarkBase

      Post author

      Hi blubutterfly, and thanks for your comment!

      Yes, Lyle is quite a guy. I've known him for years now. He's got his fingers in a lot of pies, actually. He's a damn good Jazz guitarist and has a website about that (which he designed himself, by the way). He's really good at PhotoShop as well, so that probably helps him quite a bit to achieve those great results!

      By the way, I've checked out your site as well, and it's well cool! Keep up the great work, and best of luck for huge success!

      Reply
  2. Hi great to hear success from a late starter! as I'm also just getting interested in using photography. I'm glad he focused on the power of the subject being photographed rather than the camera, there is a lot of commercial interest in promoting expensive products and less time on how to see the right image and set the best scene. Hopefully I can apply some of that to my own work.

    Reply
    1. Post author

      For sure, Marie!

      I like Lyle's idea of watching out for little details and different subjects that we'd normally overlook. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
    2. Hi Marie and thanks for your insightful comment...I couldn't have said it better myself 🙂 Good luck with your photography adventures!

      Take care and all the best.

      Lyle

      Reply
  3. Neil

    Great interview Mark. It's interesting to see how someone can start a new passion later on in their life. 53 is quite an age to take up something relatively new as Lyle says.

    It's also good to hear someone talking about the quality of the subject matter being most important as opposed to the camera quality.

    I'm involved in a cappella music and I often hear people say 'that microphone quality was poor' or 'the recording equipment wasn't up to scratch' when actually it is usually the quality of the singer or performer which needs looking at. Very similar in many ways.

    Reply
    1. Hi Neil and thanks for the comment!! You are so right about gear seeming to be more important than talent in some folk's minds.

      That being said, the right "tools" can enhance what is already there, so there does need to be a balance at some point.

      Thanks again for your thoughts and take care.

      Lyle

      Reply
  4. Firstly, thank you for the Devo reference. The world needs more of those!

    Great interview! I really liked what Lyle had to say about the camera vs the subject matter. It really is about the person behind the camera and not always the camera itself. It's a great reminder for photographers at all levels, and photography-appreciaters!

    Reply
  5. Hey Mark and thanks for the opportunity to get my words and art out to your readers 🙂

    I look forward to reading more artists interviews and I wish you all the best in this new venture!!

    Take care and be well.

    Lyle

    Reply
  6. This was a good interview. It is a reminder that it is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams. Lyle has a unique way of taking pictures and so they are memorable and ones that you would enjoy taking a look at.

    Reply
  7. Hey Mark,

    I like Lyle. I've never seen his pictures, but I will surely look for them now. And I like him because he says it's not the camera that makes a picture. "The magic is found in the subject captured!" - it's in fact what a picture is.

    Laura

    Reply
  8. Shane

    Hi Mark
    I love this interview with Lyle. I myself am an aspiring photography myself and I always find it interesting to read other peoples take on things. I also visited his Etsy, and his work is pretty awesome, I can only hope to be that good at it as I learn more about the craft, Thanks for the information.... Shane

    Reply
    1. MarkBase

      Post author

      Hi Shane,

      Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Do you have different editing software? I can't really afford PhotoShop, but I like Pixelmator and CameraBag2. They're cheap and give some great moods/effects.

      Tell you what, if you come up with some nice shots of your city (which is...where?) - that you're particularly happy with - send them over to me, and I might use one or two. Zap them over to me at myphoto@cityedgescenes.com. I'll give you full credit (of course) in the caption.

      Reply
    2. Hey Shane and thanks for the kind words...they are truly appreciated! And please do follow up on Mark's request for some images if you have any. That would be awesome!!

      Thanks again and take care.

      Lyle

      Reply
  9. Ehab

    Hey Mark, Wonderful article, Photography always come first in my hobbies i have Canon 600 D & i am always using different lenses & i am running to any posts talks about photography & i found your website very useful to me, by the way i liked your gallery shop too, keep it up & good luck

    Reply
    1. MarkBase

      Post author

      Hi Ehab,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words.I hope you can let me know if you take any cool photos of scenes in your city. I'm always on the lookout for new photographers to feature! All the best to you, my friend!

      Reply
  10. germain.pj@gmail.com

    Hello Mark,

    Wow! Lyle Robinson has an incredible vision. I love the way he sees his art and is able to capture what is in his minds eye and convey it with such grace and eloquence. One can feel the textures of the images and the warmth through the use of the filters. He's truly an image genius!

    You're done a great job enlightening us on how he sees his art and captures these fantastic images.

    Keep up the great writing!
    Cheers,
    Pj

    Reply
  11. Brock

    Lyle may have only been hit with the photography bug at 53, but his ability, and the quality of his work shouldn't surprise anyone...
    He was already an top-notch artist; creating, expressing and entertaining for many years. The "tool" was a guitar, and not a camera, but I have to believe the approach to presentation, and capturing a specific mood, feel, or sentiment in a picture, may not be as dramatically different as one might think.
    A true artist. I love Lyle's work.
    If you get a chance to hear him play guitar, don't pass it up!
    He also has an AMAZING sense of humor, and brings light to a room.
    Cheers All!

    Reply
  12. ches

    So there's hope for us yet, all us budding photographers and videographers. I too am a late developer and it's very gratifying to know that you can still follow your passion despite being the wrong side of 50.
    I particularly like the Old Montreal scene and I think Lyle was spot on to produce the image in black and white. Sometimes atmospheric scenes with plenty of detail, can look stunning and really punchy. We actually do quite a few b & w imaging ourselves and it is particularly rewarding when the scene comes to life because of no colour rather than despite of it. It goes to show that it's not the camera that makes the picture, it's the photographer! Great interview and post. Ches

    Reply

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