The feel of the Dirty Kanza 200 is something very special. I know I have told some of you about shooting it as a spectator, but without being there it is so hard to convey the feeling and emotion of the event. The emotions from riders, volunteers, and spectators flow through the collective group. I get goosebumps thinking about it. I also think emotions and connection reflect in the images I am able to create while there.
Getting lost in the moment. Feeling the cold mist at The Cattle Pens, and seeing the smiles on riders faces as they come by. This was what I saw when I shot the image that was selected for the cover of Kansas Outdoors. http://www.ksoutdoors.com/
I wanted to speak about shooting an event like this from the photographer’s point of view. First, I have to say without the acceptance of the event coordinators, this image would never have been made. Years ago, I asked for permission to shoot the event and was granted permission. From there, I have built connections with so many great athletes from this single event. As a photographer, the connection to subject is so vital. I also think that others can feel where you are coming from when making an image. If you come from a good place, you project that. I also have to say that an event like this, is my endurance event as well. Being engaged mentally for over 24 hours straight is taxing; however, I think the investment in time and emotion is tangible and sensed by the riders.
When I was contacted by the publishers for Kansas Outdoors, I can say that I was honored. I was honored for my chance to show what a local event looks like. I was honored with the ability to showcase an event to a state, national, and global audience by images I had taken. To other photographers, I would say this: assign a worth to your work. A value is assigned by you to your work by the amount of work put into an image. It is also assigned by what the image is. I equate this to the “Bigfoot” photo. Would a photograph that didn’t follow the rule of thirds, or leading lines, or was slightly out of focus be less valued if it was of a Bigfoot? Content adds value.
All of this is a cycle. You have to put yourself out there, so someone will see your work. If your work needs practice and honing, how do you know this if you don’t put it out there for others to see? Once it is out there and someone appreciates your work, how do you assign a value? I would ask for you to be realistic about it. How long have you been making images? What image resolution do your images have? What is the image of? What is the reach of the image to be?
We as a community of photographers have to work together and not against one another. We should support and trumpet each other so that the community gets better and stronger. Images become stronger, and we become better at our art.