Ty Pennington and Bruce Stern

Inspiration | A Memorial To Big Daddy

I had to take an unfortunate hiatus from writing for the last few months due to the recent loss of my father. Bruce Stern, better known as “Big Daddy” to most of us, was a great dad and friend. He was truly one of a kind and always lead the charge when it came to fun.

A Memorial To Big Daddy by Rob Stern | Ty Pennington

BD knew how to enjoy life and loved to capture the journey along the way in photographs. He also left many recordings that will live on to define his passion for images, music ,and communicating with others.

Sunset flight by Bruce Stern | Ty Pennington

If he could help it, BD never missed a sunset and enjoyed taking pictures of natural wonders. He taught me how to see and look at things closer through the lens of a camera. After sorting through thousands of photos he took,  I came to realize that his archives represented a deep need to celebrate each moment as if it might be the last. He passed this urge on to me and I’ve spent my life trying to look closer and capture the world from my own unique perspective. Here is a shot I took of him looking into a mirrored glass sphere I made and then another one he took of me the same day.

A Memorial To Big Daddy by Rob Stern | Ty Pennington A Memorial To Big Daddy by Rob Stern | Ty Pennington

Notice the reflection of the sun on my tripod (which I’m sure he adjusted) to capture this special moment in time. It shows the magic that is available to all of us if we take the time to look and snap the shutter.

Ty Pennington and Bruce Stern

Ty has known my dad for many years, but had the fortune of spending time with him last summer at the beach. As most of you know, Ty also has an addiction to photography, and we all enjoyed sharing our love for the documented image and the way it inspired other ideas for our art making processes.

A Memorial To Big Daddy by Rob Stern | Ty Pennington

My point in sharing all of this is to inspire you to make an extra effort and appreciate your ability to stop time with a photo, but I also want to encourage you to share your pictures with others. I really have found a deeper appreciation for how important a life’s record can be now that Big Daddy has moved on, and I am so thankful that my dad influenced many of us to take a closer look. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words…

A Memorial To Big Daddy by Rob Stern | Ty Pennington

We will miss you Big Daddy. You have inspired us to no end and your legacy lives on. RIP.


All photos courtesy of Rob and Bruce Stern

Rob Stern

Over his 25 year career in glass, Rob Stern has traveled, lived, and studied extensively and has worked with the most accomplished glass artists and masters throughout the world. His work has been installed, exhibited, and collected in Europe, Asia and United States. He was a professor at the University of Miami Glass program from 1997 – 2004 and was most recently a visiting professor at the Glass Department at the University of Texas, Arlington in 2010. Since 2004 Rob has operated his own studios in the Wynnwood arts district of Miami, where he and his team create and execute all aspects from design to production and installation.

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