Sarah Hoskins: Back to the Backside

By  |  April 30, 2014

In anticipation of the Kentucky Derby we are revisiting the work of Sarah Hoskins. This series Back to the Backside, looks behind the scenes of horse racing. Hoskins writes,

I was hired back in the early Nineties to photograph all that was the frontside: the owners, the fans, the racing. Then early one morning I went to the backside and that is where I have stayed. I used to think this work was just a documentary project on the unseen world of horse racing, but somewhere along the way and over the years I realized it was as much about me as anything. It is one of the few places I can say I have always felt comfortable. I have left from time to time over the years, but I always find my way back, not unlike the gallop boy now in his eighties who walks away and says, "It gets in your blood, I can't stay away."

When you see the horses spinning around the turn heading down the homestretch Saturday, know that they are carrying more than just a jockey. They are carrying the dreams of all the dreamers on the backside and everyone who has ever touched or provided a service to those horses. So raise that Mint Julep and give a cheer for all the unseen dreamers—I know they would do the same for you. They are the backstretch and they are the best.

Sarah Hoskins is a documentary photographer. Currently, and her time is split between Chicago and Lexington, Kentucky. She spent part of the summer of 2012 as a resident at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. She was invited to lecture and share her work at Tuskegee University as part of the Rosenwald School Conference, celebrating 100 years of pride, progress, and preservation. Her projects have been featured in several print and online features, and she is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships. To see more of her work, click here

Jeff Rich is a photographer based in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Jeff currently teaches photography at Coastal Carolina University. He curates the OA’s weekly photo series, Eyes on the South.