The flare thing started by accident a few years ago. I felt the heat of the sun in my eyes when I looked at the picture. I wanted to squint at the photo, maybe to see more, maybe to avoid that sun in the background. It seemed that if I could make images where I actually felt the light, not just saw it, that would be a good thing.
I agree... flare is one of the things we can introduce into a photograph and have the viewer understand exactly what is going on. They can almost 'feel' the light and its effect.