fashion photographer Bill Tyler recently launched his own
jewelry line of leather cuffs.
After years of
experience as a professional photographer, including stints as staff
fashion photographer for top retailers like Macyís and Kohlís,
Bill Tyler says heís still learning.
Although he took
pictures for his high school yearbook in Minneapolis, Tylerís first
real exposure to the photography business was working in his brotherís
pre-press shop in Colorado. In those days, he notes, photographs had
to be broken down into dots before they could be printed in newspapers
and magazines. Today, scanners do the job.
The work sparked
Tylerís interest in creating images. He returned to school in
Minneapolis and apprenticed as an assistant for several photographers.
just started freelancing, and here I am 25 years later," he says.
work is done on location ó New York, Miami, Los Angeles ó and
Tyler says he enjoys being on the road.
"I love the
people," he says. "Thereís so many different personalities
on every shoot; your hair and makeup people, your fashion stylist and
models, and that changes from job to job." The trick, he says, is
to get everybody on the same page and create an atmosphere where
models can relax.
"A lot of
times the first picture I take is the shot I use, because the model is
comfortable and theyíre not expecting it to be the shot," he
notes. "To bring out their inner beauty and personality is what I
shoots are not always glamorous. Tyler recalls a Miami swimsuit shoot
where the thermometer never got past 38 degrees, "but the models
were so professional youíd never know it."
Tyler met his
wife, Miki, on a shoot. She is a hair stylist and they often have the
chance to collaborate.
well together. Sheís always right," he says. The couple
recently welcomed a new baby girl, Asahi.
Tyler is proof
that you donít have to live in fashion capitals like New York to be
successful. The Wauwatosa resident says New York is still "a base
camp for fashion, and itís great to go there to get inspired."
Early in his
career, Tyler says, he never considered himself an artist, "but I
learned that itís a real art. Itís definitely more than
documenting the clothing, you need to sell mood as well; you put it in
When heís not
shooting fashion, Tyler is creating it in his West Bend studio. His
new line of leather cuffs and belts is a mash-up of rock ínĎ roll,
Native American, cowboy and biker influences.
A biker himself,
Tyler has rebuilt his own motorcycles, including a Harley Heritage and
a 1969 Triumph he calls "Survivor." He made his own chaps
and vest, and fashioned his first leather cuff from leftover scraps.
Each of his cuffs has a tooled leather, vintage vibe, embellished with
studs and nickel silver conchos from Arizona.
"A lot of
people look at them and think theyíre for guys, but a lot of women
are buying them, too," Tyler says.
To see Tylerís
work, go to billtyler.com.