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Blue Ocean Life Nation Interview Series: Yves Bright

by Michael Coughlin |

Yves Bright is a Los Angeles-based actor, pro surfer, and photographer specializing in editorial, commercial, lifestyle, and fine art imagery. His work has been commissioned and published in a wide range of print and digital formats for an extensive roster of clients. He has collaborated closely with art directors and publicists on behalf of on their clients, including designers, skincare/cosmetic brands, actors, models, authors, athletes, and musicians to create images that complement their brands.

Yves Bright Blue Ocean Life interview

Thank you for sharing your story with us. What is your professional background? How did you end up with this career?

I am a professional Photographer, Actor, and Surfer. So I guess I’ll share the origin stories for each of these three simultaneous careers. First, surfing. It all started on the eve of my ninth birthday at the Hermosa Beach Pier with my family. It was a typical beautiful California summer day at the beach. I was playing in the surf with my two older brothers, jumped on a board and caught a wave and instinctively stood up as if I had done it a million times before. That was the day surfing chose me. That event was a prelude to the direction my life was heading. I quickly fell into a lifelong love affair with the ocean and surfing.  

Acting was a childhood dream which started off with me as a young kid who wanted the spotlight on him at all times. After my surfing garnered the spotlight  throughout my early twenties, I was approached at a restaurant bar by a well-known talent agent who asked if I had an interest in acting. That night was the beginning of another lifelong love affair. After some rigorous acting training, I started to book TV shows, commercials, and films. I have been very fortunate to have forged a successful acting career, against all odds and with the help of many. 

The one acting job that sticks out the most is a feature film I shot in Puerto Rico. That is where I began my life-long love affair with photography. I learned there that being a photographer is not just about picking up a camera and pointing it in a direction before snapping a picture. Photography has become an ongoing journey through life, creating and capturing moments which make for amazing memories and telling vivid stories. When I look through the view finder of my camera, I see the world in a frame which is filled with energy and life. I see the darkness in light and the light in darkness. Photography has impacted me in countless beautiful ways and continues to inspire me to see the world in different ways every time I look through the lens.  

How did you begin your remote work journey? 

The world is a beautiful place. There is beauty in everything - and everything in beauty, but we have to step outside of our homes to see it all. If we don’t step out of our comfort zone and make a point to see it, we will never know what is out there. I am fortunate that my surfing career has taken me around the world to the most incredible remote beaches. My acting career has taken me from one studio to another, from one location to another, and from one on-set culture to another. My photography would become very stagnant if I only photographed in one environment, such as a studio. Therefore, it is very important, to me, to always be on the move and capture beauty everywhere I go. 

Where do you see yourself in the next year?  

I see myself standing inside a very crowded and gleeful space filled with framed pictures on walls. Pictures taken by me exhibited in a gallery. Images which reflect life in the simplest ways, yet are rich and complex in allegory. Pictures which evoke emotion and inspire creativity. Pictures which captivate the viewer’s soul and allows them to live vicariously through them. I also see myself shooting major campaigns for a company which has me traveling to beautiful landscapes to capture those images. In a year, I see myself accepting jobs which inspire me to find new ways to capture beauty in ways we have never seen before.  

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I believe it is very important to envision, prepare for, and manifest the future. I also believe in the importance of short and long-term goals. Having said that, it is also most import to me that I never fail to fully see and experience what is directly in front of me in the moment. It is too easy to miss the NOW if I am too preoccupied with the Past and/or Future. This is my journey and I hoping my journey will take me to places I have dreamt of in the past and will surpass my dreams in the future.

What tips do you have for others who are working remotely? 

Working remotely is an opportunity to live life to the fullest. Enjoy the travels. Let go of fear. Live in the moment. Keep your body moving. Drink lots of water because our bodies work best when they are hydrated. Always look around. Smell the roses. Taste the foods. Meet people. Let go of the things we cannot control. Most of all, always believe in silver linings. They are everywhere.  


What is your self-care routine and how do you find time to integrate it into your daily life?

I am very active, which I consider a big part of self-care. I wake up before the sun comes up and I try start my days in the ocean, surfing and watching the sunrise. I try to eat healthy, which is more challenging that it should be. It is unfortunate we live in a world where stores around every corner are filled with poison disguised as food. It is possible to eat healthy, but it takes increasingly more effort. I drink lots of water. I stretch in the mornings and before bed. I try to get to bed early and give my body enough sleep. An Epsom salt bath a couple hours before bed, followed by a couple glasses of water, really helps the body recover after a long day. I also try to stay away from alcohol. Absolutely no drugs of any kind. I even try to stay away from any forms of medication. It’s great to have access to life-saving medications at our fingertips, especially if we need them, but I always do my best to refrain from using them unless necessary, and always look for a homeopathic alternative first. I am not a doctor, and am not giving medical advice,…just sharing my POV.

Putting yourself first is important to your overall wellness. Given this, what are your best holistic wellness tips? 

It is very important to manage our stress and anxiety, which can sometimes feel all-consuming. Focusing on the positives, the solutions, is far more important that focusing on the problems. Practicing gratitude always reduces my anxiety.  Prevention is always best, but we all get sick eventually. Water (have I mentioned that enough?) is essential. I have found great results from cayenne pepper, oregano oil, turmeric, lemon and ginger - all great ingredients in my elixirs. I am also a big fan of organic fruits. Blueberries, apples, bananas, and oranges are usually at the top of my list. I usually eat a handful or two of nuts as a snack. 

What was the toughest challenge you faced during your career?

I see “challenge” as something inspiring. Dealing with failures and victories are both challenging. I am inspired by what some would consider ‘failure’ because that is where the lessons come from. I am inspired by the victories because that is where confidence comes from. I stay away from allowing EGO to play any part in my decision making because that is where false inspiration comes from. My toughest lesson in life taught me to live life in the present. Everything in life is a challenge. Everything happens for a reason, so I do my best to embrace and move past everything life throws my way.  

How did you get through that period? What advice for people dealing with similar difficulties?

I was fortunate enough to realize I allowed myself to get caught up in the problem…as most of us do. The problem consumed me, and I realized I needed to take a step away from it and look at the bigger picture. I learned I can find the solutions in problems when I look for them. I learned silver linings do not show themselves immediately. I learned I am what I put my attention to, so I focus most of my attention to the positives. Like the popular quote goes, ‘Energy flows where attention goes.’ I really believe what doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. The brightest light shines in complete darkness and the heart does not break, but it grows to make room for more. The voids we feel in life are not actually voids but areas waiting for us to fill them. Our job is not to cry about spilt milk, but rather to clean it up quickly and learn how to carry the glass without spilling it again. Eventually, we become masters of running marathons while carrying full glasses of milk on our heads. 

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Mental health and feeling good are crucial to maximizing performance. How do you prioritize your mental health? 

Everyone needs a place that helps them feel at peace and gives them a break from the daily grind. I am so grateful for surfing because it has given me a great relationship with the ocean. I believe the ocean is a healing place. I do believe my surfing has taught me to practice focus in the present moment because it demands so much directional focus. Meditation is a great tool, as well. I see surfing as a form of meditation. I know in order for me to be in a good mental place, I need to be creative. This is a priority for me. I can feel my mental health shift when I am sitting too long in front of my phone or computer.    

In order to function at an optimal level, we have to remove all obstacles which can side-track us. I know I can multi-task but I will never be as effective as I am when I can completely focused on one task. 

Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work post-pandemic?

I have been quite fortunate that surfing, acting and photography have always kept me out of an office environment for any length of time but the pandemic did create some speed bumps in my work flow. People are always my favorite photographic subjects, and the pandemic created a time when people became very fearful to step outside of their homes and be in contact with others. The pandemic gave me the opportunity to capture nature and landscapes, which are normally filled with people, in a way they have never been seen before. 

As an actor, a decade ago I always auditioned in-person at a casting office.  During the pandemic, auditions were all virtual. I have not yet seen that trend revert back, and in-person auditions are still outnumbered by virtual ones. Most of my commercial photographic clients used to request meeting at their offices, often attended by an entire creative team all in one conference room. Now, that conference room is via Zoom, with team members scattered across the globe. I don’t foresee that pendulum swinging back to in-person soon. Businesses still seem to be trying to find a balance between remote and in-person working.

If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be and why?  

I am not sure this One qualifies as a person but I would definitely want to have a lunch with God. Is the point of having lunch with a person to ask questions or is it to just be in the presence of that person? I have so many questions but I am not sure I would ask any. I would be more curious as to what God might say without the ask of a question. 

If you could inspire a movement, what would it be and why? 

I would definitely say it would be a movement to promote each other as a positive human race. I am baffled that in 2022, we still go to war. We still allow governments to divide us. We still allow governments to rule the people rather than work for the people to promote healthy physical and mental health. There is far too much division in the world. There is far too much class separation. There are far too many billionaires while so many people are starving. That is absurd. We need to start looking at each other as brothers and sisters. We can still acknowledge each other’s culture or race or gender but always with complete appreciation. We have been put on this earth to appreciate each other and uplift each other. We need to start protecting each other and protecting our world. There is no excuse why it is not possible.  

Please list your social media handles so we can tag you. 

IG: (surfing/acting/personal) @yvesbright

IG: (editorial photography) Photos_x_yves

Twitter: @yvesbright

Facebook: @yvesbright

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