Things My Father Taught Me: Matt Hranek

Passionate, considerate, consistent, solid: four words to describe someone with whom I’ve only recently had the opportunity to spend some time, but someone from whom I’ve already garnered a wealth of knowledge. Photographer Matt Hranek, who writes the blog The William Brown Project, shoots straight, keeps it brief, and means it.

A little over a month ago, I was fortunate to spend a day with Matt in Chicago, driving around in borrowed Alpha Romeo. Stopping at some of my favorite spots in town, the conversation bounced around a lot: cars, art, music, girls, wrist watches, local politics, archery, booze, career advice, and mostly a lot of talk about our families. This is a guy who has a passion for life and a life of many passions.

It’s with much pleasure I share Matt Hranek’s “Things My Father Taught Me.”


me dad and nate_0004My father grew up in a working class, primarily Eastern European neighborhood of the First Ward in Binghamton, New York. He was a commercial artist, sign painter, pin-striper, and graphic designer. He was old school but a modernist. He knew how to throw a fly rod, shoot, hunt, how to choose the right tweed and enjoy good spirits.

Scan742He died at a very young age but packed our short time together with some valuable philosophies and life lessons. I live everyday of my life with him as my core inspiration.

The things my father taught me:
(or at least some things…)

Be the best you can be
Be gracious
Be kind
Understand the power of the words, “I’m Sorry”
Be humble
Shoot straight
Clean your guns
“It is just good to get out”
Allow you self to be vulnerable
Fall in love
Be honest
Wear a Rolex
Travel , explore, discover
Drive stick
European sport cars (he had a Triumph TR3A)
Shine your shoes
Appreciate handmade things
Recognize the beauty in imperfection
Find a good tailor
Honor your kill
Things always work out and usually for the best
Say Thank You
Cry (when necessary)
Man up
Fuck machismo
Don’t conform
Enjoy a cold beer, a bottle of wine, and a glass of spirits
Marry for life
Find your spiritual place
Own a Harris Tweed (or 3)
Eat well
Keep it simple
And always stash a few sheets of toilet paper in every fishing vest, field coat and hunting jacket you own – you will eventually need it.

Matt Hranek