Guest Blogger – Wylie Maercklein

I am excited to share this incredible artist with you. Luckily, I live here in Austin, so I am able to see all kinds of interesting and unexpected art. I came across Wylie’s work a number of years ago and was struck by it. I am sure you will be too. I am honored he took a moment to do a little blogpost for us.


1) Where can everyone see your portfolio?

My website would get you a decent look:

2) Tell us a little about you – what should people know?

I’m a photographer currently living in Austin, Texas.

I started out as a screenwriter who became a filmmaker (of my screenplays), though the scarcity of items on my IMDB page should indicate about how successful I was at making all that work. I wasn’t very good at it. After a while, I noticed that while I was paying other people in order to make motion pictures, people had started to pay me for taking still pictures. So, the switch was pretty natural.

I do try to maintain a fairly cinematic style: Wideangle lenses, anamorphic crops, letting people move naturally through the frame while I shoot, and trying to tell stories. When I started out at it, I was trying for as many documentary opportunities as I could find. Well, I couldn’t find many, so I took to shooting little fictional portraits instead. That’s what the majority of my photography is: portraiture that tries to tell some kind of story. Character portraits, I suppose. I understand that before the death of the print media, I might have found some editorial work from doing that. As it is, my clients have mainly been advertising and promo folks looking for an editorial or documentary approach. I suppose that’s what happens when you play with reality instead of showing it truthfully: people ask you to make their reality look cool.

3) Tell us about your philosophy about being an artist.

Hmm, I feel bad about mentioning advertising now that I’m being asked about philosophy and art.

Anyway, I’m primarily interested in stylized versions of world and iconic depictions of situations. Like taking some naturalist trope and adding shadows and dutched angles to make it noir. Basically, taking realistic situations and making them, well, more interesting. More narrative. Pushing things to the edge of the frame and making things uncomfortable, or tense, or horrible. Hiding important parts of the image from the viewer so they can fill it in themselves. Beauty tends to be boring to me, as I find people tend to be more interesting in moments when they’re not looking their best. And I find people to be more interesting than anything else I can point a camera at. Above all, I like contrast and shadows and details stripped down to only what matters for the shot. And, yes, I do know what website this is, hah.

One thing I’ve noticed in conversations with other photographers is that many of them tend to be more concerned about the entirety of the frame, whereas I tend to only care about the moment (I’d originally written “the entirety of the moment,” but man did that sound pretentious). The object for those photographers is to create a work where the eye moves about the whole of the frame, from leading line to subject to background and so on. Like the Hobbit: taking you there and back again. And I certainly don’t object to that approach: it includes many of my favorite photographs. I just don’t tend to personally practice that method. For me, and this is probably because my favorite photographers are cinematographers, all I care about is the subject and those parts of the photo which directly influence the narrative. Leading lines are cool, but I want them to simply go to my subject and leave your eye stuck there, swimming in negative space.

I tend to like things as expressionistic as possible in whatever I do- photography, writing, film, whatever. Hell, in most of what I watch or see or read, too. In other words, I like my physical world filtered through mental spaces before they show up on the other side. Even more important than that, however, is that works convey some sort of story and leave any audience thinking about the story of who is being shown and considering what is left undepicted.

Anyway, so, you asked about my philosophy of art. How about: I want to describe the shadows of Plato’s cave; distorted and untrue and bigger than life.

4) Tell us about your future.

Eh, it’s ‘salright.

Photographically, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and maybe get hired some more. And I’d like to shoot some more documentary stuff, or at least see what I can do to get out of town and back on the road. More broadly, I’d like to get back into film at some point (if I can figure out how to do it on someone elses’ dime).

Artistically, I’d just like to get better and try new things.

And personally, I’d like to try and make rent next month and see if I can get my car fixed. And if I save up a little cash, skip town and see somewhere new.

  • I always love reading what other artists think about. Especially when it comes to their philosophy.
    Thanks Trey for the guest blogger!

  • Zhi

    I enjoy knowing what the other successful ones think as they become my source of inspiration. Thank you for sharing this Trey!

  • GW (Bill) Dauphinais

    Wow. Really really impressive. I love your work. Keep it up. Do you give workshops?

  • ms peculiar

    Hi Wylie

    Love the photo with the plane.

    Hope you make rent next month! 🙂

  • casusan

    Oh wow – Wylie you are super talented! Love reading your thoughts the the down to earthiness of making the rent payment – you’re not alone!

  • don’t forget his flickr… great stuff there too:) Congrats Wylie on being featured on Stuck in Customs even if you are not a HDR shooter. It should serve you as a testament to your talent:)

  • (Thanks for the comments everyone.)

    Bill- Haven’t given one before; but hey, if there’s ever enough interest, who knows.

    Weiss- Hah. I left it out because my flickr tends to be more hit and miss than my real portfolio. But google should lead anyone interested to the flickr stream :).

  • Chris

    Enjoyed your post! Like the plane photo and the girl/dress photo a lot. Plan to check out your website later today!

  • hey wylie, love ALL your shots but especially the crop duster man in the field photo. you say a lot very simply. keep up the great work for all to enjoy.

  • Excellent work! I really enjoy your taste in photos and the composition is stunning! Very well done!

  • Jacqueline

    Provocative philosophy, Wylie! “Beauty” is subjective, right? I find your photographs quite beautiful and rather the other side of glossy, perfect, primped, polished. You will make your rent.

    Thank you, Trey, for sharing other great artists and work!

  • Absolutely love your vision. You roam and soar. If you ever come over to the Hawaiian rainforest here, I would love to see what you would do. And thanks Trey for showing off this remarkable photographer.

  • Bennet

    I look at the clown picture above and it reminds me of the artist Edward Hopper. That may sound pretentious, but he had a tremendous affect on cinematography, especially with images of people looking through windows or doors into other lives.

  • “Entirety of the moment” not pretentious at all!!! Sounds like good idea to live by….Nice work you’ve done, and thanks to Trey for sharing his spotlight here with others!!!

  • I love your unique and artistic style!

  • Many thanks for sharing this link, he makes very very very inspiring images.

  • Linda

    You have definitely succeeded in bringing your goals and philosophy to life. My eye does roam and then rests on the subject. I am left wondering what is about to happen and for what reason is the person depicted in the setting?

  • wow is the least i can say
    good work

  • Linda Castellani

    Trey, thank you for introducing us to Wylie.

    Wylie, what phenomenal vision you have, and how clearly you express it, both visually and verbally. I am quite taken with this thought:

    “…I like my physical world filtered through mental spaces…”

    On a more personal note, I think I finally understand what people mean when they dismiss my work as “illustration.” I’m not telling the story, I’m showing a picture of the last page.

    Thank you so much.

  • Outstanding! Inspiring to say the very least! Good luck!

    Cheers to you too Trey!


  • I love the b&w dress photo. Thanks for sharing Wylie’s photography.

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