In Focus – Invested

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Editor’s Note: We’ve had the pleasure and honor of having Tom and Brenda Turk offer their amazing photography skills to OpenPaddock.net since 2011. They own Piratical Photography offering a variety of services to the Washington DC area. His most recent work for OpenPaddock.net was covering the Pocono IndyCar 500 at the Pocono Raceway last weekend, and in the following article, he shares his thoughts on a sequence of photos he collected in pit lane that tell a powerful story.

In Focus – Invested

Words and photos by Tom Turk

So you get married in Hawaii December 17, 2010, your mom plans the entire event and it is flawless (thanks Kathy Cannon for being a mom that can do that, many struggle), then comes this race thing! I have been covering Pro Sports at the highest level for many years, a privilege I always cherish, and I work hard to not expose family moments that may not be meant to be public. This one makes me a little uncomfortable and I really struggled with sharing it at all.

Many folks who are around racing and that show up in time for the national anthem, driver introduction and DSYE command just don’t get to see and feel the tremendous emotion, support, effort, and strength that is behind those athletes. Well I have for years, but seeing this in the camera frame this weekend and after going through what we all did in Las Vegas in October of 2011 with the loss of a great human in Dan Wheldon, I decided to share a couple of images that really speak to me from a position of unconditional love, support, strength and the strong desire to win and be successful while hoping for a safe return. I have seen this many times in my life from my love and work in Sports around Track & Field. In HBO Boxing it was watching Samantha Pavilik and Kelli’s dad during Kelli’s bouts. In Hockey, it’s watching Susan Burns hand their newborn child over the glass to Brent at the All Stars Game. Over and over again, the emotion from the family just strikes me as being what you have to capture but what you have to be careful about how you use it and display it. One never wants to breech that unspoken trust from photographer to family in pro sports.

I have no desire to be a paparazzi or breech that trust, but the story and imagery needs to be seen and explained to the public to share the passion and vested love in the common intersection that is the Great Athlete. So with that, I had the opportunity to capture a moment where Elizabeth Power, in her often found location behind the pit box with her great mom, (fabulous wedding planner) was hanging around. Husband Will was working hard to bring his machine to the front of the pack in a predominantly all-green race. He was battling with Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves during these laps. While listening to the radio, the emotion just pours out of Elizabeth with the water bottle taking the brunt of her passion for her husband’s safety and climb in position. Minutes later, Will is penalized by IndyCar officials for blocking, blacked flagged, hence the other images of explanation and quiet listening. This lady is a model of support, love, concern, care and passion for this great athlete in a tough often misunderstood sport. She is “Invested”. Thanks for being who you are Elizabeth and wow what a great job you did Kathy Cannon in your work as a mom. #BigGumboLove

– Tom Turk

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