On March 31st, I received an email inquiring about my availability and interest in photographing the Kentucky Derby for NBC. After I picked myself off of the floor and put my heart back in my chest, I replied as calmly and professionally as I could. I received a reply and things started to take shape. I would be commissioned to:
1) Take creative portraits of the jockeys competing in the Kentucky Derby.
2) Document the story of the Kentucky Derby from the jockey's perspective.
So on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I spent hours getting to know the jockeys, spending time in their quarters and shooting my heart out. I worked alongside an amazing group of creatives at NBC. I met and photographed people that are the fabric of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Needless to say, it was an experience I will never forget.
What follows is a collection of jockey portraits from part one of my commission. Art is so subjective. I really don't know if these images are all that good. I do know that when I took these images, I had a strong sense that I was a part of something bigger than myself. A part of something important. Kentucky is an amazing state. America has a beautiful heritage. The men and women who ride the Kentucky Derby honor both of those things in a profound way.