"I think they're the most meaningful," Branman said Tuesday. "When
you think about the most valuable thing to a person other than their
family's health and well-being, when your house is burning down,
what's the first thing they're going to grab? Old photos."
Branman, 59, won his first photography award in 1977 at the Malibu
Art Festival. But it would take another 15 years before the Sun
Valley resident would make a career of his hobby.
Instead, Branman spent 30 years working in the wholesale and
retail produce and meat industry in the San Fernando Valley. But he
never lost his love of photography and continued to carry around a
camera whenever he could.
He received half off of his children's tuition to Pinecrest
Elementary School in Woodland Hills for shooting snapshots on the
playground and in the classrooms in the late 1970s and served as a
wedding photographer for a friend who couldn't afford a professional
one in the early 1980s.
But when his neighbor and barber told him she was selling her shop
on San Fernando Boulevard, Branman decided to take the plunge and
take photos full-time.
"I had been thinking about making a change, and I thought this
space would be perfect," Branman said.
For two years, Branman continued to run his produce and meat
business while trying to establish his photography business. Nine
years later, Branman calls himself the "unofficial photographer for
Branman shoots pictures for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, city,
Burbank Boys and Girls Club and Burbank Fire Department for free.
His business is successful, with customers coming back year after
year, he said.
And though his hobby became his profession, Branman said he hasn't
lost his love of the art.