Every photographer has a specific style. If you’re a good photographer, and your career lasts long enough you might even develop an iconic style. For some that style is frenetic, colorful, loud, or highly conceptual. New York based photographer Ty Cole has created a style for himself that is far from frenetic or loud. Ty creates images that are inherently calming. Lines are crisp and precision straight. Good composition is the cornerstone of Ty’s work. Each image is intentional and direct, showing dedication to quality and craft. Ty recently photographed Hudson Woods as part of our “It Takes a Village” campaign, so we sat down with him to learn more about the man behind the lens.
Brick & Wonder: We know you from your amazing work at Hudson Woods and the commercial photography work you’ve shared on your Brick & Wonder profile, but we’re eager to learn more! What first sparked the desire to be a photographer? How did that grow over the years? How did you eventually land in commercial/real estate photography?
Ty Cole: I started attending art classes at a young age and always knew I’d be in a creative field. It was actually in my seventh grade art class that I decided what I was going to do for a living. The first photography assignment had me hooked. But it wasn’t until I attended the Art Institute of Atlanta that my real passion set in. It was here that I realized I was drawn to graphic imagery more than anything else. Creating meticulously composed images was extremely satisfying. From there, I naturally gravitated to architectural photography, simply for its graphic nature.
BW: How do you keep your photography passion alive?
TC: I keep my passion for photography alive through my personal work. It is easy to get bogged down with commercial work and let your personal work take a back seat. It is very important to nurture your curiosity, or you’ll burn out quickly and it will show in all of your work.
BW: Whose photography inspires you?
TC: There are tons but if I had to name a few: Arnold Newman, Harry Callahan & Hiroshi Sugimoto.
BW: How do you know if a project is a good fit for you? When do you know to say it isn't a good fit?
TC: It really comes down to style. I have the ability to shoot a variety of subjects (portraits, architecture, still life) but if the client desires a particular look and it doesn’t vibe with my style, then it's not a good fit.
BW: How does collaboration best work between you as the photographer and your client?
TC: I love collaborating with my clients. I have some that give minimal direction or feedback and trust me to deliver what I think the best images will be. More times than not, my client will have an idea and it is my job to elevate that idea. I try to find a perspective, literally or figuratively, that they haven’t thought about.
BW: How do you find the balance of your personal photo vision and the desires of your client?
TC: It is my job to make sure the client is happy and if we see something differently, I won’t hesitate to express my thoughts. If it is easy enough, we shoot both ways and choose later. At the end of the day though, the client is always right.
BW: What is the best way to find a quality photographer? What, in your opinion makes a good photographer?
TC: The majority of my work comes from referrals. A good photographer obviously has to deliver quality images but they should also be professional, personable and collaborative.
BW: What advice would you give to clients hiring a photographer?
TC: I think the only advice I would give is that if you haven’t worked with a professional photographer before, you should really think about what you want from the shoot. What type of images? How many? How will they be used?