Born in Prince George, Canada, in 1961, Lyle Roblin grew up between his native Canada and, for shorter periods of time, the United States. At age twenty he joined the Canadian Navy, but five years into a promising career an almost fatal drowning accident put an end to it. After leaving the Navy he started travelling, moving from New York to Los Angeles, London, Paris and Barcelona, and engaging in a variety of activities which enabled him to maintain a firm focus on his photographic pursuits. He finally settled down with his family in Milan, where he works as a professional photographer.
Endowed with a sensitivity which enables him to feel and see the world that surrounds him with an intensity that demands expression, Lyle is a photographer of the suspended life of things. In his images, which are never conventional, he captures the details which transform objects into icons, and landscapes into simulacra of the spirit, revealing the soul – but also the flesh and sinews – of the world we live in. For a long time his private conception of his artistic vision, made him eschew the public exhibition of his work, which was only shown privately. More recently, however, the success attained by his photographs on the occasion of public events such as the charity auctions The Art of Photography (London 1999) and Art and Charity (Sotheby’s, Montecarlo 2007) persuaded him to extend his exhibiting activities to other venues. A solo exhibition devoted to the theme of industrial archaeology and entitled La vita sospesa delle cose (“The suspended life of things”), organised by Piccolo Museo Sereno, was held in May 2008 in the prestigious venue of the Società Umanitaria, in Milan, to public and critical acclaim. Then followed a solo exhibition, Metamorphosis (on the transformation of the textile industry in the Northern-Italian city of Biella, home to world-known names such as Zegna,Cerruti and Barberis-Canonico) was equally successful. Further solo gallery exhibitions of these shows followed in 2009-2011 .
– Argenta (Ferrara) From October 24th to November 9th
– Nhow Hotel via Tortona Milan -From november 2009 to March 2010
– Boscolo Exedra Hotel Milan – From April 2010 to May 2010. In collaboration with Artnetworth
– Fondazione Pria – May 2011 – Biennale
– Art for Haiti – December 2011 – In collaboration with Artnetworth and Unicredit
Lyle Roblin on photography
My first camera was my grandfather’s 1920s Eastman Kodak Landcamera and as a 10-year-old I had a great time with it. I shoveled snow to buy film for it!
For many years now I have used the “noble” Pentax 6×7 medium format camera along with a 90 mm lens, which I find comes closest to matching my eye without distortion, and like the relation of height to width. It reminds me of the classic format of early cinema productions and because of its weight it feels like a small movie camera. I love the wooden grip and final commanding sound of the shutter.
I was very stubborn to try digital, but I eventually did. I now use it when appropriate, and am very happy with the results. It is especially handy when you run out of film or can’t find the film for the 6×7.
Digitally, I do most post production myself, and with film I have negatives drum-scanned and preserved digitally. I prefer digital printing for most large format projects.
I work very closely with my labs in the final printing process and I am interested in experimenting in new techniques and original ways of presenting show prints.
As for the color saturation which characterizes my photography, the “old school” way of creating more contrast or saturation was to mount a polarizer etc. on the lens. Now I control contrast, saturation etc. with the computer, to get the best possible result, but always try to match the final prints to the recollection of how the image presented itself the first time I experienced it, and always, if possible, take the time to photograph the subject in the best possible flattering light.
The photographs featured in the “Vita Sospesa delle Cose / The suspended life of things” are a mixture of film and digital. All prints are inkjet, mounted on 18 mm mdf board with a unique protective finish which adds intensity to the final print.