The Photographer with a Difference
Lyle Richardson – A Passion for Photography
Born in 1979 in the quiet city of Brisbane, Lyle Richardson was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He had to have an operation when he was only one week old. “They put a shunt in my head” Lyle explains.
From birth Lyle has lived with his condition. He has no use of his left hand and no peripheral vision in his left eye so it would surprise you to learn what he does for a living.
Lyle is a photographer and a very good one.
I asked Lyle whether he had to wear glasses but said he doesn’t, which shocked me. As he cannot drive a car he has to rely on public transport or family and friends to get around…and he gets around a lot.
The youngest of three he has two sisters – Kim and Kylie. His parents, Ron and Dianne have always supported him in everything he did. He has been very active in sports such as cricket, tennis, golf and ten pin bowling. More recently he has started up golf again, but that is another story!
Although the Richardson clan had many pets over the years Lyle never became very attached to any of them, his passion was in other areas. Attending school was a difficult time for a young boy with a physical disability. Lyle shares how he first came upon photography and how it changed his life.
“I lived in Park Ridge, Brisbane and just picked up a camera when I was 16 years of age. I had my first professional job shooting a portrait session and I got paid. Before that I had picked up a film camera at a garage sale. I still have it to this day. In fact with my new studio now open in Nambour, I intend on teaching film photography as well as digital.”
Earlier on Lyle had thought of following his dad into his transport business. How things can change in an instant.
“I discovered something I enjoyed more than anything else,” says Lyle
I was keen to know if his disability had affected him as a photographer. What I found was he has a lot of talent, passion which has not allowed anything to stop him in his pursuit of happiness and success.
Lyle shares, “I don’t get a lot of time to watch TV but I love attending exhibitions. I walked into the Christian Dior Exhibition in Melbourne held at the Victorian Art Gallery in September 2017. This was a rare event and after waiting in line for many hours due to the crush I saw a dress created in 1965 and it just took my breath away. It was the only dress locked away in a glass-case as it was truly something to behold.
When I walked through the exhibition I saw dresses worthy to have appeared in Melbourne, Milan, and Paris Fashion Week. As a photographer, I thought If only they brought things like this to Australia more often. The organisers only allowed Australian Industry professional photographers to take photos – you actually had to show them your Master Photographer’s card.” I could tell this had been one of the highlights of Lyle’s career.
His favourite photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson who was a painter before becoming a photographer. Cartier-Bresson used to see something and say “I like that, paint it and someone would love it and then go back and photograph it. The people loved the photo better than the art”. He used large format cameras, something that is not a small item but a heavy thing to take around, a serious camera and expensive.
When he was only 20 years old he opened his first studio in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane City while still studying at University. His passion for portrait photography is best described in his own words, “It is all about telling a story. Giving people something they can hold close, their memories, forever”
Lyle shared “The first commercial photo I ever took and sold was while I was working for my father in his transport company in Brisbane. It was a KOMATSU 830E Dump Truck, with four days of water in the body. They just started to tip the body and I captured the photo just as the water hit the ground. You could see the water bouncing back off the ground and the sun shining through the water”
It was good to hear that Lyle not only has a great passion for life but a sense of humour. He tells the story of something funny happened during a photo shoot. “I was doing a make-up photo shoot for a makeup artist. The makeup artist and I decided to make up my assistant, a man of about 40 years of age with a disability who a great sense of adventure and loved every minute of his job. He was the perfect person to dress up and makeup as Dracula! I still have the photo and the assistant still cringes when I pull it out”
Lyle is a photographer with a definite difference. He has not allowed his disability to stop him in any way, in fact, he has created an amazing life full of memories, friends, colleagues, clients, and family taking photos of most of it along the way.
Fortunate to find his passion very early in life and Lyle has turned his gift into a full life both privately and professionally