Friday, August 26, 2011

Remembering Walt Browarny

Like many in the cattle industry, Angus breeders are deeply saddened by the loss of renowned livestock photographer Walt Browarny.

I did not grow up in the business and only met Walt a few years ago. He was not a large man but he made a big impression. The first picture that I purchased from Browarny Photographics is posted here. It remains a favourite among our staff.

My first impression of Walt was that he was a quiet man with an incredible amount of knowledge. It was fascinating for me, a newbie to the industry, to listen to him reminisce with then CEO Doug Fee. They had great stories about stubborn cattle and the lengths Walt sometimes had to go to in order to get a photo. When I saw Walt in action some time later, I realized that he wasn't quiet all the time. Walt was great at giving orders. He had a way of making everyone jump to obey him--cattle included.

Our commercial fieldman, Brian Good, grew up in the cattle business. He remembers Walt as the guy who first gave meaning to livestock photography. "In the days when exotic cattle first came to Canada," remembers Brian, "Walt took a lot of pictures for the sale catalogues. It was a new way of marketing cattle." He describes Walt as "as much of a marketer as he was a photographer."

CEO Rob Smith also grew up in the cattle business and with Walt's photography. "My family (Tracy, Brody, Tyson and I) grew up in Walt's pictures for over 30 years," Rob says. "He documented the passing of our Smith/Gardner family time in a most meaningful way. His name adorns the walls of our homes and is a constant daily reminder to his place in the seedstock sector and agriculture industry as well as our family business. His fair approach to all breeds and all people (and, as I would learn as I became an adult, all species and events) was the gold standard. We have truly lost a giant."

Walt was a well respected livestock photographer and a legend in the industry. It's been said that Walt never missed an industry event. The American Angus Association profiled to him in their popular I Am Angus television series

On behalf of Canada's Angus breeders, we offer our sincerest condolences to Walt's wife Marie, his daughter Shannon, his son Allan, daughter-in-law Roxana and grandchildren Corbin and Sophia.

Posted by Tina Zakowsky