Some of my first pictures were of people dressed like dolphins, penguins and whales, hugging people from every continent, sunburnt and smiling with Shamu.
Sea World of San Antonio, my hometown. I worked as a photographer there for two summers. I grew up in the suburbs, climbing fences and skateboarding under ditches into the wilderness that called my name.
I’m Tyler Cleveland, and I’m a photojournalist. I want to tell good stories. People in Denton have good stories to tell.
Seven years since my shadow trailed Shamu, now my lens and notepad turn toward the Pecan – the Panhandle, Congress, and Egan (streets) Area Neighborhood.
I’ll be graduating soon from the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, but in the meantime, I have the pleasure of savoring one of the coolest, diverse, (nuttiest?) neighborhoods in town.
Being as nutty as anybody, I’m ready for the challenge.
This is all the byproduct of time spent in South Texas – full of marching bands, taco trucks and spirit.
Marching across the platform for a diploma at Communications Arts High School, and right into the field, I spent my senior year studying alongside photographer William Luther at the San Antonio Express-News. He’s uno de los mejores – one of the best.
Looking at good pictures helped me be a better photographer at San Antonio College, where I worked at The Ranger for three years with some of the best instruction in the country. What a group of professionals. I have a lot to live up to.
In January 2012, I arrived to much colder weather in North Texas, and Denton became my new home. My first semester at a university – and as photo-editor for a daily newspaper – appears in my memory as a rapidly-moving slideshow of images, processed and published and uploaded, my eyes running until 3 a.m. and the janitor lady walking in to clean the newsroom, as we talked about familia.
Then, I knew only a little about photography and even less about writing well. I have a lot to learn, and I always will.
It takes time to make things grow. This, I am discovering, while living in my barn-home on a small patch of farmland with a group of missionaries.
One doesn’t get into photography without confronting light and darkness. I believe this is true for journalism as well. One doesn’t seek to report the truth without knowing there are lies, without finding ugliness, and especially without witnessing the beauty among it all.
This is my aim in storytelling. I want to see what is behind the veil, those things hidden or unperceived, and show others what I find.
I know it will be worth entering into the wilderness again to do it.