A recipient of many industry awards and at the forefront of digital photography, London-based Carl Lyttle first fell in love with photography in his native Belfast during the late 1970s. He believes that it is his passion and love of photography that has driven him to achieve the accolade of Hasselblad Master.
Obsessed by the world of music and its associated images and sounds, Carl knew from an early age that this was an industry he would like to work within. As a devotee of the work of Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn, Carl began taking his first photographs of the Irish punk bands making the headlines in the burgeoning Irish punk scene – from Stiff Little Fingers to The Undertones. From then on his choice of career was clear and, after a three-year apprenticeship in Ireland’s largest studio based in Belfast, he moved to England to study photography at Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design, where he graduated three years later with distinctions.
He then assisted the late and respected advertising photographer Christopher Joyce, before taking a two-year sabbatical to travel the globe taking pictures. This was the basis of Carl’s first professional portfolio, which presented him with the opportunity to work on the commissions he always yearned for.
When Carl started to shoot at concerts aged 15, his first camera was a little Hanimex Mini 110. However, it was after his father bought him a Pentax for his 17th birthday that he says he really caught the bug. Today he uses two Hasselblad H3DII-39s and says, “I originally chose Hasselblad because they have the best lenses on the market. For workflow, the quality of the equipment is, in my opinion, unrivalled in the industry.”
As he now works mostly on location around the world chasing the light and landscapes in the varied and extreme conditions that his commissions require, Carl appreciates the sturdiness and reliability of his Hasselblad. He says that first and foremost he demands optical quality and, from a digital viewpoint, a high pixel, high resolution capture back. “Hasselblad provides quality, security and reliability. The cameras are well built, durable and wonderfully consistent over a long period of time.”
| ||Although his work is now primarily automotive - having worked for Nissan, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Renault, Audi, Mercedes, Chrysler, Mars and Landrover - other global campaigns have included British American Tobacco, BT, O2, Orange, Microsoft and Vittel. If he were able to choose another area of photography to focus on, Carl says that he would have enjoyed becoming a portrait or celebrity music photographer. While photography is his first love he still surrounds himself with music by such bands as Oasis and Radiohead at all times – even on set! |
The responsibility of a large project keeps the adrenalin pumping for Carl. Citing the Chrysler Strattus shots he took in New York, he says, “It was a huge set up. We closed Wall Street for a day, had gigantic special effects and an enormous crew. It was nervewracking knowing that it was up to me to produce the images, but I was very happy with the end results, which made it all worthwhile.”
Now shooting exclusively with digital, Carl produces a massive output of personal work every year as he shoots continually in order to satisfy his passion for image making. “I love the slickness and depth of file provided by digital, as well as the ability to very quickly ensure you have a shot. However, I will always remember the traditional magic associated with looking at a piece of film on a light box.”
Carl believes that all photographers have the talent to see things in an individual and personal way. However, he would advise young people entering the industry that an education in photography is essential in order to fully develop these skills. In addition, he feels that training as an assistant to a top photographer is an important step for fledgling photographers, before attempting to venture out on their own.
Asked about his career so far, Carl enthuses, “During my career I have been lucky enough to work with many fantastic agencies and people around the world. I have also seen more of the globe than I could ever have wished for when I started out on my own 14 years ago. I love undertaking big car productions and find that jobs which allow the freedom of a road trip to shoot just what I see feed my soul as a photographer.”
So what does the future hold for Carl? As well as continuing with his successful career, Carl is hoping to find more time to spend with his family and to work on his personal photography projects. Additionally, he has over the years found himself in all sorts of strange and funny situations, which he would like some day to be able to write down in a book, even if just for himself. In the meantime though, he says, “I am naturally a very ambitious photographer and love the theatre of light that a photographic production creates. I am so passionate about image making and it is my obsession that drives me to continually strive to make every shot better and more interesting than the last.”
To see more of Carl's work, go to: www.carllyttle.com