Exclusive Interview with MMA Photographer, Landry Major

MMA UK always brings the goods when it comes to interviews, and todays interview is nothing different. Landry Major isn’t a fighter, nor a coach, but she’s well known within the industry for producing some of the most fantastic photography that the MMA world has ever seen. If you’re a fighter and you want to get a photo that shows off your personality best, then Landry Majors is the photographer for you

Check out Landrys work at www.landrymajorphoto.com

Hey Landry, hope everything’s awesome. For those that don’t know who you are, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a Los Angeles based photographer that specializes in portraits of top athletes. The continuous themes in my images seem to be courage, passion and humour. I love what I do.

When and how did you become interested in Mixed Martial Arts?

I honestly knew nothing about MMA. I got a call from Fight! Magazine asking me to shoot Randy Couture and Fedor. I had no idea who they were.

I did the shoot and was intrigued by Randy. He was not at all what I had expected a fighter to be. The more I looked at MMA photography I knew I wanted to do something different. These amazing athletes,

were all being shot the same way. I wanted to photograph them more like celebrities. I now know more about MMA than most guys…


Was there any specific point or fighter that made you think that you could make a living out of taking photos of these guys?

After the first quick shoot with Randy Couture I wanted to do a real studio shoot with him. It took 3 months to set it up. I had this image already in my mind of him.

Three months later I was in his gym in Las Vegas and took that shot. That one image was selected to be in Communication Arts Photography Annual, and Lurzer’s Archive Top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide.

Then doors kept opening and dots kept connecting.

Some fighters have really serious personalities (such as Cain Velasquez and Nick Diaz). Do you find that fighters with these sorts of character traits have a difficult time being in front of the camera?

I think fighters have a much different experience shooting with me. I am open and interested in who they are as people. I don’t want to portray them as one dimensional characters.

I had a great time shooting Nick. Once we got shooting I showed him in camera what I was capturing and he loved it, he became part of the process.

He asked if he could jump and kick. He became this amazing athlete in front of me. He laughed and was really cooperative. He was happy I wasn’t trying to portray him as a thug. I left really liking him.

In contrast to that, you’ve taken pictures with fighters such as Mayhem Miller who are crazy and are just full of life. Do you prefer those types of fighters more?

I love the Mayhem images because they are fun, and not stereotypical. It is about showing who the person really is. I love capturing a genuine moment, and the off moments.

In contrast I love the Cain shot that is, just who he is. The images I love best are when you can see who that person is in one image. That to me is magic and I have succeeded.

What has been the craziest experience you’ve had whilst photographing an MMA fighter?

Waiting to shoot Fedor was the craziest. We were booked to shoot the Thursday before his fight. I drove to San Jose which is five hours from Los Angeles. By the time I got there he had changed his mind. We spent two days waiting in a room set up to shoot, then it was rescheduled to the morning after his fight with Fabricio back in Los Angeles.  Of course everyone thought he would win the fight, so after he lost the fight, I was sure he would cancel. It took a village, but he shot with me back in Los Angeles the day after his loss. He was cool. There is only one Fedor. I love those images of him and his Warrior Priest.


Have there been any fighters that have acted rudely towards you that made you regret working with them?

No, I have to say I love these guys. No one has ever been rude to me. I am always happy to see them again.

Is there a specific time in your career so far, with any fighter, which you can look back and be especially proud of?

That one Randy image started this journey for me and won top awards in my industry. I don’t think MMA photos have ever gotten recognition, so that is special to me.

Photographing Manny Pacquiao was also a big thing, and yielded several magazine covers. They used my portrait of Manny for his Time Magazine Heroes and Icons photo which was an honour. I have the amazing Freddie Roach to thank for introducing me to Manny.

This one’s for all photography tech heads. Could you give a brief explanation of the type of equipment you use to get such amazing pictures?

I shoot all digital on Canon and always RAW.  My current camera is a Mark III. I use all Pro Foto lighting. There is something really beautiful about the quality of light that comes from Pro Foto.

That being said I shoot with no lights sometimes. The images of Cain and Anthony Johnson from AKA were available light in front of a window on a rainy day, and I love that simplicity.

Thanks so much for your time. Is there anything you want to shout out?

We all have preconceived ideas about other people. My mind has been opened by some of these amazing people I am lucky enough to photograph.

I hope my images show the world we are more alike, than different. Oh yeah, I love ground game…so if you are sitting near me at a fight, please don’t yell “stand them up!”


1 Comment

  1. […] { August 25, 2010 @ 10:30 am } · { Fight! Magazine, Sports, Strikeforce, UFC, mixed martial arts } { Tags: MMA, MMA UK Blog } https://mmaukkingston.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/exclusive-interview-with-mma-photographer-landry-major… […]

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