Ten years ago Brent Broza was living in Hawaii where he dabbled in photography when he received a call from his father who told his son he had terminal cancer. He moved back to the South Bay to take care of his father.
“He had a brand new camera that was on the counter and I don't think he had the ability to use it due to his illness,” recalled Broza, who lost his mother in 1995. “During my breaks from watching him I would take his camera out because I was pretty stressed out.”
Photography became a creative outlet during that rough time in the Manhattan Beach native's life, but it quickly became a serious hobby and now a full-time profession. Broza hosts his latest South Bay show, “Side to Side,” which opens Saturday, Sept. 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. at ShockBoxx Gallery, located at 636 Cypress Ave. in Hermosa Beach.
Broza, who graduated from Mira Costa High School in 1987 and lives in Hermosa Beach, has built a following of his landscape photos, from local piers to sunsets, but “Side to Side” features a collection of his “Blurs” photography. The abstract photography of ocean or horizon lines includes the “Fireline” series, which are shots of the sunset, and the “Serenity” series, which focuses on sunrises.
“I like textures, I like movement, I like the fluidity, the feeling of the images,” Broza said. “Whether if I'm doing it at sunset... the 'Fireline' series that's more vivid, or if I'm doing the 'Serenity' series, a more softer palette, more of the pastel colors... it's a different mood.”
“Side to Side” is also an opportunity to introduce a new hobby for Broza, painting. He said few know he paints, which is something he picked up earlier this year. He found some old wood panels in his garage and bought some paints to “see if anything comes of it.”
The first painting he completed he titled, “Clear Your Head,” named after a song by local punk favorites Pennywise. Early in his career, he shot surfing as well as local bands including Pennywise and The Descendants.
“It's another form of creativity for me, it's something fun to do,” said Broza on painting, adding “but I don't want people to think I'm a painter now.”
Broza was a full-time sales rep for a wine company in the South Bay when he started posting his photos on Facebook. He was encouraged by friends so he pursued his hobby further by assisting on photo jobs with a friend of his. When the wine company he worked for was bought, the culture changed, so he quit his corporate job in 2014 and took the leap.
Since his career started, Broza, has hosted a number of exhibits of his work, been featured in the top surfing magazines and has taken home several awards. He took home the World Surf League's “Biggest Paddle Award” in 2016 and 2018 for capturing Aaron Gold's epic surfing at Jaws on Maui. In 2016, Gold broke the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever to be paddled into by a surfer at 63 feet.
“I love the freedom. I love being able to create and travel and see amazing things out there,” Broza said.
“Side to Side” runs through September 30.