Ole Miss Student Photographer on the Uprise

Walter Lyle
Walter Lyle

Photography is a way to capture moments. Those photographs allow people to look at that image and remember the memories beneath the still, flat picture. For Walter Lyle, a 21-year-old Alabama native and Ole Miss senior broadcast major, photography is his creative outlet.

“Photography allows me to capture moments that otherwise go unnoticed or forgotten,” said Lyle. “I see photography as capturing what we can consider memories of reality. I’ll take a photo of something and try to turn it into something more intriguing than the actual moment.”

Lyle hasn’t always had a passion for photography. It wasn’t until he attended Ole Miss that he started being serious about his work. “I got started more than a year ago when I took a photojournalism class taught by Timothy Ivy,” said Lyle. “He presented photography in a way that was so interesting and fascinating to me that I took it much more seriously than I ever intended to.”

His favorite part about taking photos is the level of creativity it can reach. “I give myself a lot of freedom to try new things and I’m not afraid to mess something up and learn from my mistakes,” said Lyle.

Although capturing photos allow him to tap into a creative level, he finds that it can be difficult to shoot people and patience is a key virtue. “It sounds weird, but there are several situations in which I feel bad for maybe pushing past someone at a show to get a certain angle, or interrupting someone’s conversation at a wedding to grab a quick photo of them,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a specific moment I have to wait for to take a photo to be proud of. Sometimes I need to stand looking through the camera until the band gets to the chorus in order to have a lot of movement. Just a small example, but timing is key.”

Although these siblings weren’t cooperating, Walter captured ‘brotherly love.’  (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)
Although these siblings weren’t cooperating, Walter captured ‘brotherly love.’  (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)

He captures everything from weddings to portraits, but recently has been focusing on music and shooting live bands. “I’ve been focusing a lot lately on live bands and music in general,” said Lyle. “Musicians often let loose a lot of their passion and emotion on stage and it’s super cool to capture that forever.”

Walter’s first wedding shoot involved capturing the newlyweds’ exit in a tunnel of sparklers. (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)
Walter’s first wedding shoot involved capturing the newlyweds’ exit in a tunnel of sparklers. (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)

One of the bands that he often covers is a local band known as Pinebox. Band member Trey Umfress enjoys Lyle’s photos. “We’re super pleased with the photos he’s taken,” said Umfress. “He always goes above and beyond to represent himself and the people he’s capturing with superb quality. What I like most about his photos is that he is good at finding rare moments or capturing raw emotion that you just can’t fake on stage.”

Lyle gets up close and personal with his subjects.  At Pinebox’s EP Release show at Proud Larry’s on June 23rd, Lyle was on the stage and in the crowd snapping pictures.  He maneuvered around the band members to get action shots of them playing as well as close up shots of fans in the crowd.

Umfress finds Lyle’s passion to be undeniable. “You can just watch him work and it speaks for itself,” said Umfress. “He’s always moving and engaging whatever he’s aiming for and his work ethic and timely delivery on developing the photos is as good as it gets.”

Walter photographed Pinebox this past May at Brofest in Tupelo, MS.  Picture is drummer Jon Michael Walton. (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)
Walter photographed Pinebox this past May at Brofest in Tupelo, MS.  Picture is drummer Jon Michael Walton. (Photo courtesy of Walter Lyle)

For editing images, Lyle uses programs like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. He shoots his images with a Nikon D7000 with different lenses such as a 35mm f1.8, a 50 mm f1.8 and a 28-75mm f2.8. With all the gear, Lyle finds getting caught up in it to be his biggest weakness as a photojournalist. “I spend way too much time researching new stuff and way too much money on more lenses and other equipment so I can better myself as a photographer,” said Lyle.

His favorite quote by Chase Jarvis says: ‘The best camera is the one you have with you.’ “It’s way more important to spend time learning composition, lighting, focal length, etcetera instead of always trying to use the best stuff,” said Lyle.

As a senior at Ole Miss, Lyle hopes to continue shooting and hopefully find a full-time job as a photojournalist. His current work can be found on his website at walterlyle.com.


Paige Henderson is enrolled at Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be contacted at pehender@go.olemiss.edu.

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