I was attracted to this assignment because it's purpose was to present an enlightening angle of horse racing. The general perception of the sport is focused on the horses and their statistics while the jockeys and their dedication is often overlooked by the masses.
I was tasked with creating powerful yet personal portraits of jockeys currently racing at Gulfstream Park in my home state of Florida. The client chose the active race paddock as the location because it was iconic to the fans. I had to work fast as the photo sessions were squeezed in-between jockey training and races. For speed, I used a Profoto 7b with a beauty dish as the keylight, a Profoto D1 monolight in a globe for background, a small smoke machine and daylight fill. Jockeys are generally around 4 feet tall and a lack of height was the last thing I wanted to depict so a very low angle was chosen. I left the posing mostly to the jockeys as I wanted a personal element to come through in regards to how they felt about their sport.
The results were well received by the client and I was really excited to hear that the jockeys loved them too. I feel the portraits and the exposure given to the jockeys by the client has boosted the jockey's self-esteem with a fresh outlook on the possibilities of their careers. John Velasquez, pictured in this portraits, won the Florida Derby just days after the shoot. Aside from print ads and billboards, the client printed very large "pennant" murals to decorate the breezeways on race days. A larger selection of portraits from this series can be seen on my website: http://www.redphoto.com/portraits/JOCKEYS/1