FULL NAME | GRADY BRANNAN OCCUPATION | PHOTOGRAPHER BIRTHDAY | FEBRUARY 21, 1991 AGE | 20 HOMETOWN | SANTA CRUZ, CA
How old were you when you found your passion for taking photos and what sparked your interest in photography? I used to skate a lot with all my friends. That’s all we did. We would skate morning to night in high school. A bunch of my friends and I were skating and I ended up shattering my knee cap. So after I got injured all my friends kept going and one of my friends went pro, so I basically just shot photos all the time.
One of my friend’s fathers was a huge mentor of mine, Erik Castillo. He unfortunately passed away in a skateboarding accident. At his funeral there weren’t a lot of photos of him. So it got me thinking, I might lose some friends along the way, so i might as well start shooting photos of them. I was 15 when I started doing that. By my senior year in high school I ended up having ads run in Thrasher, Transworld, and in Skateboarder magazine.
What are your biggest influences in photography? Right now, it’s the people around me. The culture. My boss Misha pushes me to shoot a lot of concerts and that gives me a lot of access. But mainly my inspiration just comes from everyone around me.
What are your favorite subjects to shoot? People. I love shooting people. Growing up in Santa Cruz it was all skateboarding that i shot. but now in SF its all people. Drunk parties, even portraits. I like shooting people.
What inspires you to keep shooting photos everyday? The hope of making it as a professional photographer is what keeps me going. I also like my friends reactions. It’s cool to be able to look back since a sophomore in high school and see everything that I’ve documented. I took photos of shit you wouldn’t remember. Everything from bus rides to the bay to breakers to high school graduation parties. They’re all memories I had from when I was a kid and its great to look back on everything.
What have been some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are now? Time for one. It takes a long time to not only learn how to use the camera properly. I’ve never taken a photo class before besides an introductory film development class when I was sophomore in high school that taught me how to develop film in a dark room. Other than that, I’m mostly self-taught. I also think some of the biggest obstacles are just finding the connections to work in the industry and keeping those connections happy. Its one thing to find the connections and it’s another to follow through and have good finished product every time. Consistency is the hardest part.
What does “BUILD YOUR DIENASTY” mean to you? I see my dienasty as everything I’ve accomplished. All the fun I’ve had and all the friends I’ve made. It’s about the experience that comes along with taking the pictures. Its led me to a lot of friends and makes the best out of what ive got. I have a ton of fun right now and its all about documenting the fun, keeping it going.
What makes San Francisco such a great city for what you do? There are different people everywhere you look and for the most part people are friendly here. If you go to New York you get brushed off. It’s a crazy rat race everywhere, but in sf people are happier here and I like that.
You’ve taken pictures for some pretty big names in the music industry. Who are your favorites that you have met along the way? I got to meet Cyprus Hill at Rock the Bells and Foster The People at Outside Lands. Iv gotten to hang out with Del the Funky Homosapien a few times. it was his wife’s birthday and I got to hang out with her back stage i just kicked it with them. I’ve always liked Hieroglyphics
Lately it seems as if your shooting photos at all of the biggest events in the area. What have been your favorites? Lets see, smashing pumpkins a month ago in Oakland was really cool. I grew up listening to them, so to see them on a reunion tour up close was really cool. EDC with all my friends was awesome, I’m not a huge electronic fan but at that event we had an all access pass so we just got to run around like crazy. That was probably one of my favorite times, along with Coachella!
What are some events you hope to work in the future? I want to do Coachella again, it was so much fun. It was weird the last time I went since I didn’t have a media pass. This year I’m going to try to get the media pass so I don’t have to hide my camera the whole time. I want to go and shoot Lollapalooza in Chicago too. But we’ll work on that one.. we’ll see!
Any shout outs? Tom Roach and Mike Branson for making all of my connections in SF possible. Every one at NHS back in Santa Cruz, Butchershop Creative, Lowcard Rob, Mega, Reezy & Ruben at Black Scale, Ardian and Max at Dynamic Deeds. Everyone that supports!