About Giul - Giulliana Fonseca - Visual Storytelling

I grew up around jiu-jitsu. My parents got me into my first kids class when I was eight. I floated around a lot popping into classes periodically as I got older, but I really can say I started officially training in the summer of 2014 when I got my blue belt from Professor Luigi Mondelli at American Top Team CT that following winter in Danbury, Connecticut. Uppity teenager syndrome sure got me, but thankfully I found my path back to this incredible sport where I belonged all along.

I’m now a student under Professor Pete McHugh at McHugh Jiu Jitsu in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. I learned so much about jiu-jitsu photography/branding because Professor was kind enough to let me experiment as much as I could handle. Figuring out my vision in jiu-jitsu photography was an interesting obstacle comparable to actually training jiu-jitsu. Sometimes you have to channel every technique you’ve learned down to just the right finesse, and sometimes you throw shit at the wall to see if it sticks. It’s so much fun. I love it.

My favorite thing about this is getting to work with people who, for lack of a better term, are kinda nerdy and unsure of themselves as far as having their photo taken. Seeing that progression in their confidence as our shoot moves along is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever experienced. I was the butt of many jokes growing up and at the time it really sucked, so seeing someone grow so quickly from hiding themselves from the world to feeling confident enough to feel secure in truly loving and celebrating who they are.. it’s indescribable. I feel complete, like I made a difference in someone’s life.

The same applies outside of a normal studio setting, as much of my work is shot on the mat. Most people go into our $20 rolls just wanting a couple of decent pictures for social media. But it’s so interesting when the round is over and it comes time for them to pick out their 5 favorites. It’s often tough for most clients to narrow it down to just five because they wind up liking so much more than they had anticipated! Sometimes you can tell when a photo has made someone feel awesome, where their expressions read “…that’s me!?” as they look through their photos. YES. It’s you. You are awesome. You are powerful. You are badass. I want to help you feel all of that, because it’s the truth. This isn’t an easy sport, and you being in it alone shows that within you there is an admirable force to be reckoned with. 

I love getting close to my subjects, both physically (with my camera) and emotionally. Not always necessarily getting to know them, as there are many people I don’t get the chance to meet at these tournaments, but in a sense just capturing something that’ll trigger peoples’ emotions afterwards. I really love when I find a good song, show, or movie that takes me out of the world I’m living in, sucking me into their world, managing to touch all of my senses without physically having done so. I want to do the same with my photos - not just document what happened, but to do it in a way that takes you out of this world and into that moment. I want people to feel things, and it’s amazing to make a living in something that rewards you the more you channel your creativity.

To wrap up this about me to touch anything I’ve missed, I am fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, I have dual citizenship in the US and Brazil, I have two sweet dogs with my awesome boyfriend who is a coach at our school, my brother and sister are my best buds, photo/video is my full-time living, and no-gi is life.

If you’ve made it this far, a sincere thank you for your time. If you think we'd mesh well together, I'd love to know about your vision - please shoot me an email at giullianafonseca.photo@gmail.com to get started!

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