Bane Visnjic is widely considered one of the best photographers in the JiuJitsu community. His individual style and use of high contrast black & white imagery offers a unique perspective on the subject. When he's not matside he's often working the red carpets as the in-house photographer for the Screen Actors Guild. He's had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in Holywood and JiuJitsu.
We had the chance to speak to Bane about some of his favourite moments in JiuJitsu, what motivated him to become a photographer and how you can take your work to the next level.
1. How did you get into Photography but more specifically JJ Photography?
Photography has been a passion of mine for a long time. It’s something that’s just a part of me and I need it. It was natural to me to start photographing JJ, as I practice it and love this martial art/sport and every aspect of it. I wanted to document it.
2. How did you get your style? It's not like most JJ photographers
I guess I translated my affinity for a bit more artistic photography into JJ photography. I didn’t compare it to anyone else’s style when I started, as I really didn’t look at anyone’s photos in depth. I wanted to start with a clean slate, and I just wanted to do my thing for me, and not try to please anyone. I started with no reference. Later, after a while, I did look at other photographers’ photos of course, and I love what some of the JJ photographers are doing out there .
What's the difference between photographing Hollywood stars and JJ athletes?
I get more time to take photos of JJ athletes, and most of them are friends and acquaintances, so it’s a lot more intimate and personal. With Hollywood stars your time is very limited because they are on an extremely tight schedule, so you have to be able to break the ice very quickly, so they can open up to you for a good photo. Not a whole lot of room for mistakes with celebrities either.
A moment in JJ that you always remember and enjoyed photographing?
Very difficult to pick. The one moment in particular even though there was no action in it, was this year’s IBJJF Worlds when Buchecha gave the absolute championship to his injured opponent/friend Leandro Lo
EBI 14, where Gordon Ryan pulled out of Craig Jones’ fully and deeply locked in armbar, and to come back from that and win another belt.
There are so many other incredible moments. Absolutely favorite tournament to shoot was ADCC Worlds 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. I have never seen brackets that heavily stacked with nothing but the best of the best in our sport. It was a JJ photographer’s absolute dream competition.
Just get out there and shoot as much as you can. Start with your own JJ academy, visit local ones, go to every tournament you can and just keep shooting and trying different ways to portray both action and athletes off the mat, or any other part of JJ, all the nuances of the martial art on and off the mat. Like anything else in life you have to put a lot of work and effort into it, in order to get somewhere with it. Also, make long lasting relationships and friends out there, in my opinion, it’s all about the people.
List your equipment and why you use it for JJ photos
I use Fujifilm gear, both camera bodies and Fujinon lenses. I’m usually a prime lens photographer, but for tournaments I will use Fujinon xf50-140mm zoom lens (75-210mm ff equivalent) for the mat action shots. For everything else pretty much I use several prime lenses depending on what I shoot and the feel I’m looking for.
Be sure to follow Bane to keep up to date with his work!