My name is Elaine Brière. I am a documentary photographer and filmmaker. My love of photography began in l968 when I picked up a photography book at the University of British Columbia bookstore, where I was a student at the time, called The Family of Man. I was riveted and couldn’t stop looking at the stunning black and white photographs and marveling at the way that they caught life mid-stream. I too, wanted to be a photographer. One of the greatest satisfactions of my photography career was that many years later, one of my photographs was included in 1979 sequel The Family of Women. After a short stint at the UBC camera club learning the basics, I dropped out of university and travelled to the Yukon where I got a job as photographer for the Yukon Daily News.
While documentary photography is my first love, documentary film is my second. From time to time, I take long breaks from photography to do film. Currently I am making a film about Haiti, the poorest but bravest country in the western hemisphere; the country that most challenges the belief we have of ourselves as the ‘good Canadians.’ I hope to have it out by the spring of 2016.
Dangerous Hope is a film on Haiti’s Struggle for democracy. Currently, I am seeking funding to finish this project I started in 2009 that speaks the truth behind the coup d’état in 2004.
Click to learn more about the project.
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At this small newspaper, with a staff of five multi-taskers, I was required to photograph everything from dogsled races to the Gaslight Follies to John Diefenbaker. Amazingly we put out a paper every other day without the aid of the internet and digital photography. I printed every photograph in the darkroom. Every finished page was burned onto a metal plate, the paper was printed and collated on site and delivered around town by our intrepid crew of mostly native paperboys and girls who could handle the below zero weather that the task required.
All the black and white photographs on this site are silver bromide prints on paper taken with my Leica, my Nikon or Pentax cameras. Sadly, I was forced, because of space, and the unavoidability of the digital age, to pack up my darkroom this winter. But I hope to set it up again one day. All my new work is digital and that’s OK, but I miss the intimacy and physical handling of the print that I used to experience in the darkroom.