Hollywood: The death of Brad Branson
Brad Branson photographer and pop iconographer of the 1980's and 1990's, died on December 13, 2012 at the age of 49. Brad Branson was represented by Visages. Launched by Marisa Maslansky and has been the mythical agency of LA between 1980 and 2000.
As a teen growing up in Los Angeles, Branson learned all aspects of the photography process while working in a Hollywood photo lab picking up valuable tips from customers who were also accomplished photographers like Herb Ritts, Greg German, and Matthew Rolston. He then expanded his knowledge into the art of photography when he landed a job as assistant to internationally renowned photographer Paul Jasmin, whom Branson has credited with playing an integral role mentoring and guiding him towards developing a unique style all his own.
At 22, Branson rented his first studio and began building his portfolio with portraits of the new hip Hollywood; Robert Downey Jr., John Stamos, Ally Sheedy, and Judd Nelson. He also found his niche in the music world photographing recording artists Belinda Carlisle, Joe Cocker, Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran, Eurythmies, The Del Fuegos, Nina Hagen, Los Lobes, The Thompson Twins, Tina Turner, and others. He scored the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine featuring David Lee Roth in the April, 1985 issue followed by photo credits in Vanity Fair and Playboy magazines. He was also a regular contributor from 1985 to 1995 to Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. Branson's talent was also in demand photographing an eclectic roster from the art world including Jean Michel Basquiat, Walter Hopps, Andre Miripolsky, and Haralampi Oroschakoff.
ln 1986, eager to leave Los Angeles for greater opportunities, Branson moved to London where he formed a prolific partnership with Dutch artist, Fritz Kok. Under the name, lndüstria, a unique design collaboration combining Branson's highly stylized photography with illustration and montage by Kok, they created work for Annie Lennox, Boy George, Elton John, George Michael, John Waters, Pet Shop Boys, Robert Palmer, Terry Gilliam, Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, and others. They also produced one-of-a-kind personality and fashion spreads for British magazines including Blitz, The Face, The Manipulator, and Vogue photographing some of the world's top supermodels Linda Evangelista, Iman, and Naomi Campbell.
lndüstria was honored to be included in a landmark Fashion and Surrealism show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which led to a commission for the U.K. Royal Mail to update their image with a more contemporary and provocative ad campaign. The art of lndüstria was featured in a solo show at the Black & White Gallery in London, which furthered their reputation with more beautiful, inventive and sometimes space-age imagery. They lived and worked in Amsterdam, Paris, and Munich and were invited by a number of Greek magazines to portray some of the Greek Olympie athletes in lndüstria's uniquely modern yet classical way.
On his own, Branson continued producing work for top fashion designers Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood as weil as John Galliano, Catherine Hamnett, and Stephen Jones, travelling to Russia and the Mideast.
Wanting to take a much needed respite from the non-stop, high energy world of pop photography, Branson returned to Los Angeles in 1997 where he dedicated his time working on various writing projects and exploring the U.S. Southwest.