Sunday, 20 December 2009

A (welcome?) change from fighter portraits

Earlier today I spent a few hours shooting the lovely Emma for one of the top stylists at Glasgow's Rainbow Rooms International hair salon. Emma is a "new face" on the modelling scene and one which I think we'll see a bit more of in the future.

Together we shot four different hairstyle / accessory looks in the space of a few hours; there was supposed to be outfit changes too but we were let down by a stylist who cancelled on us.

1. Porcelain

2. Loud

3. Fringe

4. Daydream

There were hundreds more shots taken but these pretty much are my first choice from the four looks...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Outsized Pesonality?

So recently I noticed that Dana White, the president of the UFC, had been named number four in their list "The Decade's Outsized Personalities"

Dana is certainly a passionate and opinionated person and has, on at least one occasion, crossed the line with commentary that drew universal criticism. It's clear that he operates in a rare and very direct fashion and that candor is what polarizes opinions of him and lends his personality to be included on such lists.

Here's a case good illustration of Dana as I know him. My very first event was UFC 70 in Manchester. I didn't know anything about mixed martial arts or the UFC at that time, hadn't a clue who the atheletes were or whom was in charge. In essence, I was as green as I could be.

After the pre-fight press conference had wrapped up, I approached Dana and asked if he'd pose for a quick portrait. He stood, posed and then laughed, saying aloud "Man, I never know how to be during these f---ing things..."

I said "Just relax, be yourself and natural..."

"Be natural?" he asks, "Okay..."

And bing, he jokingly flips the bird to the camera very quickly. At that same instant I trip my shutter and the flash pops. I freeze for a moment, wondering what his reaction will be but he just laughs and shrugs it off. UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik then joins him for some shots together and I more or less forgot about it.

Later whilst editing my shots, I notice that I'd snared the 'bird' frame perfectly... but something in me tells me not to wire it in. It's the sort of picture that only papparazzi agencies shop around and the outfit I was with at the time, Camera Press, are most certainly not a 'pap' agency.

Some months later at UFC 72 in Dublin, I got a chance to speak to Dana and told him I had something for him. I passed him an envelope and waited for his reaction as he opened it. The surprise and laugher that followed were quite genuine. "Man, I gotta get that put in my office!", he said, and then shook my hand to thank me.

To sum up: I've dealt with many celebrities and personalities in my five years working as an editorial photographer, most of whom are cosseted by their PR or management and are told what to say, how to act and what they can and can't do infront of the press.

Love or loathe Dana White, there's no denying that he's one of the most accessible and approachable personalities in the sports and entertainment industry today. Larger than life? Sure. Outspoken? Definitely. Polarising? Without a shadow of a doubt... but I wouldn't want that to change one little bit.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

UFC 107 Predictions

So UFC 107 will air later tonight and I thought I'd post a few thoughts on how I think the main card fights might play out - it will certainly be interesting to see how right/wrong I am in my calls!

1. Diego Sanchez vs. BJ Penn
My heart says that Sanchez' fire will outlast Penn's cool in this fight. Sanchez is an incredibly determined fighter who just doesn't give up and I feel he's got the tools to frustrate Penn in the early rounds so that he'll be worn down come the fourth of fifth. This fight will only end early if Sanchez makes an error and goes to the ground, in which case it'll be game over as Penn sinks in a a sub of some sort. Sanchez knows this danger and will have trained extensively to avoid it.

Sanchez via decision
2. Cheick Kongo vs. Frank Mir
Frank didn't look too comfortable at UFC 100 when being pressures by the strikes of Lesnar. A lot of that discomfort was attributed to Lesna'rs "lunchbox" fists and whilst Cheick doesn't sport a the same dimensions when it comes to his rack of knuckles, the sheer power he packs behind each punch and kick will be telling (just ask Cain Velasquez about that)

Kongo via TKO in round 2
3. Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce
Fitch is a solid fighter that has a rounded toolset which allows him to frustrate his opposition both standing and on the ground. Jon's last five fights have all went to the judges but, in this case, that's not a bad thing as the same thing has happened with Pierce in his last two matches. I'm not expecting fireworks of this fight, and I know Fitch will have his hands a little full with the power of punches that Pierce can land.
Fitch via decision
4. Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida
Explosive. Fight of the Night. A barn-burner. That's my core expectation of this fight between two lightweights who never disappoint the fans. Both fighters have changed their training camps from their last outings and I feel it may well be Guida who will bring more to the war from spending time with Greg Jackson & Co.
Guida via TKO, round 3
5. Stefan Struve vs. Paul Buntello
Struve showed heart and fortitude in taking a hellacious beating from Denis Stojnic in the first round of theif fight at UFC 99, only to come back in the second and pull a spectacular reversal that ended in a second round submission. His sheer size will pose problems for Buntello that could only be solved with a knockout blow. Looking and Buntello's records shows he has the tools to make that happen but I still feel Struve will be able to overwhelm Paul with his size and pull of a submission on him.
Struve via submission

Friday, 11 December 2009

UFC Fan Expo, mark 2

Announced today over on, the second UFC Fan Expo will take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on 28-29 May 2010 (that's Memorial Day weekend, in case you didn't know)

The first Fan Expo was a blast and even though it was a bit rough around the edges, I had a great time documenting the scene for ESPN and Fighters Only Germany as well.

I don't know what fights they have planned for that show which - if I'm right - will be UFC 112/3 or thereabouts. There's been rumours that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will make his 'return' to the UFC in May to finally face "Sugar" Rashad Evans in a long-delayed match that (in my opinion) has lost much of its lustre.

Anyways it's almost pointless to speculate on a fight card so far away in the future. All that matters is that fans and fighters will be there in droves, so I'm definitely going to check out what the flight / hotel costs are - perhaps I'll see you there?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are in; the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a ttoal mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?"

The above certainly holds true but both and myself are unclear as to the origin of the supposed 'research' - still, it is a fascinating little insight into how we perceive the world around us.