Friday, April 13, 2012

20 Questions: Tosh Brown

Tosh Brown
You may not know Tosh Brown. Not exactly, anyway. But I bet you've seen his work. Maybe you were perusing some catalog, or reading some slick rag, and came across a photo you just couldn't help but really ponder

If you fly fish or bird hunt, and the magazine in your hands had something to do with either, there's a pretty good chance you were gazing wonderingly at a photo snapped by one of the most gifted outdoor photographers today. Brown's work spans the gamut of the sporting world--it's appeared in magazines we all love, like The Drake. It's appeared on box covers, websites, calendars ... the dude has a portfolio that most photogs only dream of having.

And, as gifted as he is with a camera, he's also a not-too-shabby writer. He blogs occasionally at Mouthful of Feathers, alongside some of the bird-hunting genre's more prolific sribes, like Bruce Smithhammer and Tom Reed.

As you'll read below, Tosh is a modern-day adventurer--a traveler who's none-too-happy to plant his feet in one place very long. He's been around. Here's hoping he gets around for years to come.

No... you may not know Tosh Brown. Yet. On with the questions:

A Tosh Brown montage ...
What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
A shallow saltwater flat with a flooding tide on a calm sunny day. Anywhere.

What is your greatest fear? 
Losing my eyesight. My entire world revolves around imagery and the outdoors. I’m already hearing impaired at 47 and if I lost my vision, then I’d probably just cash it all in.

Which living person do you most admire? 
My dad. I hope that when I’m pushing 80 I’ll be able to lug around sacks of decoys, hit 4 out of 5 doves that fly past, and consistently deliver the fly to cruising fish on windy days.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Impatience. I’m wound a bit too tight, but thankfully not when I’m on the water. Fishing is my ultimate decompression.

Which living person do you most despise?  
Nancy Grace. I’d tune in every night if they’d strap her to a chair with a ball gag and let her writhe in front of the camera.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
Any kind of music. In my teens I wanted to play electric guitar like Angus Young. Lately I’ve been fixated on the didgeridoo. Not sure where I’d play one or to what audience; I just think they sound really cool. I’ve actually told my kids that I’d like one for Christmas, but so far there hasn’t been one under the tree, so maybe that’s a hint?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  
My family. I’ve been faithful to my wife and we’ve raised two kids that are not self-centered, addicted, rude, or unaccountable (so far).

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Probably a tarpon. They live a long time. People don’t eat them. They’re smart enough to refuse most hooks, and they live in really fine places. The hammerheads and bull sharks would be a problem, but I could skirt the shrink-wrapped egomaniacs with lip gaffs by avoiding Boca Grande.

What is your most treasured possession? 
I actually have two: the Fenwick Feralite 6-weight (with Pflueger Medalist reel) that my dad gave me in 1972, and the Remington 870 pump 20-gauge that I got for Christmas a couple years later. My greatest passions to this day are wingshooting and fly fishing and those two gifts were the impetus.

Where would you like to live?
Key West (for awhile). I’ve been fish there every year since the late 80’s and I absolutely love that town. Incredible fishing, great dining and nightlife, and the people-watching capitol of the planet.

Bill Bryson ... a Tosh Brown fave
Who are your favorite writers? 
Cormac McCarthy, Thomas McGuane, Paul Theroux, Tim Cahill, Peter Mathiessen, Bill Bryson

How would you like to die? 
Peacefully and not unexpectedly. I want to be able to say goodbye to my family.

What’s on your iPod? 
A lot of classic rock, 70’s easy stuff, some old C&W, and an oddball collection of everything else (but rap).

If you were a pet, what would your name be? 

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? 
Lottery winner

If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? Tosh: I’m looking for a really good DSLR. I don’t want to drop a bunch of cash, but I want to take good pictures—you know, mostly clouds and harps and such. Which one do you recommend?

What’s the favorite of all the cars you’ve ever driven? 
I’ve never considered cars to be anything more than motorized containers for carrying all of my camera gear, taco wrappers, dirt, and sporting goods from point to point. So I guess that would be the Chevy truck that I’m driving right now. If I lived in Bozeman it would be a Subaru.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? 
Anything that I can gob onto a tortilla chip.

What’s the closest you’ve ever been to dying? 
About twenty years ago my wife and I were driving at night across a long two-lane bridge over a deep river gorge in Costa Rica. About midway across, I saw a dark spot on the pavement about fifty yards ahead of us. Turns out it was a big hole in the bridge, but only in our lane. We swerved left into the oncoming lane and shot the gap between the hole and the opposite guardrail at about 60mph. She was pregnant with our son at the time and I doubt the three of us would have survived that drop.

If you could go back in time, what year would you visit first? 
1906: the year before the first outboard motor was invented.


  1. I believe, due to surnames, that Tosh Brown and I may be related. That doesn't mean I claim him as family. It's just an observation.

  2. Another quality 20 questions. I doubt Tosh is related to RH-Brown. Tosh has talents and purpose in life.

  3. Indeed... he's a gifted guy, and we're all better off having seen the fruits of his labors.

  4. Nicely said, Howard. Great interview Chris & Tosh. Bill Bryson rocks!

  5. Yet another interesting interview bringing us a glimpse into someone more interesting than ourselves (at last I speak for myself). Tosh's answer to the car question...a Subaru in Bozeman. That gets an LOL right there! Thanks, Chris, and Tosh!