A Natural Connection
An Interview with Brian Cyr
by Alyssa Laube
About: Brian Cyr is an award-winning photographer with a passion for nature and outdoor adventure. By capturing the stunning beauty of the West Coast, he hopes to inspire in us an awe for our planet and a motivation to be part of its preservation. Brian also loves to experiment with his camera to encourage viewers to pause and look more closely at the beauty of their natural surroundings; his work is a celebration of our interconnectedness with everything that is around us. To see more about Brian and his work, go to:
You were raised in Ontario, but moved to the West Coast for your photography.
What is it about the coast, and Vancouver, that drew you?
I came here to find work as a stills photographer in the film industry. However, it was the raw beauty of the West Coast that moved me, literally and figuratively. I had flown in looking for work and was in Tofino on a weekend trip. Standing on a headland in Pacific Rim Park in January with waves crashing around me, I experienced
the power of nature in a way I’ve never experienced before. One month afterwards in Toronto, I packed my Toyota with my gear and whatever else I could fit into it, and drove out West. I arrived in Vancouver three days and two speeding tickets later. With so many other wondrous places in our province, it can easily take a lifetime to explore and photograph them all.
What did each job teach you about being a photographer?
My film work taught me to see and understand people better. It taught me about my connection with others. My photography of nature has taught me more about myself and my spiritual connection to the planet and universe. Nature is a place where the ego can be lost or humbled, at very least.
What is “Camera Painting” and how did you first begin to practice it?
Working with slide film in the early years, my approach had been very traditional. The time and cost of processing slide film had constricted my ability to experiment. When I finally made the switch to digital, it became easier to continue work on my earlier projects. This was the time when I developed “camera painting”, which is a technique I continue to experiment with.The camera is moved while shooting long exposures, manipulating time and movement to create painterly images.
What was it like to win the Focus On Your World competition and be affiliated with the United Nations Environment Program?
Focus On Your World was my very first photography competition. It drew 33,000 entries from 144 countries! There were only four North American winners and I was one of them, winning a bronze. I was blown away. The show travelled to 100 cities around the world, and its final stop was at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where they flew in the winners for the opening gala. It was amazing to see my photograph amongst all of the incredible work that showed both the beauty of nature and the human impact on it. It was and still is the highlight of my career.
Your earliest work revolves around the relationship between humans and nature. What about this relationship were you trying to convey?
In today’s world, we have lost touch with that spirituality and the search for a deeper connection to something larger than ourselves. We fail to look at the beauty that is right here around us. What I’m trying to convey through my work is our interconnectedness and the beauty of it. Every drop of water, every moment in time, and every creature, great and small, are connected to each other and everything else in the universe. One without the other is just a lesser whole.
What is your goal as a photographer?
My goal as a photographer is for my career to reach a point where it can allow me to travel the world and live my passion, which would be to do more photography! I want to share my work with those who appreciate the uniqueness of our planet. I want my work to evoke emotions strong enough to motivate us to make the preservation of our planet paramount.
What do you believe sets you apart from other photographers?
The uniqueness of my photography is in my experimentation with the interplay of
time and movement, physical and illusory, to create painterly images.
For more information about Brian’s work, please visit http://www.brianccyr.com/