A former journalist, photographer Tyson Wheatley only picked up a camera about five years ago. More specifically, he dove into photography as a result of his iPhone and that magical little app we all know as Instagram. After following his work for years, we finally got to meet Tyson earlier this year over coffee in New York City and heard all about his adventures in Hong Kong, India, and beyond — and now you can meet him, too.
Tyson carries the Leather Brixton in antique cognac.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
TW: Instagram. Something inside unlocked the minute I downloaded that app. I reckon I had always had a love of photography and beautiful imagery, but Instagram gave me the confidence and platform to be a participant, and connected me with other photographers whose work carries enormous influence on me.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
TW: Up until a year-and-a-half ago I was shooting exclusively on an iPhone — which was convenient but limiting. I remember being in New York and a friend invited me to join him and a couple other photographers on my first helicopter ride. I showed up with my iPhone and these guys all had $2,000 lenses. When I got offered a two-week tourism gig in Canada I figured I’d better bring a “real” camera, so I rented a Canon 6D and a 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens and ended up buying them both before the trip was over. I’ve picked up a few more lenses since, and my current favorite is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II. I still love shooting and editing on an iPhone, though.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? And what is your dream project?
TW: My passion is travel and storytelling, and nothing inspires me more than seeing a place for the first time and being exposed to a new culture. I’m particularly drawn to Asia and the people and architecture there. My dream project would be a storytelling project in Myanmar — I’ve always wanted to visit.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
TW: I feel pretty fortunate to be doing what I’m doing for a living. The toughest adjustment has been leaving a corporate environment with a steady paycheck and a retirement plan to going literally weeks without anyone answering your email.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
TW: I think I’m still trying to find my own unique voice and style. In terms of what interests me — I’m drawn to architecture and design. I love landscapes, both natural and synthetic. I love symmetry and vanishing points and patterns and reflections.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
TW: Focus on doing what you love and taking images and don’t speed much time on Facebook. Everyone, everywhere is doing everything, and it can really fuck with your head.
ONA: How did you hear about us?
Photos of Tyson kindly taken by Jason Travis.