• Spotlight: Tyson the Street Photographer

by Jack Baxter

Continuing our series of interviews with the great and the good in Aussie culture. This week we we had a chat with the inestimable street photography talent that is Tyson.

Hi Tyson, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us at W and S. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a street photographer, generally swarming with caffeine, trotting around public space waiting for something to point my camera at. I like cats, cold weather  and rock and roll. I also recently got married which was pretty great.

Where do you hail from?

I was born and raised in Sydney although I've just moved to Hobart. I'm not sure how the new surroundings will affect the look of my photography. Change is good though, right?

"...we stumbled across the art department where I manage to 'adopt' a very basic Pentax 35mm film SLR."

Yes it is. How long have you been into Street Photography?

Hard to say really. I've always been interested in cameras but initially it was more moving images. I was always fascinated by my Dad’s super 8 camera. I eventually got my own Digital camcorder and went berserk with it - shooting everything from surfing, skating, and sunsets to fashion and music related pieces. Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting on a winter afternoon with nothing to do. Some friends and I decided to explore an abandoned college building nearby and we stumbled across the art department where I manage to "adopt" a very basic Pentax 35mm film SLR. I guess that must have been when I fell in love with still photography. It was the first camera I'd owned that was fully manual. It was then that I discovered what light really was and how special it makes things look. 

Photography by Tyson, via Worthy & Spruce

I bought a digital SLR when they started boasting Hi-Def video capabilities as then it gave me the opportunity to start shooting both stills and video. It wasn't until my first trip to Japan in 2011 that I started shooting street photography, and I didn't even know I was doing it. I just saw stuff that was weird and unusual to me so I took pictures. Of course, I was really just photographing the mundane, everyday life. I went home not really thinking anything of the photos I took. Slowly, I started noticing other people’s work that was similar and I began to realise that people had been shooting in this way since the 1930s and this was a verifiable style. I'd say for the past 3 years I've been consciously shooting street photography and I don't even own a camera that shoots video anymore.

What do you shoot with?

Fujifilm X100S and a Ricoh GR. Both are digital but I'm getting pulled closer and closer everyday to shooting solely on film.

In your opinion what makes for a good photograph?

Many factors contribute but if you find yourself not being able to look away from an image then that's all you need to know.

"When I'm out shooting my main inspiration is what's happening around me."

Do you capture images constantly or do you consciously try and seek out the perfect shot?

Sometimes I have moods where everything around is stimulating and I'm really trigger happy, this happens a lot when the light is really special. Then there’re other times where something’s clicked in my head and I have a much clearer idea of the image I'm trying to get. That’s when I'll just sit around for anywhere up to an hour and see if what’s in my mind comes to life.  

Photography by Tyson, via Worthy & Spruce

Where do you get your inspiration from?

When I'm out shooting my main inspiration is what's happening around me. It's a great feeling being taken aback by such mundane situations. I try not to think about anyone else’s work when I'm shooting to avoid my photographs looking similar. 

Most of the work that we’ve seen seems to be in black and white, do you work exclusively in monochrome?

Nope. I love colour as much as I do black and white right now. I may grow to favour one over the other as time goes on. Right now I'm still learning about how powerful their correct use can be.

"For me it's kind of like doodling."

Why do you find yourself drawn to Street Photography?

For me it's kind of like doodling. It's very autonomous for me. I used to love sketching and drawing with no concept or idea. Just scribbling till something began to appear and then I'd take it from there. That's very similar to the way street photography works for me. When I'm having a good day and there's lots of visual stimulation, It's a natural high for me.

What are your future plans?

Short term: tacos and beer! Long term: shoot till the end! Maybe release a photo book one day.

How would you like to be remembered?

Not an asshole.

Fair enough, good luck with that and your future endeavours. We’re looking forward to see what you’re going to produce next, thanks Tyson.

See more of what Tyson’s up to on Instagram @mysonichiban

Photography by Tyson, via Worthy & Spruce

What do you reckon to Tyson? Are you as impressed my his considerable talents as we are? Feel free to sound off in the comments below and check back soon for the next edition of Spotlight.

If you liked this interview, don't forget to sign up to our mailing list below to get more cracking articles like this wired directly to your brain (or inbox...you know, whatever works best for you).

Till next time, this is Mr. Jack Baxter signing off.

Mr. Jack.

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