Gary Brown studied psychology and then journalistic and art photography at the University of Nebraska. But his calling was as an artist; a photographer.
It is disingenuous to try to describe Gary's life without images or photographs, as Gary's true love was photography. In cities around the globe, Gary Brown would be seen with his trusted Canon camera. After years of hours in dark rooms developing his great black and white photos, when the Internet and digital technology boomed, he fully embraced it with a passion. He became prolific on social media as well with three Facebook accounts and an Instagram account and his wonderful homepage:
Perhaps the only observation more remarkable than his amazing photos and the stories of his travels was the vast number of friends noted by his thousands of friends and followers. Gary loved fashion and travel and was a staple of Miami's annual Swimweek and Art Basel art festival. He loved to develop new up-and-coming fashion models and to help them to develop their portfolio "book". He worked with modeling agencies and clients from the Midwest in Omaha, Kansas City, Ohio, and Chicago and then many agencies and clients in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. His clients included Nike Brand Jordan, Virgin Records UK, Canon Cameras Europa, Ivory Soap, Giorgio Brutini Shoes, Miss Bikini Swimwear Italy, Carolina Brazil Swimwear, and agencies like Ford Models, Elite, and NEXT Models NY.
As video grew in popularity, he partnered with his close friend Fred Wolski and made fashion, promotional, YouTube, and even local political campaign commercials as a film director. He was an innovator working with peers like O'dell Ford, whom he loved like a brother or son, on drone films for commercials and business in Nebraska.
But the above synopsis does not due justice to the personality and character of Gary Brown. Gary was loved. He was loved by everyone that knew him. Gary had a zest for life unmatched even by the greatest of celebrity. Never without his constant "Cheshire cat" smile, Gary was "the life" of any gathering be it a runway show in a tent in mid-town Manhattan, lunch at La Buvette or drinks at Mr Toad in Omaha's Old Market, at a local rock band performance with his old friends, at a fashion shoot at the beach near 9th street in South Beach Miamj, or at a dinner with friends in Santa Monica. He brought comedy, love, friendship to any gathering and every day. He also brought kindness (always donating any pocket change to the poor), intelligence, and an acute awareness of social justice.
Gary knew first-hand the challenges of race and discrimination and he was a constant advocate of civil rights and in improving job and educational opportunities for North Omaha and all minorities. But Gary was always positive and filled with laughter and optimism. Even at age 64, he had the energy and movement of a man in his twenties. A comic wit, social appeal, and spritely charm that made him loved by supermodels, fashion designers, business owners, athletes, bikers, and the common man alike.
Gary loved and frequented Omaha's Old Market as a driver of photographic art and community in the Bemis area with his former roommate Monte Kruse. Gary loved his nieces and nephews and spoke of them and photographed them often as he proclaimed their abilities surpassing his on with laptop, smartphone, and software tech. Gary loved the wild country of Nebraska and the history of the US Army and our nation often quoting the Buffalo Soldiers and lines from the film Apocalypse Now as he ventured to his next city. He also loved the big city with his charm and energy gifting him access to the grandest of VIP establishments. But amongst all the beauty and celebrity, he never lost touch or gained an ego. He loved more than anything his friends and family in Omaha, New York, and Miami and would do anything for them often being the one person to show up to help someone move or to counsel them after a broken heart.
If the measure of a man is their impact on the life of others and the moments and memories of joy, laughter, and beautiful art they have given during their life, then perhaps Gary Brown has passed to a better place having lived the wealthiest and wonderful of lives possible. Thank you Gary Brown for all the joy and beauty you have given us. We love you, and we will miss you Gary. God bless our friend Gary Brown.