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Snapshot of a photographer

June 19, 2002

Karen S. Kim

When Harvey Branman was just a tyke taking silly pictures of his

brother dressed up in his father's clothes, he never thought that one

day he'd be making a living as a photographer. But his photo studio,

Photography as an Art, is entering its 10th year as a successful

business in Burbank.

The business specializes in portraits, which makes up 70% of

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Branman's work.

"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

Burbank."

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.

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