About the Photographs
Arapahoe Park is a race track on the outskirts of Denver. In the summer of 2011 I started photographing the horse races as a spectator, attracted to the pagentry of the jockeys in their silks, the beauty of the horses and the mix of anglo ranchers and Mexican Americans among the bettors and spectators. The audiences at the races included a lot of women and children...family entertainment.
In 2012 the management of Arapahoe Park gave me photographic access to both all aspects of the Arapahoe Park community. A race track community has people who have horse racing in their blood. This community is composed of horse owners, jockeys, trainers, grooms, gallopers, outriders and racing officials. The citizens of this community while fiercely competive on the track, support one another day to day in a very demanding and hard way of life. The stories I heard from the people in these photographs were poignant, fascinating, sad, and funny. Horse racing is often dangerous work as horses are beautiful, but unpredictable animals. There are many stories of broken bones and worse and yet these people get back on the horse.
The people in my photographs are second and third generation members of the community, descendants from the vanishing cowboy way of life. Many of the jockeys are immigrants and first generation Hispanic Americans from Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
The Arapahoe Park season is from late May until the third week of August. At the end of the season the community move on to other tracks in the country where their season begins. It is a transient and difficult way of life.
CITY OF THE DEAD
City of the Dead is another kind of community, seasonal as well. From the end of September through October haunted houses around the country provide haunts and scares for audiences. City of the Dead is operated by two brothers who have build their business on the Halloween decorations their father put up at their home, more elaborate each year.
Haunted houses have all the characteristic of a theater production: sets, costumes, actors, make up, plot lines, and performances...and audiences!
WOMEN'S BEAN PROJECT
The Women's Bean Project is nonprofit enterprise which helps women who have experienced trauma in their lives get back on their feet, get employment training, establish a work history and get housing and jobs.
Originally I approached the organization to provide women in the program with qualtiy portraits which would bolster their self esteem. The case manager invited me to photograph their graduations, which meant that one of the women in the program had gotten employment outside the Women's Bean Project. The women in the program produce packaged ingredients for soups, main dishes and baked goods for sale via mail order and on a retail basis.
Victor Guitar is a mecca in Denver for guitar lovers. The owner, Edward Dick, sells new and used guitars. In addition, Edward provides instruction in making guitars from scratch Saturday afternoons and Wednesday and Thursday evenings. His students who are from all walks of life transform wood and metal into these beautiful instruments over the course of the Saturday afternoons and week night class sessions.