Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye (Detail)
Miami -- and Miami Beach -- have long been celebrity swing spots. And where you find celebrity you will also find someone snapping their photograph. Some of the snap-happy do it for money; some do it for love; and others do it simply because it's in their blood. Count Seth Browarnik among the latter. Because whether it's a pop star or a president, his photos show he's no mere paparazzo. Need proof? Hit The Shelborne Hotel for the World Red-Eye wonder's "Art of Night".
For the few who don't yet know, who's Seth Browarnik and what makes him click? I'm a 4th generation Miami Beach resident. I grew up here and have a family legacy - my grandfather built several of the first South Beach hotels, and I believe in this city. There's nothing more that I love than coming home to Miami and driving over the Causeway and knowing that this is where I live. Being able to capture the essence and color and vibe of this city is what makes me click... From the very first time I picked up a camera and went to a Miami Beach nightclub I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing. It's a good feeling to be so passionate about something that you truly love .
You've got something extra special slated for Basel -- wanna tell us about it? This year for the first time I am showing my work during Art Basel. The show is called "Art of Night" and it takes place at The Shelborne Hotel. I put together the best in nightlife from around the globe -- those people who celebrate it as an art form. This is my expression of what I see at night and the beauty and glamour of it all -- the "party". The show features 50 photos from a catalogue of close to a million and will give you a glimpse into what only I get to see behind the velvet rope, in VIP rooms, the stuff that people only read about in magazines. The photos range from Daphne Guinness to Jay Z, and everything in between. I find beauty in moments and in try to capture a vibe.
This is the first time you've gone completely solo -- why the wait? I wanted to make sure that the time was right. My whole career is based on not pushing things and everything being organic -- on knowing when it is the right time to approach a celeb, shoot a photo, or place an image. I'm always sure that my relationships were solid and I've been loyal to those people who have been supportive of me since the beginning. With 10 years of Basel under my belt and 15 years of shooting, I felt confident that its was time to show the international art crowd my images of everything I've been so fortunate enough to capture -- a lot of which illustrates the reasons Basel chose Miami for its Fair in the first place . The sexiness of this city has given me the "frame" for everything I shoot around the world. And I try to bring the South Beach energy with me where ever I go.
How'd you come to show at The Shelborne anyway? With the renovation complete I was excited to use a new property to highlight my shots. Its' young and fresh but still feels totally old school Miami Beach. They approached me to help them launch their new hotel and I was excited to show my art in an iconic Deco space. I think that people are going to love what they've done. Being one block away from the Fair, it's truly the epicenter of it all .
Of all the famous and infamous names you've shot over the years, who stands out? I've shot tons of icons and legends, and it's not often a celebrity leaves me starstruck. But the first time I shot Muhammad Ali, I felt like I was going to pass out. I was really nervous. When I shook Michael Jackson's hand, I ran outside and called my mother like a teenager and told her I'd never wash that hand again. I've also shot the last three presidents and am totally in awe of George W.
Will any of the above be featured in "Art of Night"? You'll have to come and see!!
Seth Browarnik's "Art of Night" opens Wednesday November 30 9pm-Midnight at The Shelborne Hotel 1801 Collins Ave South Beach. For more information log on here.