Bruce Usher grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. In the summer of 1959 / 60 he started surfing and his father built a dark room under the house, showed him how to process and print black and white film.
Bruce graduated from a Box Brownie to borrowing his father’s 35mm Miranda SLR with no metering and a Tamron Twin Tele lens. February 1964, Bruce bought a Komura 400 mm telephoto lens with his first few months’ pay. Six months later he had five black and white photos and 250 words published in the August 1964 issue of Surfing World. Subsequent feature articles and photos were published in Surfing World until the end of the decade.
In 1969 Influenced by the bent English humour of the Monty Python team, Bruce wrote Number Seventeen Honeysuckle Street, Avoca Beach that John Witzig published in Surf International and that included his first published portrait. Then followed, Beware of Large Moulded Plastic Imitations, published in the October 1970 issue of Surfing World.
Photographically Bruce was beginning to look beyond surfing action and took a few portraits although only several stand out. Technically his negatives were either over or under developed. Bruce used the occasional colour negative film and dabbled with an old twin lens Mamiya and later started taking more abstract black and white images. 1971, along with Russel and Phil Sheppard started 16mm filming for: Our Day in The Sun, narrated by Midget Farrelly. That was cut into a 25 Minute short that premiered at a Surf Film Festival at Sydney. Early 1972, Russell, Phil and Bruce commenced work on the feature length film: A Winters Tale, shot in New Zealand, South Africa, Hawaii and Australia that premiered in February 1974.
October 1974, again contributed to Surfing World Magazine for several years but this time Bruce Channon who Bruce had written about a decade earlier was the editor. Towards the end of the seventies Bruce was using a Leicaflex, handheld with a 180mm lens to shoot black and white surfing action and was establishing himself as a commercial photographer.
Bruce Channon started editing Australian Long Boarding in 2002 and Bruce again continued his relationship with him. Contributing photography occasionally but predominately writing profiles of surfing community characters. Bruce has been a commercial photographer since the mid seventies and also writes for two photography magazines.
In 2021 Bruce Usher released his collectable photographic book Ocean, Tree, Street and you can get a copy here.
below: young Bruce Usher with his longboard.