Looks Like He Made It! - stick

The 573 area is blessed to be home to a variety of different types of interesting entrepreneurs, beautiful places, and impressive artists with exceptional talent and amazing drive. Today we get to explore all of those things as we travel to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to meet up with Larry Braun—a local artist whose photo of the Mississippi was recently selected to be a US Postal Service stamp.


A retired chemist living in Benton, Missouri, Larry Braun has spent the last several years falling in love with photography, art, and the local landscape. It is one heck of an accomplishment. Just goes to show ya that what we always say is true—find your passion, and success will follow.

...Larry Braun—a local artist whose photo of the Mississippi was recently selected to be a US Postal Service stamp.
...Larry Braun has spent the last several years falling in love with photography...

We met up with Larry at the Moses Austin Park in Ste. Genevieve to watch him work. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny March afternoon. Perfect for walking and talking, so we took a stroll across the footbridge and over to the Green Tree Tavern to make some pics.


The Green Tree Tavern is the oldest verified vertical log building in Ste. Genevieve. Officially dated to 1790...


Larry uses a Canon camera and lens and Photoshop for retouching and digital manipulation. (You can see his work in the slideshow at the bottom of this story.)


The French history and architecture of Missouri is quite fascinating. Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park Visitor Center gives an inside peek into the French colonial architecture found throughout town.

When I got out of the Navy, I went to college and got a degree and kind of put photography on a shelf for a while. It was just something to do, but it wasn’t a career. I didn’t think it was something I could make a living at, so I got a degree in chemistry.

573: Tell us about your stamp image.


Larry: I mean it’s amazing. I put that piece on my website and it set there for years. Then I get a call out of nowhere from this graphic arts company that works for the US Postal Service, designing stamps. They found it on flicker and called me up to make sure I took the photo and had the rights to it, and once that got all straightened out they wanted to use it in their Mississippi River Collection.


Then I get a call out of nowhere from this graphic arts company that works for the US Postal Service, designing stamps.

573: How did you get into photography?


Larry: When I was in the Navy one of the first things I bought was a camera. I don’t know why, I just did. I got a nice professional grade canon F1 which was a top-of-the-line DSLR at the time. I think that today what I do is called street photography. I go on into town and just take pictures. I shoot what I see, the people, the scenes, the buildings…just about whatever interests me.



I didn’t really know anything about photography when I started. I just got my camera and started shooting, not knowing the difference between landscapes, inception, documentary, or you know, all the different types of photography there is. I didn’t know anything. I just started shooting and I kept doing it. That was in the Navy.



When I got out of the Navy, I went to college and got a degree and kind of put photography on a shelf for a while. It was just something to do, but it wasn’t a career. I didn’t think it was something I could make a living at, so I got a degree in chemistry.

I worked as a chemist for 34 years, but toward the end of my career, I started thinking about what I was going to do when I retired. I started hiking at about that time. Shortly after that, the new DSLRs started hitting the shelves. That’s when they came out with the point and shoot. After a while, I started falling in love with photography again.


It just kind of grew from there. I got more elaborate photography equipment and I took an online course to learn the basic fundamentals of the art. I got involved with Photoshop and that was a big game-changer for me because now I could do what I would see artists do in magazines and stuff.


Typically when I took a photo with a slide, it came back looking like it needed some work done and wasn’t ready for publication. But once I got Photoshop and I learned how to use it on my own, that all changed. I went through it step-by-step. I found YouTube videos to show me how to do all the things I didn’t understand and now I’m a pretty professional Photoshop artist!

Now a lot of my photos have found homes in hospitals, local banks, hotels and all kinds of places.

It’s nice, but I don’t think I chose it, I think it kind of chose me. I never thought about getting it, it just kind of rolled around and snowballed on its own. Now a lot of my photos have found homes in hospitals, local banks, hotels, and all kinds of places. There’s been a good market for people that want local scenes in our area. I’ve probably got the biggest collection of local landscape photography of small towns out of anybody in Southeast Missouri! So now, when they build a new hospital or a hotel they’ll come to me wanting to put in local pictures of local scenes. And I’ve got enough that they can use quite a few without being redundant.


I really didn’t pick photography. It’s a natural thing. A lot of artists do things that way. Like a natural impulse. They don’t think about doing art, it just comes to them. And that’s why I do photography because it makes me move. I don’t know why, I just gotta get out there and do it!


Inspirational words from an inspirational man. And something awesome to think about. What’s your art? Your interests? Your motivation to keep moving forward? Is it something you chose, or more something that chose you? Whatever it is, keep going!



I don’t know why, I just gotta get out there and do it!



...in 1791. It became a tavern when the number of travelers pouring into the new territory made the entertainment of all strangers in private homes no longer possible.

The Green Tree Tavern is the oldest verified vertical log building in Ste. Genevieve. Officially dated to 1790 by dendrochronology studies, this “poteau sur sole” (post on sill) vertical log construction was built by the French Canadian, Nicholas Janis. This impressive structure has also been used as an inn, a tobacco store, and the first Masonic Lodge in Missouri. The Green Tree is transferring to the Sainte Genevieve National Historic Park. Open seasonally.


"The GREEN TREE TAVERN (private}, 244 Old St. Mary s Road, another maison de poteaux sur sole, with the proportions of the interior woodwork and the reeded panels suggesting American influence, was built as a residence by François Nicholas Janis in 1791. It became a tavern when the number of travelers pouring into the new territory made the entertainment of all strangers in private homes no longer possible.


The original sign bearing the words "Green Tree Tavern" preserved in the local museum, may have been the same that attracted the English writer, Thomas Ashe, in 1806. He found his host to be a "lively Frenchman," whose wife made coffee that equaled any that Ashe had tasted in Paris. Four years later, Brackenridge reports that the innkeeper, mistaking him and his companion for footmen in their travel-worn clothes, quartered them in an outhouse. During the night, the friend's trousers were eaten by rats." - Missouri: A Guide to the "Show Me" State, 1941


The French history and architecture of Missouri is quite fascinating. Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park Visitor Center gives an inside peek into the French colonial architecture found throughout town. The Visitor Center is the perfect place to start your visit because it is full of fascinating exhibits, including relics and explanations about the unique architectural elements found here in Ste. Genevieve. To tour all the wonderful history of our area, make your first stop at the Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park Visitor Center to orient yourself and pick up some maps for a great walking tour.


Whether you're jumping off the sofa right now to capture a prize-winning image, or tagging your buddy who always has their face in a view screen to show them what they could do, hit that send button and crawl out of your phone. Get up, and get out there. After all, it's the 573, and there are a million things to do and see.

A lot of artists do things that way. Like a natural impulse. They don’t think about doing art, it just comes to them. And that’s why I do photography, because it makes me move.
Here are a few images Larry made on the day we met with him.

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You will GET OUT THERE! GET OUT THERE! GET OUT THERE!