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On the Road with Brand Influencer Tyson Wheatley

By Matthew Oxley | 5 years 1 month ago

7 days, 7 images on the World Photography Organisation Instagram feed

#WPOfavs feature: Based in Atlanta, New York and Hong Kong, Tyson Wheatley is a strategist, director and photographer with a decade of experience working in social media and journalism. He spent 11 years at CNN, helping to launch CNN iReport. He also led's Asia/Pacific team based in Hong Kong. After CNN, Tyson spent a year working as Communications Manager at Instagram, based in San Francisco. 

He has over 600K followers on Instagram and has become a brand influencer for the likes of Ford, Cathay Pacific, Bloomingdales, Master & Dynamic, Travel Alberta, The Canadian Tourism Commission, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and GANT Rugger. 

Tell us more about the series of images we featured. Do you have a favourite?

I just picked a handful of images from recent travels that I thought would work together as a series. I don't think they represent an overall theme. My favorite image is from the Pyongyang Marathon - which starts and ends inside May Day Stadium. Photographing inside the DPRK was both a surreal and exhilarating experience. 



How did you get into photography?

I fell into it. I'm a journalist by training and spent 11 years working as a producer, writer and web editor at CNN. Photography was a creative outlet for me but not something I seriously considered as a career until Instagram really started opening opportunities for me to connect with other photographers and begin creating commercial work for clients.  

Can you talk about your relationship to Instagram. When and why did you start using the platform? How has your views of it changed over the years, if at all?

It was really love at first sight. I had just moved to Hong Kong (for CNN) when IG came out. I was taking all these images with my iPhone 4 and wanted to share them with friends and family back home. Instagram was the perfect platform to do that. 

After a few months I confounded a local Instagram community and organized the first ever meet up in Hong Kong and started hosting regularly photo walks. 

Later I started beta testing for the Instagram developers and became friends with members of the instagram community team - which led to being added to the Suggested User List and eventually helped me land a job at Instagram as communications manager - which I did for about a year before leaving to pursue photography full time. So yeah, Instagram was a life-changing event for me. 



Where in the world are you and what's next for you? 

I'm currently driving east for a commercial project shooting a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Up next is an honest to goodness vacation - a trip to the Lofoten Islands in Norway and a short visit to Stockholm. So stoked about it.
See the full series from Tyson