WWE Wrestler Brad Maddox

Shooting a WWE Superstar

 While I’ve been on a flurry of blog postings lately it is only to make up for the grand hiatus that I took for a while. The timeliness of this post is delayed but I still wanted to share my shoot with WWE wrestler Brad Maddox for The College of Charleston Magazine.  






The great folks at The College of Charleston Magazine are amazing to work with and have given me some of my favorite assignments which have led to great friendships also. I shot WOOL author Hugh Howey in a spacesuit and have since shot him again and become friends with he and his wife. Great folks and amazing talent. Be sure to check out the blog post about that shoot.


When I received the call from Mark and Alfred at CofC I knew it would be a fun shoot. They said, “we’ve got this WWE wrestler who is the General Manager (and CofC alum) of the WWE and we want to showcase him in our next issue..you game?” Of course I’m game! They also said the most welcoming words to any photographer “You’ll do an awesome job and we’ll leave it up to you to get something cool.” Hell yeah! I love clients who know what they want but trust me to try something interesting. This was one of those shoots.



While the story was about Brad’s journey in the WWE and his struggles and adventures I wanted to shoot portraits of him OUTSIDE of the expected wrestling ring. I wanted to show him in a rustic/textured environment with personality and I found it at Shiller’s Salvage in Tampa, Florida. There were so many options for me and my team which consisted of my assistant Rick Carter, Chad Andreo who was shooting the BTS video and my producer/friend Lynne Kyle from Agency Access.



Obviously (and sadly) Calumet Photo is no longer in business but Chris Snipes (now with Capture Integration) kept trying to get me to try the latest 60mp medium format system from Phase One while he was with Calumet. I mention and show the system in the video but words can’t describe how amazing this camera system is. I’m a long time Nikon user and have been wanting to make the jump to medium format. This camera system spoiled me and every day I shoot now I am having gear withdrawals. It’s like being in VIP for every concert you go to then having to “slum” it in the general audience. I’m spoiled. Capture Integration is a great resource for rentals and all things medium format by the way. 



Anyway, Brad was an awesome subject to photograph and made my job really easy. As a performer/entertainer he knew what I was looking for and when he didn’t he asked. Shooting athletes is a bit more challenging that celebrities who often have had someone show them their best angles and looks for the camera. As Peter Hurley likes to point out even Brad Pitt didn’t know what he was doing in the mid 80’s but he soon got it figured out. This Brad had it figured out also and we had fun looking for spots in the salvage as backgrounds.



One set up and likely my favorite was the “STAR” shot we made. I saw the individual letters outside when we arrived and thought we could incorporate them somehow. When Brad arrived he had the same idea. We looked for BRAD and for MADDOX but didn’t have all the letters. STAR just jumped out at us and the fact it was red white and blue made it even more perfect.





We shot three different set ups with the first being near the entrance and Brad behind the stained glass wall. The second was the STAR set up and then we ended with my favorite photo accessory…my Oliphant hand painted canvas. I love this thing..I was so happy to meet Sara and her daughters in NYC and figure out what I wanted. They went to work and I had it in a couple of weeks. There’s nothing like the quality of this canvas and having it made by the best in the business has paid dividends. It’s so versatile and I can use it in any environment.



Brad’s wife and daughter were on set and they were so nice to meet. In all one of my favorite shoots. While I haven’t truly followed wrestling since the days of Junkyard Dog and Rowdy Roddy Piper, I’m a big Brad Maddox fan and wishing him all the success in the world.

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