If Kyle Meyr is to characterize himself, he uses three terms: "cars, cameras and nature." The photographer and journalist mixes all of this with a large portion of adventurousness - and does not shy away from the danger of addiction. "I’ve built my career and passion on introducing my camera to some really cool shit." Says the photographer with Norwegian and American roots about his profession. He finds the cool shit while hiking, skiing or driving a car. His country of longing is Norway. Practically he lives there too. And when a Porsche 959 drives up, the ingredients for a perfect story à la Kyle Meyr are ready.
Hi Kyle, you brought some nice shots of a silver 911 SC Targa with you. Why is a Porsche the perfect photo subject?
Porsche has always designed their cars in a way that lends itself naturally to photography. The flyline, the shoulders, the lights… From day one, it’s been a very unique and recognizable silhouette that catches light beautifully in any scenario. Even more prevalent among the 911s is the way they act as a time capsule, with subtle changes in the car’s design telling the story of that model’s generation. The classic is sophisticated and sharp. The 930 is intimidating and strong willing. The 993 is technical and innovative. And so on, all the way up to the 992 which bears a modern sleek resemblance to the classic that reflects our appreciation for the best of times past. There are stories in the lines of a Porsche and I am infatuated with what they tell.
Do you have that one favourite picture from your portfolio that you're also infatuated to? If so, why is it special to you?
In my Lightroom library, I currently have over 300k photos … Finding a favorite among those is a task I wish upon no man! (laughs) But I do have a current favorite! It’s this photo of Norway’s Preikestolen, taken in the waxing morning sun one day during the Covid 19 lock down.
I had never seen Norway’s biggest landmark, Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), until this week. With the borders closed to international tourism, my work life on hold, and the weather predicted to be perfect, I figured now’s the time. So I packed a bag, drove the therapeutic eight hours, hiked the equally therapeutic two hours and pitched a tent atop the extremely rarely empty Preikestolen. I sat and watched the sunset by myself, then set my alarm to 1 AM so I could wake up and see the billions stars uninterrupted by city lights. Then I set my alarm once more to 5 AM to wake up and take this photo of the 600 meter tall cliff jutting out over the fjord just moments before being gilded by the morning sun.
The best part of all? I told no one. I didn’t share one part of the trip on social media. This moment was mine and mine alone and this will be the first time I am sharing this photo. So, there you have it. My current favorite photo.
You're not just a photographer, you're a journalist, too. How would does one tell a good story like the one you just shared?
A good story starts with personal experience. Lack of experience always lends itself to bullshitting and that can get you in trouble. Especially early on in your career. Not only is it more difficult to talk your way around a subject you don’t fully understand, it’s glaring in the final product and one little mistake or vague assumption could crush your credibility. So, step one is to write about what you know. And if you don’t know enough, get the research done and fill in the gaps. A great example of this is Hunter S. Thompson, especially his book Hell’s Angels, which chronicles a year spent living among the titular motorcycle gang. He was uncompromising in the way he immersed himself in his storytelling and because of that is looked up to by so many.
What is it that drives you?
I have always had a passion for the subjects I shoot before I found myself shooting them. I grew up with cars, my dad was an enthusiast and one car of his in particular that made an impression on me was his 1970 Dodge Challenger 440 Six Pack. Convertible with no seatbelts, that car was driven on passion. It wasn’t convenient, it wasn’t particularly useful, but damn it was fun. That became a theme for me. My job isn’t convenient, it’s not particularly useful, but damn is it fun…
The same could be said for my addictions to nature, skiing, adventure and the like. I chose a path that others may fear, but I am too curious not to walk down. And here I am.
Your pictures all radiate a clear aesthetic and you’re often travelling in nature with light luggage. Can you tell us why less is more in life?
There’s a certain irreplicable authenticity to travelling light. We annotate the storyline with every light we add to the photo, every color, every model, every item of clothing, etc., and the more we allow ourselves to change that narrative, the further we get from the raw truth. For some, perhaps life isn’t beautiful enough as is, but the key to life is learning to appreciate the way it was designed without us.
Adding elements to a story is a phenomenally useful tool, but when done incorrectly can detract from its value. This is something that bugs me about the direction social media has taken photography. Perhaps the scene isn’t always about you… Never let yourself get in the way of the stories you’re trying to tell.
Your next project?
I wish I knew… Covid 19 has robbed me of all my work in the foreseeable future. The professional creative scene is on hiatus right now and it’s taking its time.
The goal in these times is to keep one’s skills sharp, keep producing and keep pushing yourself in new directions. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking impromptu trips to shoot nature, I’ve started livestreaming and podcasting, shooting more cars than ever before. This time for me has been about reminding myself why I love what I do. It’s afforded me the freedom to get out there and shoot for fun again. So that’s what I’m going to do.