Senses are known to trigger memories, even if those memories aren’t very specific. But what about the other way around? When you look at these images, do you feel the sweat drip down your nose? Smell the rubber of a mat mixed with the touch alcohol used to wipe them down? Feel the burn in your muscles as your heart starts to pound in your ears?
Fil-Am fighter Jackie Buntan probably feels, smells, and hears all of this every day; because of that, she’s always wanted to meet Jeff Dojillo. Jeff has photographed athletes for years, including those who have inspired Jackie to become exactly the person she is today. Jeff was always her number one choice when it came to her own professional portraiture.
During a recent shoot for a combat sports brand, Jeff was introduced to the up-and-coming fighter. Since then, he’s worked with Jackie on a project for Reebok; around that same time, she signed on with ONE Championship. When this huge deal was struck, Jeff was finally commissioned to take her portraits.
We had prior experience anyway, after working with each other on the Reebok X Infightstyle collaboration, which was used in various articles and blog posts all over Asia.
The Reebok X Infightstyle project was shot in Redondo Beach, California, and inside the infamous Boxing Works Gym in the South Bay of LA.
That gym is the home to some really incredible athletes and is the actual gym that Jackie trains at. The portraits were taken at LAC studios in Los Angeles.
While Jeff’s in-studio portrait work was fairly straightforward, he wanted to create a large-format look for the Reebok X Infightsyle shoot.
I did this by stacking multiple shots together. This was the first time I tried this style of photography, and I created a successful workflow with minimal error. It slowed me down a little but was only noticeable to myself as a creator.
Of course, this process included a little more time in post than usual.
After stacking the images, I would then go through and retouch the way I normally would. I learned that testing ideas before a shoot is a must. Testing ideas and refining a specific technique really streamlined the process for shoot day.
While he explored techniques and expounded on his own creative style, he still says his favorite part of the shoot was working with Jackie.
It’s always fun connecting with people that are happy to create with you. I think the lighting and photography styles all worked well with the locations and created a really unique look for the work, but my favorite part was working with the talent.
Photographer: Jeff Dojillo