No. 437

8 Exposures...with Tyler Tyndell

Patrick Tobin, | May 25, 12:00 PM

Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our popular instant film Q&A series. This week, we turn our lens on Texas teacher and photographer Tyler Tyndell

1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?

The truth is that by the time this interview runs, it will have changed. Realizing the potential for all Polaroid camera models to be useful, I acquire them readily. Of course, my SX-70 is with me at all times as well as two 250 Land Cameras. Being as it is, when my SX-70 needs troubleshooting, my father-in-law is kind enough to lend me one of his. Other cameras that are usually with me are an SX-70 Pronto and a Polaroid Spectra.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

Can I give a dissertation? In all seriousness, instant photography breathes creativity. For me it provides an avenue for creativity that I would have never been exposed to otherwise. I believe the addictive quality induced from instant photography is best explained by truly understanding the magnitude of what happens the moment you press the shutter. It could be everything or nothing that you imagined. The 35-year-old camera could false shoot and you may end up transferring the pack to another camera, just to harvest the image. There is a delightful quality to the possibility of failure and the subsequent pursuit of a single image that is worth the time to stop, breath, see and hold.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

Regretfully, I only have faint memories of a Polaroid 600 camera in our house as a child. However, I delight in the serendipitous events that led me to a garage sale one early morning last winter. I bought a Polaroid 600 OneStep for 25 cents having heard that “I think there is a company making film for those now,” and embarked on the journey that has led me here. Ask my daughter that question in 25 years. Thankfully, she’ll have a completely different answer and plenty of Impossible images to show for it.

4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?

Having cut my teeth on PX 680 FF, I feel obligated to comment on the noteworthy and unmatched characteristics of such a lovely film. To date I am most attached to the PX 70 12/11 batch and its consistency. Again and again the colors and tonal range come through for me, which is important in being able to utilize it in personal work as well as professional jobs.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

People. As a portrait photographer, the need to capture and convey the expression of a face or a body transfers very naturally to instant film. It always amazes me how people respond to having their photo taken with an SX-70 versus my DSLR. There is a certain non-threatening comfort to it. More specifically, my daughter Pyper. It is important for me to know that she’ll have a new generation of instant photos that captured her life. I keep a PX 70 shot of her in the dashboard of my car.

6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.

Well I wrote a short story over 2 years ago and it’s just sitting there on a flash drive. I had plans to collaborate with some artist friends of mine to illustrate it, but it never took off. That was before I had fallen into this relationship with photography and instant film. Now I realize how great it is that it never actually happened. I will be using Impossible film to produce the images that will accompany the story. I’ve found that giving myself deadlines for personal work can be dangerous. These things need to happen naturally and very thoughtfully.

7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?

Being a young photographer and even more green in the world of instant photography, I have to say that most of my favorite instant photographers are those that are active in the Flickr and Twitter community. My father-in-law and fellow instant fanatic Troy Bradford provides constant inspiration and technical direction as well as Illustrative Photographer and friend Nick Minton. Other photographers whose work I greatly admire are Eric Ryan Anderson & my friend Sean Berry, who both utilize instant film in their work. Also Jeremy Cowart for his humanitarian and creative approach to photography. I need not forget to mention Adam Goldberg with his endless stream of introspective double exposures and photographic musings.

8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?

Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I’ve been saying this for years. It is no secret how he feels about media, cameras and such; which is what makes the idea of taking his portrait so desirable. You don’t just take a picture of a guy like that. You would have to really develop the photographer/subject relationship. I think he’d dig to have his photo on Impossible film.

About Tyler

People are lots of things. I am a teacher and coordinate an afterschool program here in Greenville, TX. I am a portrait and wedding photographer. Mostly I am a husband to my beautiful wife and father to my beautiful daughter. I do what I have to do, so that I can keep doing what I want to do, and that is taking pretty pictures.

To see more of Tyler’s work, visit his wedding photography website at and his Tumblr. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tylertyndell

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