Daniel Herbertson's pictures are raw. But they are not raw in the gritty, film grainy black and white sense of raw - the type you usually see with a lot of  'moody' MMA photography. Instead Daniel's photos are super bright, neon glowing, manga-esque explosions of colour. They strongly echo the culture and 'scapes that surround his adopted city - Tokyo, Japan.

For today's expert photographer gallery, let me introduce you to the world according to top MMA photographer Daniel Herbertson...


Kazuhiro Nakamura after getting choked out by Kazuo Misaki.
The other photographers scrambled out of the way as the doctors came in to help Nakamura. I also of course allowed them them past to do their job, but I kept working to get the shot. On the tips of my toes and stretched to my maximum, I got this picture and ended up winning photo of the year at Sherdog. It really showed me the value of working that little bit harder and I think that was a turning point in my career.




Hiroyuki Takaya after TKO'ing Hideo Tokoro.
There isn't much to say about this. I think it captures raw power and aggression better than anything I've ever taken and yet it has no real violence in it.







Kazushi Sakuraba after kneebarring Zelg Galesic.

I was in Australia working a job I hated and I was depressed as it looked like that was my chosen career. I found UFC 1 and Royce Gracie. Then I found the Pride 2000 GP and I found Sakuraba. My admiration for Sakuraba lead to me training, to me moving to Japan for MMA, to me landing my current photography job. Sakuraba's fights changed my life dramatically and I could not be happier. I was literally crying as I shot this. My favorite photo of all time, it also won photo of the year at Sherdog.




Cain Velasquez KO'ing Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The first UFC in Australia (I'm Australian), my first UFC, my first international gig (I live in Tokyo so it counts!) and my first gig with ESPN. I was really proud of myself and my accomplishments and it was around this time that I moved to full time photographer. All that being said, my admiration for Nogueira is similar to my admiration for Sakuraba and so this is a pretty tough photo for me to look at.





To see more of Daniel's portfolio, I thoroughly suggest you visit his website. Aussie-born Daniel pretty much covers all the big action happening in Japan for MMAfighting.com and you can follow his journey on his twitter account (@danherbertson) and blog. 

Finally I would like to thank Matt Benyon from Scramble and The Grappling Dummy for pointing me towards Daniel's work.


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2 comments:

Julia Johansen said...

Holy cow those are some emotionally raw photos. You are right. That first one is amazing. SO MUCH EMOTIONS in these photos. They really resonated with me, even though I'm not big on MMA.

Meerkatsu said...

Yeah I don't follow MMA not for any reason, just time and the fact I don't have cable TV but the photos I've seen from some snappers are really dramatic and that's why I feel they have a place in my photographer series.