The following story and images are by the Chicago-based photographer Andy Goodwin, regarding his "Charreada" personal work series. Enjoy!
This was a personal project I started a couple of years ago. All of the images were taken in the Chicagoland area (believe it or not) at Charreadas which are the predecessor to the American Rodeo.
I always have a couple of personal projects that I’m working on and sometimes use my camera to help get me into places or to meet people that I might not otherwise have the opportunity to work with.
I wanted to work on something where I used minimal lighting (although a couple of the portraits are lit with a softbox), just me and a couple of cameras around my neck looking for great opportunity. I hadn’t taken this approach in a long time and I found it really liberating.
I’m pretty good at talking my way into getting the shots I want, so even though there was a language barrier in some cases, I was still able to get close to the action in exchange for letting the promoters use some of the imagery. Creatively speaking, since there were no preconceived ideas of what I needed to capture, I just wandered around all day shooting whatever looked good to me.
I wouldn’t want to suggest that I was trying to create anything relevant. I just knew that most people (especially white Americans) have never been to a Charreada and that most people would be surprised that they happen close to home.
If you had one piece of advice for emerging or aspiring creative professionals what would it be?
It’s easy to get frustrated these days with all of the content that is out there. I’d suggest limiting the amount of photography you look at and to avoid chasing the latest trend. Spend more time staring out the window and letting your mind wander to ideas of pictures that you want to take. Then do the homework and prep work that you need to do to take those pictures.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have this project featured with the Smithsonian and it will also be shown in the newest Creative Quarterly Magazine where they’ve named me as one of the top 25 photographers of 2016 (for the second year).
This series is also represented in Chicago at the Catherine Edelman Gallery.
I’m looking forward to getting back into this world this year and I’m talking about a possible film with one of the organizers.
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