BRAD BRANSON (1963-2012)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brad (Bradford) Branson had developed a love of the Hollywood films and musicals of the thirties and forties. At seventeen, he arranged a “chance” meeting with movie legend, Gloria Swanson who offered the charming fan a part-time job as her personal assistant regaling him with stories from her many years in the business. Brad went on to work in film editing as an assistant cutter before being hired at a top Hollywood photo lab where his appreciation of photography evolved meeting clients which were L.A.’s hottest photographers including Greg Gorman, Herb Ritts, and Matthew Rolston. With his growing interest in all facets of photography Brad was soon taken under the wing of renowned photographer, Paul Jasmin who provided a valuable hands on education in portrait photography helping him to hone his talent and develop a style of his own. It wasn’t long before Brad short tracked his way to becoming a respected name among his peers and was added to the impressive roster of photographers of the prestigious photo agency, Visages alongside George Hurrell, Paul Jasmin, Herb Ritts, and Firooz Zahedi. By age 22 his portraits of pop and underground cult icons regularly appeared in magazines including Andy Warhol’s Interview, Vanity Fair, L.A. Style, and Rolling Stone.
Continuing as a contributing photographer for Interview magazine, Brad moved to Amsterdam in 1988 where he teamed with talented Dutch artist, Fritz Kok working under the name, Indüstria,. Using non-digital montage designed by Fritz and combined with Brad’s photography, their signature style was a unique and unexpected blend of playful eroticism. Their talent and originality attracted the attention of the highly esteemed art journal,The Manipulator and their iconic photo/collage Fashionism was selected for an upcoming cover. Indüstria was in hot demand and featured in international magazines including Blitz, Diva, The Face, Harpers & Queen, Select, andVogue and in exhibitions at both London’s Victoria and Albert Musuem and the Black and White Gallery. Their album design credits included covers for Boy George and Robert Palmer,’s Addictions Vols. 1 and 2. Brad’s photographs also appeared on albums for George Michael, Elton John, Paul Rutherford, and Marc Almond. In 1992 Brad was chosen as the photographer of the official Vivienne Westwood portraits and worked with other top fashion designers including John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, Katherine Hamnett, Jasper Conran, and Stephen Jones as well as an impressive list of models including “the Trinity”; Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington.
His passion for filmmaking was reignited while shooting the behind the scenes photographs of the George Michael music videos, Freedom 90 and Too Funky and collaborated with George on his first music video directing Jay Henry’s UK single of Funkadelic’s One Nation Under A Groove in 1991.His next film project awaited on his return to Los Angeles in 1995 for a much-needed break from his heady and frenetic life in Europe. With longtime friend, Paramount executive Susan Pile, Brad began work on a documentary film project on the life and mysterious death of Jet Propulsion Laboratory co-founder, Jack Parsons. During a break in production he flew back to London to photograph George Michael for his studio album, “Older” which turned out to be Brad’s final farewell to the photo genre he had made his own and returned to the U.S. where he lived until his sudden death of cancer at age 49.