Featured contributor

Tyler Sharp

This intrepid Texan has been published in Pictory more times than anyone else. How does he do it?

I know, I know, another Texan featured contributor. Before you start to think I’m being partial to residents of my home state, listen to this: Tyler was just published in his 10th Pictory showcase. (Here’s the proof.) He earned it, right? More from Tyler:

What are your favorite things to photograph?

Serendipity. I am a very spiritual person, and I try to let that guide my photography and storytelling as much as possible. I have found that when you approach subjects or locations with a respect and a genuine interest in the culture, serendipitous, soulful moments find you. I crave adventure, and in some cases danger. I am hopelessly addicted to the wilds of Africa, and the uncertainty and raw beauty you find there every day. I prefer natural light, and love to shoot under a Comanche moon. Moon Shadows!

Caption: These Maasai herdsboys were roaming around the Ngorongoro Crater, herding goats, and selling hand made jewelry. We spent half an hour or so herding goats with sticks, speaking mediocre Swahili, and taking photographs. I still wear the necklace I bought from that boy to this day.

What’s the best story you don’t have a photograph for?

I was in Pakistan in 2009 for a filming assignment, and when it was over, my friend and I stayed there for 3 weeks to travel. To be less conspicuous, we had grown rather thick beards before the trip, and had acquired some salwar-kameez (traditional Muslim clothing). We were in Lahore the day the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists, and our hotel was less than two kilometers from the shooting. We knew something had happened the moment we woke up, and could actually feel it in the air. After consulting with our local friend Ansari, he assured us that it was actually safer after a terrorist attack, as all of the security and military forces were on guard. Not 10 minutes later, we were riding in the back of our hired car, when a police SUV started honking and screaming at us, and literally ran us off the road. They slammed on their brakes, pulled the driver and our guide out of the car, and were screaming and pointing at us, guns drawn. After a few tense minutes, their anger and shouts stopped, the handcuffs and guns were put away, and they were all laughing together. As it turned out, I fit the description of one of the terrorists from the earlier attack, and they intended on being the heroes who captured him. My disguise had worked too well. Ansari told me that he would rather me change back into my normal clothes, but I assured him that I would much rather be pulled over and questioned by police for looking like a terrorist, than to be targeted by a terrorist for looking like a westerner. Needless to say, I was too terrified to take any photos during those few minutes.

What do you do for a living?

I am proud to say that I am a professional photographer, writer and videographer, and have been working completely freelance the last few years. And though I may not always get to do the projects I really want to do, at the end of the day, I am making a living doing these things in one form or another. For a few years, I was a cameraman on various TV shows for the outdoor channel, and that allowed me to travel internationally frequently. But after over 25 countries in two years, I got burned out, and am now focusing more on my own work. I just finished editing a reel of my most recent video work, and am seeing where that might lead. I am also harassing as many magazine and newspaper photo editors as I can, in hopes of getting more serious editorial and documentary work. Frankly, I am a born storyteller who is just trying to convince other people to pay me to create more stories.

Close out this interview with an image for us to remember you by.

During one of my assignments in Zimbabwe I made friends with an Italian bred, Kiwi born, and Zimbabwean raised young man named Guido. He showed me many local, hidden spots around Victoria Falls, including an elephant sanctuary at sunrise. It was just two locals, 12 elephants, and me with my camera in the brilliant dawn light. The matron was curious about my wide angle lens, and leaned in to investigate, her truck fondling my ear as the shutter clicked. It is one of my most popular images, has been published in numerous magazines, and National Geographic recently acquired it for their image archive.

Check out more of Tyler’s work.


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Phoot Camp 2012 Roster

33 super creative self portraits submitted to Pictory’s annual creative retreat for photographers.