Auditorium with Bryce Lowe-White

 

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What came first for you, Stills or Motion?


I guess it depends on how you look at it. I definitely toyed around with video first when I was really young but when I was 15 my dad came home with a DSLR he bought from a friend. I remember finding it in his closet and the thing had a halo around it when I opened up the bag. The first thing I thought was that this is what the pros use to shoot surfing. 3 frames a second!! From there I put down the handycam and my passion for stills began. After being surrounded by surfing and stacks of surf magazines my whole life it was natural to me to shoot surfing just for fun. Something clicked when I was about to graduate from high school that made me realize there were photographers out there following the surf world and making a living from it. From that moment I put myself on a path to forgoe college and pursue surf photography full time after high school.

 

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How did you get started into filmmaking? How old were you when you picked up the camera?

Ya like I said I toyed around with it really early in my life. When I was around 9-10 years old, my brother was 12 and just started surfing. I was addicted to using the home video camera to film his sessions after school with his friends. I really wasn¹t very comfortable in the surf yet but using the camera was a way I could get to the beach and hang with him and his friends. I seriously idolized them. I thought surfing was the coolest thing in the world and to show them the footage afterwords was the greatest reward. Through high school I upgraded to a little Canon video camera and started filming my friends during surf P.E. and started playing around with editing and making a surf video which was really fun and rewarding in the same way. I put video aside to learn still  photography until I went on this crazy boat trip through the Andaman Islands when I was 18. Mark Arico, surfer/producer who organized the trip, hired me to shoot photos but also threw a video camera in my hand along the way. When we got back he bought a full Final Cut suite for me to edit a film with. I dove right in, taught myself FCP, and the spark reignited. When DSLR’s came out with video and I started messing around with video a lot more. On a whim, I took an internship with FUEL TV, had some great mentors, and ended up being hired to edit commercial spots for them. I ended up learning a lot about editing, motion graphics, music/audio, and so much I never knew about post production. They really taught me a great foundation of skills that I still use today.


Growing up in LA, how much have your surroundings influence your work?

I grew up outside of the city in a small town called Rancho Palos Verdes. You could call it more of a country vibe than what people typically think of when they think of Los Angeles. I really embraced the area growing up surfing and exploring all the natural open spaces we have. Once I picked up a camera it was really inspiring to be around such a scenic place and I think it influenced my creativity a lot.

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How would you describe your filmmaking style? What are you trying to convey to the viewers?


I really enjoy documentary style film making. I love straight surf action too but telling a genuine story is what I really connect with. I like the challenge of getting to know someone while working on a project. Maybe I only have a day or 2 to shoot with a person but I really try to learn a lot about them and their style. I take what I observe and I want that come through in the edit as authentic as possible. That is what I strive for most. Audience is important but above all I want to be sure the subject connects with the film more than anything. Video is the most revealing medium there is so its really important to tell their story in the right way.

Having shot some of the most progressive surfers on the planet, i.e. Yadin, Alex Gray, etc., where do you see the future of surfing going? What do you think we will start seeing in your cinematography in the future?


I’d like to see the future of surfing follow in the footsteps of John John. I got to witness what I would call a super session at Haleiwa in January. It was double overhead plus and he was surfing it like Lowers. Every wave he stood up on was a clip. His character along with his surfing is what the kids should be looking up to. I like the guys who are pushing the whole small wave air game too but its pretty one dimensional after a while. You can’t deny John John is insane in big perfect waves and small shitty waves. With filmmaking I’d like to work with the top pros but honestly if I’m inspired to tell a rad story I’d choose that over shooting progressive action most days. I typically want to work on projects with a bit more depth than just surf action. Ive been working on The Now series for Surfer and have been really enjoying telling stories of these surf inspired artists and shapers. Sure they surf but they also do all this other cool shit. Those guys are who really inspire me to pick up the camera and start telling a story.

 



On the photography side of things, what do you look for most in a still photograph?


I feel like I’ve really refined what I enjoy most about shooting photos lately and it comes down to trying to get that perfect lineup shot. Good composition to set the scene, nice light, and a perfect wave is what gets me more stoked than anything. I got my favorite lineup photo of my life at Malibu last August during Hurricane Marie and the response I’ve gotten to it is unlike any other photo I’ve taken. People have contacted me left and right about how much they connect with the photo. Whether they were out there that day or took the time to share a story with me from the 70’s its been such a cool experience to have taken that image and share it with the world.

 

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Your interests are diverse by nature.. what else are you working on?


Im working full time at Surfer helping with photo editing and working to beef up the video program there. The other half of my time, mostly nights and early mornings, is working on freelance projects and a company Im trying to get off the ground with my friend called Kick & Push. Its basically an action sports crowdfunding platform where artists can design skateboards and have them funded by the community. We are starting with skateboards but the overall vision is much bigger. Its been a lot of work but also a lot of fun working for Surfer and starting a side project from scratch that I can work on my own time.
What inspired Kick and Push?
Kick & Push was inspired by the idea that an artist should have control of his/her own work and the products that showcase that work. We definitely pulled inspiration from companies like Threadless and Kickstarter but we are applying it to the action sports space. Skateboard graphics have played a huge part in skate culture since the beginning but they way its done remains the same. Using technology we want to empower the artist so that they are seen as the creator behind a rad skate deck and as the brand behind it K&P just helps make it happen.


Whats next for Bryce Lowe-White?


Im working on a film for the REDirect Surf film competition so that has been a main priority. RED gave 12 filmmakers cameras for the past 3 months and I just handed back the camera last week. Now we have about a month to edit. My story is based on my friend Nic Vaughan who cracked into the big wave scene after dropping a job opportunity at Morgan Stanley right out of college. We pulled off a 10 day trip to Spain with Twiggy and toured the whole country. Then shot some cool staged stuff back here in California. You’ll have to wait till June to check it out but its going to be sick to see what all the filmmakers created.

 

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For more from Bryce:

http://www.brycelowewhite.com/

Instagram @bryce_lowe_white

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