Long before he became an MMA fighter and won “The Ultimate Fighter 6,” Mac Danzig’s passion was photography.
In recent years, Danzig has been able to pursue photography on a more consistent basis, and now it’s become something more than just a hobby, it’s something that helps define who he is.
During preparations for his rematch with Matt Wiman at UFC on Versus 6 on Oct. 1, Danzig spoke to MMAWeekly.com about his love of photography and why he feels it is a great creative outlet for others to look into.
MMAWeekly: Tell us what first got you into photography, Mac, and what’s brought it to the current state it’s at.
Mac Danzig: Photography and videography have both been something I was always into when I was younger. I just never had the money to buy good equipment or to really go out and get the subject matter that I needed to film anything, so it was something I put on the back burner for a while. I had always kept photography in the back of my mind and was something I wanted to do if I ever had any money.
In 2007, I finally started making enough money in this sport to buy a good camera, and start taking trips whenever I could, and it just snowballed from there.
MMAWeekly: What subjects do you enjoy photographing the most?
Mac Danzig: I’ve always been into nature and everything, but more recently – in the last year or two – I’ve started to photograph elements with no people at all. I’m starting to stray away from that and get more into remote landscapes and things like that. I like the capture the essence of an extremely remote place that has something geologically interesting.
I also like wildlife photography. I took a trip up to Alaska and photographed a lot of brown bears in the wild and things like that. I’m still into the urban stuff, like cityscapes at night, but the more remote, the better.
MMAWeekly: Is there anyone who’s helped inspire your work or helped it develop to the point where it’s at now?
Mac Danzig: One of the best landscape photographers in the world arguably is this guy named Marc Adamus, and I went and took one of his tours where he shows people some of the spots that he likes to photograph in Oregon.
It just ended up that he’s a real big MMA fan, and so we hit it right away and became really good friends. Through him he’s really taken me to some really cool spots throughout the southwest and California that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own.
MMAWeekly: Would you ever consider doing any MMA photography?
Mac Danzig: Doing the events and stuff, that would be cool, but I really haven’t taken a real good shot at photographing people. It’s not easy photographing events, I’ll tell you that. Those guys are really good sports photographers; it’s definitely a skillset you’ve got to learn. I definitely couldn’t just jump into the cage side UFC and take excellent photos; it would take a lot of practice and stuff.
If someone’s open to it, and if they ever gave me a press pass to an event to shoot it, that’d be cool, and I would probably take them up on it and try it – you never know, it might be something I could get into.
MMAWeekly: Has anyone photographed your fights that you found particularly artistic?
Mac Danzig: There’s a guy who is a boxing photographer who has done some MMA named Ed Mulholland who took some really good pictures of me when I fought Mark Bocek (at UFC 83). He’s got a style where his experience really shows. Even though he had to deal with the cage being in the way, he was still able to get some awesome shots.
His composition was really good, and there was a lot of moods and feel to the shots. A lot of times I’ll see pictures from my, or other fighters’ fights, that’s a cool documentation of the moment, but there’s nothing else too it. (Those photographers) are good at capturing the moment, but they’re just pointing and shooting with good equipment. He is really good to get a lot of mood and feel to his shots with the way he composes them.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time, Mac. Is there anything you’d like to say in conclusion to any fans out there that may have an interest in photography?
Mac Danzig: With me, I just really liked the idea of with photography that you’ll capture a moment in time that will never be there again. That’s like your own art unto itself and it will never be the same again. So for anybody that’s into that idea, that’s something that’s priceless. You can use it as an excuse to go out and do some awesome stuff and travel to some cool places.
If people are into it, you don’t need the best equipment to start out with; you just need the curiosity and will to explore it. There’s so much good, free information on the internet for it. So just jump into it. It’s really fun and it’s a great art form, I love it.