Last year, after photographing the Veterans Farm for Parade Magazine, Adam Burke (founder of the farm and a veteran himself) asked me to photograph the 2nd annual “Fight For The Veterans,” a mixed martial arts tournament raising money for the Veterans Farm. Of course I was excited to hear about the fight and was really looking forward to documenting the event and the fighters.
First things first, if you haven’t checked out the Veterans Farm you should. They are doing some great work, helping our veterans find a peaceful and meaningful path after returning from active duty and often times struggling with PTSD and other issues.
Ok, back to the fight. In addition to photographing some of the fights and the event that I wanted to capture compelling portraits of the fighters themselves, before and after their fights. I was trying to capture some unfiltered emotions: intensity, excitement and perhaps even nervousness. Pleasantly I was surprised to see how jovial many of them were. Winning and losing, most of them all were in great spirits, simply happy to be there putting forth their best effort. A good many of them were excited to have their photo taken. A few turned me down, more focused on their fights or just not interested in being photographed. However, the ones that did made for great portraits.
After such a great shoot one of the hardest things is editing down the photos to get the best of the best. Each image has its own merits. Here’s a few of my favorites that made the cut.
Also just wanna do a quick shout out to Monica and Frank for helping me make this shoot great.
The rest of the photos (the fight and the figthers) can be seen here: bit.ly/fightfortheveterans.