"A View From the Backstretch", the National Racing Museum's blockbuster photography exhibit, shows the flip side of racing, from the inside of the Sport of Kings looking out. The turnout at the exhibit opening rivaled that of the record setting Seabiscuit exhibit a few years ago.
A group of photographers, who also work behind the scenes at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, apprenticed with project director and documentary photographer Dona McAdams for an eight month intensive workshop on recording their stories through the racing season.
Over thirty grooms, exercise riders, a gardener, hotwalkers, track kitchen chefs, and a trainer used point and shoot cameras and a vast amount of color film to examine and chronicle their own Saratoga. Fourteen photographers are represented in the racing museum's von Stade Gallery. Bewitching photographs of Saratoga's golden light. Iconic images of "swells" amidst their horses in the saddling paddock. A macro shot of a mud caked race horse after enjoying a wallow in Saratoga's finest mud. Quiet studies of waiting, waiting, waiting with and without the horses. Pictures of shadow runners that evoke the primordial horse paintings at the Lascaux caves. It's all there.
Here are some images from the National Racing Museum's A View From the Backstretch Exhibit:
"A View From the Backstretch" was funded by The Workforce Development Institute, Executive Director Ed Murphy; the Charles Lawrence Keith & Clara Miller Foundation, Linda Fisher, President; and, the National Museum of Racing, Chris Dragone, Executive Director. The racing museum's education curator Karen Wheaton coordinated with Dona McAdam on producing and hosting the exhibition.
Photographers with work in the show are Alvin Davis. Carole Williams, Chris Stephens, Esperanza Nolazco, Frank Fodera. Heather Coots, Kenny Streicher, Louie Garcia, Maximino Nolazco, Paul Perry, Salvador Hernandez, Shannon Geiser, Siggy Wallace, Steve Lockett, and Veronika Laciokova. The following slideshow shares Dona Ann McAdams' portraits of the backstretch photographers along with their brief bios.
(Sunrise photograph top left is used with permission of Chris Stevens. Paddock photograph top right used with permission of Carole Williams.)