The work of this Los Angeles-based photographer exudes natural light and motion
"Photography—that’s how I want to talk,” Tyler Gourley confesses. It’s how he communicates, and given the wealth of awards and recognition he’s received for his work, it speaks volumes: a Cannes Gold Lion as well as multiple awards from publications and professional organizations, including Communication Arts, Photo District News, Graphis, Print and Lürzer’s Archive. His client list spans a range of industries, from the automobile industry to banking, and his commercial work touches on cars, fashion, sports and travel.
Gourley, 41, has been photographing for 22 years, although he looks far too young to have had such a long career.
While growing up, he would fantasize with his father about buying classic cars and fixing them up. Enthralled with drawing cars and all their interesting lines and curves, Gourley originally started taking photographs only as drawing resources. But he discovered that he reveled in finding the key attributes of a subject and featuring them in new and expressive ways, so he put down the pencil and picked up a camera. His commercial photography career has realized that early love of cars through large, complex shoots for BMW, Volvo, Jeep, Subaru, Lexus and Acura. “As objects, cars are very beautiful,” he says. “What makes a good car photographer is finding the key attributes and the lines and what really makes that car shine. How do I shoot it and make it look just as sexy as a car that costs 20 times the price?”
Extensive travel is imprinted in his DNA. Gourley was born in Los Angeles, but when he was six months old, his family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, packing him and their two collies into their Volkswagen van. They were always camping and traveling on road trips, he remembers. Then they went from Mexico to Philadelphia, where his father went to medical school. After that, his father’s job as an Air Force doctor required the family to move frequently, including to San Antonio, Texas, and to Northamptonshire, England. “I think we saw every castle in Europe,” he says. From England, they returned to San Antonio, then moved to Fairfield, California, before settling in Salt Lake City for two decades—the longest he had lived anywhere.
Gourley was accepted into the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, but decided to study closer to home. He attended Salt Lake Community College, where teacher Terry Martin proved instrumental to his work ethic. “It’s what you put into it,” Gourley claims. “If you’re passionate enough, you are going to learn what you need.” Learn he did; personal work shot in his second year of school led to his first commercial job—an ad campaign for a ski resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Buoyed by success, he left school to pursue photography full time.
(Anne Telford - Communication Arts Magazine)