created 2001-2004; 3 of 23 total images
(second series of triptych series [Side Unseen, Down the Backstretch, Equus & Venus] on women in the thoroughbred industry). This series was produced with the support of the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Arts Council
Artist’s Statement: Down the Backstretch
In 2001, I looked at the series Side Unseen on the gallery walls and I heard Maggie Schoeman’s voice in my head; “Farms want to hire women for their superior animal husbandry skills.” After working for her and husband, Scott, on their Thoroughbred broodmare farm for two years I knew exactly what she meant. I narrowed my focus from general Thoroughbred farm life to women’s work within the Kentucky horse industry.
I think of the Down the Backstretch as a visual embrace. From the full-frame compositions to the finished print, my attention was on the emotion, the passion, the dedication, and the synergy of the moment, ignoring artificial lights, tripods, expensive cameras with all the bells and whistles, conventional angles, anything that distracted me from the “decisive moment”. I was willing to accept blurred images over perfect compositions because nothing about the backstretch, these women, or these horses, is perfect. These images were purposely never meant to be postcard material. To help do that, I used a cheap Lubitel twin-lens camera to bend and twist the light, adding to the imperfection. These, coupled with images from my 35mm’s wide angle and zoom lenses which naturally skew perspective, helped further that flawed sensation. Finally, I draped the images in warm tones to marry the unpretentious compositions with the empathy I feel for the women, the horses and their relationship.
“Farms want to hire women for their superior animal husbandry skills.” Down the Backstretch: Women in the Thoroughbred Industry is my homage to this symbiosis.