About

“You can’t copy anybody and end with anything. If you copy, it means
you’re working without any real feeling” — Billie Holiday

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I’m a photographer and writer presently located in Auckland, New Zealand. My interest in the business and marketing side of the fashion and luxury industries (which was this site’s primary focus for several years) can be traced back to my family history of retailers, who ran a multi-generational department store (J.B. Branch & Co.) in the rural midwest of the United States, founded in 1877 and closed in 1986. My parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles staffed the family store, and I worked there myself for about five years, so retailing is “in my blood”, so to speak.

In December of 2010, I participated in an interview with the Fashionably Marketing website where I describe my history, and why I write this blog, in a little more detail: Interview With Fashion Luxury Blogger Nathan Branch

*UPDATE: You can find another interview from 2013 where I candidly discuss the fashion industry, retail and photography with Katherine from the site, Feather Factor: Interview with Nathan Branch

I studied literature and psychology at universities in Michigan and Arkansas, have held jobs in the retail, medical tech and food service industries, and presently work with my partner on the creation and maintenance of numerous virtual companies while also continuing to write both creatively and professionally.

I threw myself into electronic music for several years, self-producing two electro-rock CD’s — “sugar” and “electro” — under the name aalacho in 2002 and 2004, to varying critical reception. College radio warmly welcomed and played the h*ll out of both, landing me on Top 10 lists around the country (thanks to the very dedicated promotional team at Space 380).

My debut CD charted as high as #12 in the respected music industry magazine, CMJ, and was nominated for Best Techno/Ambient album in the Just Plain Folks Music Awards. A remix of the track “Satellite” appeared on the international Global Underground release, Deep Dish: Toronto in 2003. The following CD, “electro”, made Hot Pick college-radio lists alongside commercial-label bands like Faithless, Orbital and Quantic, and was one of three finalists for the Alex Award for ‘Best CD Packaging, Alternative Design’ in 2004 (special thanks to Bluish).

My more recent dive into photography is my main creative outlet at this time and grew out of the need to provide original photographs for my own interviews and articles — I now take far more pictures and write way less articles.

*Bonus Points: A few of my product pics (here and here) ended up playing colourful supporting roles in the promotional material for wild-harvested natural fragrance company Juniper Ridge.

I started out as a Canon digital point-and-shoot user, eventually graduating to the Canon 5D Mark II and III, and then ditched the world of autofocus DSLRs for the Leica M rangefinder system in early 2013. Sometimes I miss the ease and speed of the DSLR world with its autofocus system and plethora of bells and whistles, but I greatly appreciate how using a manual focus rangefinder has forced me to slow down and put more consideration into the what, why and how of the subjects I’m shooting.

I grew up in the US but relocated permanently (along with my partner) to New Zealand in late 2010. We both consider New Zealand to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world and are happy to call it home.