COATING THE SURFACE
by Tommy Skyrunner
Brandon is a photographer based in London. He's been shooting for a few years building a portfolio filled with great shots and artists of different walks of life. I conducted an interview discussing his progression into a dimension of his own style.
Tommy: So what's your name for the people who don't know and what do you do?
Brandon: I'm Brandon and I take photos whenever the opportunity arises.
T: Right right, I met you when you were out here flog gnaw. What made you start photography and where are you from?
B: In my teenage years I spent a lot of my free time either playing video games or just watching shit on Youtube. I would just watch video tutorials on a lot of different things but it mainly centered around cameras or visual effects. They were always really interesting to watch but I never had the money to apply what I was learning about anything. Then I got my first real job and I bought a DLSR; a Canon 100D it was considered the world's smallest DLSR at the time. Now when I got that camera...
B: I didn't really know what I wanted it for I just remember I carried it with me pretty much everywhere and I would take photos shit I found interesting around my area and kinda kept them to myself. There was a point where I really wanted to do a lot of street photography but it's not really possible in my area.
I live in a town called Beaconsfield right outside of London. It's in one of the richest countries in the UK, but don't get it twisted I'm broke as fuck. Street photography ain't really possible around here. The area is full of rich old white people, there's no culture.
T: I know getting the first camera inspired so much. I feel taking pictures of things you like just leads to you finding your own niche. Haha, there might be a few fly old couples chilling in Beaconsfield. So now you know you want to do street photography where did you find your first taste of that?
B: Well when I first started, street photography was the route I wanted to go down but I don't think that is the case anymore. It's kinda hard for me to pinpoint what I want. I want to focus on at the moment I only take photos of things I like. For example, if you look at my feed on Instagram it's some live gig photos and pictures of my friends and then some other shit throwin' in.
I find it hard for myself to take photos of things that I'm not invested in. There have been times where people have asked me to take photos of their friend's band or whatever. I've got there and I don't really feel their music and I just can't take photos, it becomes hard for me to visualize what the photos will look like so I just don't do it.
T: Understandable, you're not really feeling the vibe. More photographers should be a little more selective when shooting. London has a great sense of style though. You mentioned your Instagram is filled with quite a selection of artists. How'd you wind up in these situations?
B: When I was starting out I was really into a guy called Ta-ku. He is from Australia and makes incredible music. Around the time I started getting more into photography he was posting more and more of his own photography. It was a really big inspiration for me and really helped me find my style. So when I found out he was doing a show in London I just had to find a way to shoot his set. I was emailing everyone I could find trying to get a photo pass, I even emailed Ta-ku himself.
I didn't get any replies until I emailed the venue itself, which was Village Underground in Shoreditch. Not only did they give me a photo pass for the show they also put me on their photographer mailing list and from that. I could just apply to shoot whatever show came up at that venue. So ultimately I applied for every artist I liked and the rest is history. I'm still salty about getting to meet Ta-ku or having him acknowledge my photos.
T: it's crazy how you naturally got into the perfect situation. That story is so inspiring because you just went out and made it happen. Haha, I know that he thinks they're dope. What are some other photographers you are interested in? Seems like Shoreditch is a lot more lively than Beaconsfield lol.
B: Shoreditch is so tight. I wish I live there. There are a few other photographers that inspire me a lot.I have a shit memory but off the top.
I met all three of these guys when shooting different shows and talk to them every now and then. Seeing their work always makes me want to shoot more and more. Especially @brooknint (real name Joel). I met him at a Tennyson show. He was filming a tour video of them for OWSLA. He is just awesome to speak with, super nice and very supportive. His work is also incredible you really have to check it out, that dude is really going places.
T: All they are really dope. I know Daniela works with KyraTV from what you were telling me. OWSLA has a pretty cool brand as well. So continuing on what made you choose film over digital for your photography style?
B: Shooting film has only been a recent thing, I like shooting film because it feels less stressful. You just take a picture and then worry about it later. Whenever I travel ultimately will just shoot film tho, carrying around a DLSR is kinda tedious because of the size. For example, when I was out in LA I had my DLSR with me and took 5 photos with it. I didn't want to walk around with that everywhere I went.
T: That's understandable. I'm usually only carrying it when I know I'm gonna use it because a whole thing carrying it around, especially if you're bringing multiple lenses. The film photography I saw you did was great.
B: Thank you. It was awesome to relive the memories through the photos when I got back from the trip.
T: Now that you're a few years in are there any companies you would want to shoot photography for?
B: Yo that's a hard question to answer. There are a bunch of clothing brands I would love to shoot with, like established brands. But what I really want to do is shoot with companies that no one has really done anything in that way it'd feel a lot more fresh. Also, no one is really doing crazy ass shoots for candy. I want like Haribo to hit me up to shoot and then get a lifetime supply of Haribo or something haha.
T: Lol yeah we do. I love the sour gummi bears to man, that's so funny. That's really cool you're going for untouched areas in the field. I feel like a need more concepts for editorials.
B: No one really talks about candy, maybe because everyone likes them so there's nothing to really say. I don't know. I have a bunch of stuff that I want to photograph but I feel like they are so niche that it would stay within its respective audience.
T: You never know man, exposing people to something new gives them an emotional impact for the most part. Well, I have two finals questions, if you weren't in London where would want to live and create? Two what would be a perfect prediction of your future in next 5 years from your perspective?
B: I would love to live in LA and create there as it just feels like a giant hub for creatives, kinda cliche I know. Perfect prediction of the next 5 years would be that I move to Australia and live with my best friend and hopefully start my own company. No idea what that company would be, I just know if I and my best friend lived under the same roof we'd come up with some crazy creative shit.
T: LA has a lot of perks I know what you mean. I get that though Australia would be awesome especially being with another creative mind just helps tremendously. Well, thanks so much man and I wish you best in all endeavors.