From the very first constructive thoughts about what Photographers House should look like there has been a thought to seek after a select group of photographers who pursue their craft either working for non-profit organizations or donating valuable time to help out in it’s cause. We look at this as a tithe to help photographers and organizations that would benefit from the exposure. The first photographer that fits our self-imposed tithe is Bryce Alan Flurie, a full-time photographer for Cure.
Cure is a non-profit organization that operates charitable hospitals and programs in 29 countries worldwide where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity. The ” . . .children they serve have conditions like clubfoot, bowed legs, cleft lips, untreated burns, and hydrocephalus. Without treatment, they will have little hope for a future. Many will die from their condition.”
It was not hard finding our first photographer to join us in our Humanitarian room as I have known Bryce for nearly 20 years. This interview will also not be the first work of his I have published. In the late ninties I was editor and publisher for a tri-quarterly poetry journal and had the pleasure of publishing some of his poems. Then I published a chapbook of his poems where we both may have learned some important things about book publishing. Fortunately he is a gracious man. Below is my interview with Bryce Alan Flurie.
To see the photographs from Bryce Alan Flurie click here
PH Can you give us some background about yourself and when did you get into photography?
BAF After leaving music school I stumbled into a job doing corporate AV work. A small part of that was shooting video. I hated it. Something eventually clicked that I could use this medium to tell stories. This was around the time digital started getting a foothold in the industry so I tried to do some photography as well. That led to getting proper training and schooling along with taking every training class I could get my boss to approve for still photography. My wife had a darkroom and took a class in college, but I don’t think I ever realized the storytelling potential in a still image. Boy, have I made up for lost time.
PH What’s integral to your work as a photographer?
BAF Story. If there is no story it is just a cool picture. Don’t get me wrong, I love cool pictures. But I try to dig deeper. You can’t get it all the time, but the excavation of story is a thrilling process for me.
PH What has been a seminal experience?
BAF Standing in a Dominican barrio during an interview with a mother and getting one or two word answers to my questions while simultaneously realizing i have no idea what I’m doing. Humbling. Terrifying. It made me realize as an artist you need to work on your people skills, especially cross culturally as much as you do your artistic medium.
PH What’s your scariest experience?
BAF Haiti after the earthquake. Never hugged my kids so much getting back from a shoot. Cairo as the Arab spring was winding down was a little dicey. I’m blessed to work with really astute people who we can trust to keep us out of harm’s way. A minor riot broke out in Malawi when they thought I was exploiting a disabled beggar when I was photographing him. That took some explaining…
PH What’s your most embarrassing moment?
BAF Not sure if was exactly embarrassing, but I ended up becoming a patient in one of our hospitals a couple years ago. I picked up a bacterial infection in India and ended up as a patient in our hospital in the UAE. The nurse walked in as I was lying in bed, soaked with sweat after my fever had started to break, hair matted, sand caked in my beard, dirty hiking boots and all… he took one look at me and said, “You look like you go on lots of adventures.” That one quote was almost worth the hospital stay!
PH What memorable responses have you had to your work?
BAF My work doesn’t hang in galleries, but we do have a number of larger prints in CURE’s home office. My favorite response isn’t “What a beautiful photo”, which of course is what I”m striving for, but, “I’d love to hear her story.”
PH What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
BAF Live an artful life and good art will flow out of it. When you put your eggs on your plate in the morning. Make it look beautiful. Think about composition. Every art form has something to inform every other art form.
PH What besides photography are you interested in?
BAF I’ve been a musician since I was a kid and studied songwriting in college. I couldn’t figure out how to support a family with music. I could pay some bills, but never all of them.
I still play in a great band called Case 150, and I have a solo album of my songs coming out this Spring called “Fallowtown.
PH Is there anything I did not ask about which you would like to share with us?
BAF I always ask this question at the end of every interview… Now I know why some people look so stumped when I ask it!
(ed note: Bryce, in his position with Cure Intl’, does some interviews as well as photography)
BAF It is a rare gift to make a living as an artist. Even on the frustrating days I don’t ever take it for granted. Whenever a young photographer/ musician/ poet/ visual artist/ songwriter comes to me and asks my advice on becoming an artist I always point them to Rilke’s “Letters To A Young Poet”. Just insert your chosen medium whenever he mentions poetry in the book and that is the best artistic advice ever put on paper.
To see the photographs from Bryce Alan Flurie click here
ed note: to find out more about Cure click here.