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Dan Dry for the 150th Kentucky Derby

By: Bill Doolittle

Photos: Dan Dry

Riding with photographer Dan Dry one day, Dry suddenly says, “Stop, right here!” It was about 100 degrees that August day, and Dan jumped out of the air-conditioned car at a small building where men were up on the roof, laying down hot tar with long brooms, with the black stuff cooking in a big sweltering barrel. Had to be THE hottest job on THE hottest day of the year. But Dan climbs up the workmen’s ladder, says hi, and starts shooting. The next day his men and hot tar image was featured on the front page of The Courier-Journal.

In his Courier days, Dry shot everything, and captured the National Photographer of the Year award – which he said all the newspaper shooters called the POY. Dry had come out of Ohio University, in his hometown, Athens, Ohio, and said his journalism idea always was simple: “Taking pictures of people doing what they do best – being themselves.”

Out on his own, Dry took photojournalism assignments when they came along. For National Geographic he shot big sunsets and vast vistas in West Texas, and intimate close-ups of people in their native lands. But he was heading for another vista of photographic art. Dry shot big color images for corporate clients that soaked up the atmosphere and art of the subjects. He taught at the University of Chicago, then returned to Louisville to build a private practice with a string of top clients. Today, Dry is the managing director of Price-Weber’s Creative Content Studio.

And he continues to document the Kentucky Derby for longtime client Churchill Downs. With the 150th Kentucky Derby coming up, Dry shares with VOICE-TRIBUNE readers a few colorful images of a most colorful sport. 

Bill Doolittle


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