Mon | Oct 14, 2019

Shoot the ‘Cuff’ with BMC Photography

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2019 | 12:08 AMKrysta Anderson - Gleaner Writer
The man behind the lens of BMC Photography, Brian Cuff
The man behind the lens of BMC Photography, Brian Cuff
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“From I was younger, I heard the saying, ‘a picture tells a thousand words’, and I love how photos can be a story all by themselves. I love how taking a picture can immortalise an event, a person, or a situation. And I just love capturing beautiful moments, which is the rationale behind my tagline, ‘Beautiful Moments Captured’ (BMC) Photography.”

Brian Cuff got his clicking start back in high school, when he used to tag along with his photographer friend to events like weddings. He was on the lookout for all the details and began asking questions. He also had an inquiring mind among his cousins who were also in the field, so that he could try to see the art form through their lens. He remembered his friend telling him that he had an eye for photography, and he didn’t take that constructive critique lightly; he made it an opportunity to learn more and live out in pragmatic passion.

Sealing his fate, he received a Polaroid camera during his secondary education and was later introduced to his first film camera, that he purchased while vacationing in the United States.

“For me, photography was born out of a sense of curiosity. It was about liking what I was seeing and wanting to be a part of it,” he told Beyond the Lens.

Pursuing the photography profession, was solely based on persuasion. Many people saw his work and liked it, but the experience was all a hobby to him – relaxing, calming, and therapeutic. But his then girlfriend (now wife) bought him a camera. She took him seriously, so he decided to follow suit. That was the first step in channelling his flashing fate.

His first foray into the profession actually took place at his brother’s wedding.

“I was the best man at his wedding, but the photographer scheduled to provide coverage for the occasion didn’t show up. I took his camera and filled in and got to work. I would step out, take the photo, and step back into the bridal party. That routine continued with every speech and special moment. So I was really doubling up. I was happy to be there for him, in both capacities.”

When he gave his brother the film and he printed the pictures and he put out his album, everyone was pleased, affirming that he should’ve been the photographer all along.

He still keeps passion at the heart of his artistic expression. However, making that transition into a thriving profession, posed its fair share of challenges when he started receiving payment for what he loved. He charged little or nothing for his services, because he was honoured and humbled when people asked him to take their photos or attend their weddings for work.

Five to seven years later, he hasn’t looked back.

Specialising in lifestyle photography, the father of two daughters, finds great joy in maternity shoots, witnessing and capturing the unique interaction between the mother, parents, other siblings, and the unborn child. He loves events and portraits – the stories that people tell are important and touching, and these, he says, can be captured in an image.

“I also do weddings. Wedding photography is one of the most complicated genres, so it is the most nerve wracking.”

He does a bit of landscape, while dabbling in commercial and product photography. The journey has taught this entrepreneur a lot about marketing and branding. He learned as well, how to be more creative and unique in what he stands for and establishing who he is.

“There are many photographers each with their own imprint,” he added.

Cuff currently works as an adjunct lecturer at the Northern Caribbean University, where he teaches television production courses. He also recently started lecturing in principles of photography and has embarked on a journey of production with the university’s lab.

How does he balance his days with photography?

According to him, you just have to know what you want and what is priority. With a nine-to-five and a passion, he confessed, both are priority. How you invest in each (with time and effort) must be weighed.

“For me, my nine-to-five is demanding and requires more time and energy. My passion doesn’t get that much time, but I put plans in place to achieve greater goals, step by step as an entrepreneur. You have to give to Caesar what is due to Caesar. Your nine-to-five shouldn’t suffer and neither should your passion ... it’s all about timing and strategic planning. I have a greater appreciation for full time entrepreneurs who have no nine-to-five and also for those who have a nine-to-five and are still active as a full time photographer,” he disclosed.

Photographing local gospel artiste Kevin Downswell, has been a testament to his growth and has been his most memorable client to date. Additionally, every wedding is worth treasuring, because it is one of the happiest days of a couples’ lives.

With technology, he highlighted that coming from film, a photographer has to be selective with shots. More creativity and thought are involved in the process before pressing the shutter. The film era allowed him some leeway to just capture a myriad of moments, but I don’t have the barrage of pics to go through in post production, so that helps with my turnaround time.

“But a plus is that you don’t just produce what you captured in post production. You can alter that image in so many ways, it’s almost unbelievable. I’m in awe sometimes.”

A bit stubborn at first to venture into Photoshop and Lightroom, he realised its merit and ran with it.

His advice to aspiring photographers who aren’t sure where to begin, is to just capture content.

“Use your phone if you have to, they’re basically cameras. But use your eyes first. I believe that if you capture the image in your head, then when you see it through the lens, you will need less post production. See the natural beauty in things, view things differently, colours, vibrance, dynamics of emotions, and then capture them, putting your own spin and style to it.”

Persons can see Cuff’s work on IG @bmcphotographyja and can email him at bmcphotographyja@gmail.com.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com