Artist Profiles

Meet Seattle photographer Travis Tyler

Seattle photographer Travis Tyler smooths and seals the glossy glaze over one of his images, available at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

[SEATTLE] It was pure luck and good timing that allowed me to meet up with Travis Tyler. 

Before I travel to a new city, I put in days of research to find artisans and makers who meet our product criteria, who are willing to wholesale, and who are willing and able to meet during my trip. 

But I love to leave time for the unexpected discovery, and Travis’s photography was just such a find. 

Seattle images by photographer Travis Tyler, available at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

I was browsing the boutiques on Bainbridge Island just outside Seattle one sunny Sunday afternoon when I spotted his ethereal images artfully arranged on shelves with succulents and books. They were perfectly evocative of the scenes I’d seen during my trip, with a misty mystery that elevated them above mere tourism photography. 

Read Local Universe's experiences in and travel tips for Seattle.

I was only in Seattle for another 48 hours, however, and I had two other meetings already booked, plus side trips to the Space Needle and some other touristy must-sees. I Googled his name, fired off an email and hoped for the best. 

Seattle photographer Travis Tyler goes through his images for www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

The very next morning, Travis called: Off work for Labor Day, he could meet that very afternoon. I was heading downtown on the train with timed tickets to the Needle and Chihuly gardens, and I had scheduled with Soo-Rae of SOURCE Denim for late that afternoon. But if I caught the ferry around 1 and got back around 3 and Travis picked me up at the terminal (because he actually lives in a nice town called Poulsbo further into the island), it could work. 

Because that’s how we roll at Local Universe. 

Good thing the whole family enjoys animal crackers--Seattle photographer Travis Tyler uses the jugs to cover his photo blocks while they dry. Available at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

Travis works full time in the in-house marketing department of Kitsap Credit Union as a multimedia designer. But he’s always keeping an eye out for an appealing vignette, even when driving to and from work or out running errands. 

Local Universe gives back: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this product benefit REACH, a program working to improve the quality of life for people struggling with homelessness who are using drugs and alcohol in the Seattle area.

“I mostly shoot on my Canon 7D,” Travis says. “But as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. And I have gotten some amazing shots with my iPhone at times.”

Photography wasn’t always his thing. It became a passion for Travis after his first love, skateboarding, proved too risky anymore. 

Seattle photographer Travis Tyler was into skateboarding before two back surgeries led him to filming. See his images at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

“Growing up I was heavily involved in the skateboarding scene, but around the age of 20 I had two back surgeries. I couldn't take the chance of being 30 years old and in a wheelchair,” Travis says. “So I discovered the other side of skateboarding: filming.”

He purchased a used Sony Handycam from a friend and started shooting and editing footage of riders on the local White Chocolate skate team. Travis also took photography classes at Fort Hays State University, where he was introduced to the darkroom and instantly fell in love with photography. His father gave him his first camera: a Pentax Spotmatic. 

Seattle photographer Travis Tyler's work space. Find his bamboo-block images at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

In 2010 Travis decided to start showcasing his photography. But he didn’t want to go the traditional matting-and-framing route. 

“I was and still am a big user of the photography site Flickr,” Travis says, “and I really liked the square ratio layout of their website. I knew I wanted to mount my photographs the same way, but I wasn't sure on what. I experimented with different kinds of woods and landed on bamboo, because of the look and feel of it.” 

Shop Seattle photographer Travis Tyler's ethereal images preserved on beautiful bamboo photo blocks. 

Traveling and being outdoors strongly influence Travis’s photography. “I also like to capture different moods of lighting,” he says. “This region definitely has a big influence on my photos; for example, early morning foggy images that kinda give an eerie feeling or a lost feeling.” 

Images by Seattle photographer Travis Tyler. See his work at www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

While a big fan of the Pacific Northwest, Travis isn’t a native. He and his wife, Rachel, moved from Hays, Kansas, to Seattle in 2007 after Travis graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree at FHSU. The quality of life was a powerful draw. 

“I love how Seattle is a beautiful city that offers all types of unique photo opportunities, including the backcountry and coastal life all within driving distance from each other,” he says.  

Seattle photographer Travis Tyler at home, sharing his images with www.explorelocaluniverse.com.

When Travis isn’t working, shooting, editing or making photo blocks, he and Rachel enjoy road-trip adventures with their 5-year-old. “We’re always going somewhere new and exciting,” he says. “For the past five years we’ve been driving from Seattle to Lake Powell for a weeklong adventure to relax and hang out with friends and family.” 

Fortunately, Travis is an explorer, like us…and he always has a camera.

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