After taking some of the photos from the horse training session, I tried to contact a couple of players that could assist me in creating more of a story. Not just photos of people playing polo but something to write about. I would like to know why people are passionate about the game, the history of the game in Kenya, where it's played and of course various other fascinating details that are only known to insiders (ask me about cricket, for example).
I managed to get hold of a friend of mine from university, Chloe, who is back in Kenya and quite active in the polo scene. In fact, she's been very busy rallying up people to start the game with a beginner outfit and suggested that I approach the players through facebook. While not quite short on appreciation, it was difficult to get people to agree to come out so early. They liked that their horses were photographed in a morning session but few responded to my requests. Finally, it would come to Danny, who made the process seamlessly easy and mentioned that he was going to be at the polo club at 6am and I was free to join if I wished. I said I would and wished him goodnight.
The Morning after
I slept terribly on the eve of the shoot, a pattern that has repeated itself consistently over the past few weeks and was beginning to take a toll on my general health. Perhaps it's the anticipation of something or rather just poor energy management. After 4 hours of sleep, I had suddenly valued an extra few minutes to be worth the world as I cuddled my blanket. Then I remembered Danny and quickly pushed myself out of bed. The last time I had ventured into the stables, it had rained the night before and I got very wet following the horses on the field. I needed to be better prepared this time round and I quickly set about packing spare socks, extra shoes, even an extra pair of boxers (because you never know). It was 6.25am as I started to panic. When poor sleep accumulates, it makes us exceptionally prone to panic from little things and as a complete surprise to me, my heart was racing. Although I wouldn't call the fact that I was running late a 'little' thing, it was combination of this fact, poor sleep and being angry at myself for not making more of a deliberate effort in planning this all out and somehow getting to bed ridiculously early. Danny had already been training for 25 minutes and it would take me at least another 20-30 minutes to get to the polo club.
As I drove, the golden sun was on my shoulders one moment and then on my face, teasing and mocking me as a grim reminder that I had very little time to make anything out of this rare opportunity. If I failed to catch Danny, that would be the devil! Who knows when I'll catch these guys again and not doing so would not open doors to catch the broader story. It would remain unfinished and left to be told as yet another story of an old man who started something but didn't quite see it through.
In the end, it worked out quite well. I apologized for the delay as I greeted Danny, clearly guilty and not even with an excuse of a great party the night before. The following shots are an overview of the brief 20 minute session I had with Danny. I will proceed to create a more theory and lighting oriented story at a later point but here is a gist of many similar photographs but taken with the hope that there would be small but material differences that would make or break the photos - something for the art director among my students.