Picture Plymouth: Profile of an Artist

An interview with a photo contest winner.

Brandon Nees Daly is a 28-year-old musician and photographer who graduated from Wayzata High School in 2005, attended Mankato State University for three years, then transferred to McNally Smith College of Music for two years, graduating with a bachelor of arts in music business. Last year his photo, The Watcher, won first place in the Picture Plymouth photo contest’s Pets category.

How long have you lived in Plymouth?
I was born in 1987, and I grew up in Plymouth, basically off West Medicine Lake Drive and 28th Place North, and lived there until I was 18. I’ve lived in Plymouth on and off since.

What’s your favorite part of the community?
I always loved the parks: From the playground and nets at French Park as a kid, to the Plymouth Skate Park as a teen, to the nature trails and biking paths as an adult, I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors.

Describe your family and pets.
Lee and Pat Daly are my parents (and Plymouth residents). Alicia Felber is my girlfriend of five years. Jinx is our dog, Gracie is my cat, and Ringo is my rabbit. I guess you can say we love animals! The star of this article is a dog named Cooper, which is actually Alicia’s parents’ dog. Jeff and Jill Felber live up in Andover. Cooper was around 10 weeks old at the time.

How long have you been taking photos?
I’ve been taking photos on a more professional level for the past four or five years.

When and where was the photo taken?
I took the photo in August 2015. Cooper is a black Labrador/English mastiff mix … He was so tiny when I snapped that photo, but if you were to see him today, he has grown to be at least four times his puppy size. And he’s still growing!

Describe, in your own words, what’s going on in the photo and/or what the photo means to you?
Cooper was a very hyperactive and playful puppy, so the fact that I was able to snap a static photo of his face with no blur was impressive, even at a high shutter speed. Cooper was going wild in the backyard all day, running and rolling around in the grass, chewing on sticks. When he finally lay down to take a rest, I saw my window for a photo opportunity. He sort of slouched down into this stealth pose, which reminded me a lot of a cat, right before it pounces on a mouse—almost like he was trying to be sneaky and hide behind the blades of grass while surveying the scene (which was hilarious, because he was clearly visible from every angle). I, too, lied down on the grass on my stomach in front of him in order to get the low-angle shot. I wanted to capture the feeling of being in Cooper’s world—I wanted the grass blades in the forefront of the shot, and the focus to gradually diminish into the background. I wanted to capture that surveillance feel of being the watchdog, and I knew that I wanted his open, focused eyes to be the main subject of the photo.

What inspires much of your photography?
Simply put, nature and energy.

Brandon Daly is available to hire. For more information email brandondalymusic@gmail.com.