When the Art Gallery of Calgary ( http://www.artgallerycalgary.org/ ) asked me to exhibit my stranger series, I was a little nervous due to the fact that I had only FOUR weeks to photograph EIGHT people. Now this does not seem like a massive responsibility but think of it like this. I had to find individuals who I thought represented Calgary today, they had to agree to let me photograph them, I needed good light and weather, I need to interview each subject, photograph enough people where you have a large enough body of work to choose from and that works well together, the chosen photographs have to be framed and printed which takes another 10 days off of the time line just for production purposes, and sometimes you have to go back a second and third time because you were not happy with the first series of images. Tyler's Portrait unfortunately did not make it into the gallery exhibition, however I enjoyed the time spent with him and I look forward to photographing him more in the future. Here is Tyler's Story...
Tyler was born in 1984 growing up in the suburbs of Edmonton, Alberta. Tyler has always been interested in bikes from watching pro mountain bike riders at a very young age and noticing all the couriers in Edmonton's downtown core growing up. When Tyler moved to Calgary he attended art school at the Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) majoring in Media Arts & Digital technologies program. After graduating, he wanted to pursue more opportunities in the arts and then attended the Vancouver film school. After graduating in 2008 he then returned to Calgary during the recession where he had a hard time finding work as a designer. So in the summer of 2009 his buddy got him an interview where he immediately landed a job as a bike courier.
Tyler earns his living where he is paid based on a per trip basis where he averages fifty trips per day in Calgary's downtown core. It turns out Tyler cycles between 40-70km per day depending on the amount of deliveries he does. When I asked Tyler how he copes in the winter months he says that is the most common question he gets asked and he responds by saying "It is no different than any other day. We dress warmer and the -30 days are the worst. You are only out on the bike for 3 hours a day, your moving so your core temperature is up, and the rest of the time your in and out of buildings, waiting in line, and processing your next order which is in a heated building".
It turns out Christmas is the best time of year for couriers because people are schmoozing, gifting, and sometimes sending a variety of packages including wine and cheese via bike courier. Now this is where couriers can charge for over sized items as well as fragile items. When I asked about winter bike tires he still uses regular slicks but Tyler is significantly more cautious during the winter months.
Tyler plans to pursue his artistic career selling his art and plans to become an illustrator. It's no shock because artistic talent runs in his family where his brother is a photographer, his father an architect, his sister a graphic designer, and his mom a hair dresser. His entire family are all creative individuals.
It was a pleasure and honor to meet this interesting and wonderful man.
Stay tuned for more as I plan to do another shoot with him very soon.