Kurt Cuffy (Canadian Touring Photographer)


At 23, I had finished four years of traveling all over Ontario playing music, working retail jobs I never cared about. I was stuck in limbo, not being able to afford what I wanted to do, which was make videos. So while working a 8:30 am to 8 pm at a computer store (which wasn’t chill!), I would sneak in my research on cameras and ask my buddy who happened to be a wedding photographer a ton of questions—until one day, I was holding my tax return planning out how to grab my first camera which was my Canon Mark II.

After which, I was amped and ready to enter the world of…? What I thought would have been video, but the jobs I was “promised” didn’t pan out. So instead I found myself shooting my first show, which happened to be a house show with The World Is A Beautiful Place and Dads.

That night was crazy. I just remember feeling a ton of pressure from my local friends, who had known me as the singer of a band for many years, all of a sudden shoving a camera in their face. But knowing about the stress of what everyone thought definitely pushed me to not be just another photographer and learn my shit! I ended up meeting Carly Hoskins who was touring with Dads at the time and also hanging out with an old friend Stephanie Mill, who both happened to be photographers. One was doing what I wanted, and the other I’d looked up to for quite sometime.

Fast forward eight months. I got a phone call from Ange from Abandon All Ships to head out with them on what turned out being their last US headliner. The tour was 55 days: it was my first tour, but I was ready for the challenge.

Midway through tour I remember being so happy and always smiley around the band. One day I remember Ange pulling me aside and saying, “This music scene you love so much, ain’t all smiles. They don’t care and it will drive you insane.” Not thinking much, I finished the run and continued on with my career.

Two years after that I was touring the UK/EU for the first time and that’s when the hard knocks started hitting in. On my way over, I spent all my money on a plane ticket because well, I was young and knew it would pay off.

So I went. Instantly almost deported by TSA. France to London, almost deported again. I’m shaken and losing money, miles away from home. Canadian money doesn’t go that far in most places especially across the pond. At that point I start getting in my head for the first time ever: Why do I do this? How long can I keep this up? What should I eat today? Better yet, what can I afford to eat? All of this stuff, on all of our drives. You can also tell some of the guys in our crew were going through the same, but the best way to deal with the thoughts is to laugh it off and just remember you have each other.

On my way home from the most stressful twelve days of my life, I was randomly searched by TSA and had my work laptop I just bought confiscated with no hopes of getting it back. I got home knowing I had no way to bounce back. I just shut myself in for over a month without touching my camera. Finally, I got an offer to shoot PVRIS’ first time in Toronto with Mayday Parade where I got a great feel for it again and got back on track in time for the Structures farewell tour in December of 2015.

2016 held much of the same, with starting the year out on the AP tour for 56 days and finishing the year with I the Mighty and Beartooth for 121 days in a row—210 total for the year. It was stressful and still is, except there’s way less crying on hotel floors as my change falls out of my pockets or wanting to be anywhere but Europe while on my second bus tour. I at least know where I want to go with this in life. I also know I’ll never do anything I don’t like and I’ll do things my way for as long as I can—or until I own three Apple watches on each wrist. I have a very solid team of best friends and label I work with right now, and it think it’s safe to say we keep each other sane. Here’s to the future and clear thoughts!