Cal Poly alumnus Brandon Magnus has been awarded first place in the category of Sports Picture Story with Pictures of the Year International for his collection of photographs titled “MayMac – ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor.”
This collection features photos from and leading up to the UFC fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. Magnus said he’s photographed UFC fighters for four years and was with McGregor for about one month during his training leading up to his fight with Mayweather.
“This was my first big award and it is a great feeling and very humbling to have my work chosen,” Magnus said.
Pictures of the Year International is a nonprofit organization that holds a worldwide competition to find excellence in documentary photography, photojournalism, visual editing and online multimedia. Each year there are more than 48,000 works submitted from 71 nations and judged at the University of Missouri by a panel of 12 visual journalists.
“It was shocking at first. The competition has live judging and every year there are such strong photos and this year was no different. I didn’t think I had a chance but my photos kept moving along each round until the end and it felt surreal,” Magnus said.
After graduating from Cal Poly in 2012, Magnus moved to San Diego to work with Donald Miralle, a highly regarded photographer who founded Leucadia Photoworks.
Cal Poly art and design senior Alex McCracken has known Magnus for several years and considers Magnus his photography mentor. He became acquainted with Magnus by following Los Angeles photographer Don Miralle.
“When I was in high school I idolized Don Miralle and I tried emailing him several times over a two-year period, trying to land an internship with him but I could never get much of a response,” McCracken said.
Later, McCracken found out that Magnus worked for Miralle as his lead photo assistant at Leucadia Photoworks. McCracken contacted Magnus to look over his portfolio.
After lunch and a visit to the photo studio, Miralle offered McCracken a summer internship with him and he ecstatically accepted.
“It was almost a passing of the torch from Brandon to me,” McCracken said.
McCracken said Magnus getting such recognition means a lot to him.
“It’s very exciting to see Brandon win a Picture of the Year International award because it is the most prestigious photo award in the world and I could not be more proud of Brandon and all the hard work he has put into building his personal brand and portfolio,” McCracken said.