The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Jayme Halbritter
Jockeys of Canterbury Park
Canterbury Park is the local horse-racing track located outside of Minneapolis in Shakopee, Minnesota. It was formed in 1985 after a constitutional amendment allowing betting on horse racing was approved by Minnesota voters in 1982. When I was coming up with story ideas of my new website, a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you go out and shoot at Canterbury Park?” I got in touch with the media coordinator, and the next thing I knew, I had full access to all aspects of the facility.
They were incredibly accommodating, and I ended up going out there something like 11 times as it was one of the first photo stories I worked on for my site. It was amazing for me to have that kind of access, from race nights to training routines, I got to see all aspects of what life was like at the track. They had 40 barns where owners would stable the horses, and dormitories where the workers and jockeys would stay. It was pretty fascinating to get to witness the behind the scenes world of horse racing.
I would go early mornings and photograph the daily routines; the stable hands taking care of the horses, jockeys taking the horses out on their morning rides, the farriers who would come in and shoe the horses… they even had a pool that they would swim the horses in.
I eventually asked if I could work on a portrait project with the jockeys. I wanted to photograph them right after they came off the track. It took a little doing, but I was able to get permission to set up a small backdrop, and then I was then able to handpick jockeys immediately after they were done with a race. I had previously spent a bit of time photographing in the locker room with the jockeys, so they were somewhat familiar with me by the time I did the portrait project. The jockeys come from all over the U.S. to race, as well as Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama, and England, and run about 600 races during the season. It’s a lot of hard work, early mornings, and a ton of racing.
I’ve gotten a lot of good response to this collection of photos, and it makes me feel like I should continue doing portrait work like this. Thank you so much for the feature, it really means a lot!
To see more of this project, click here.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.