Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Harper McVey Advertising Art Direction

Horse Racing: More Than a Sport

Editorial Design
Publication Design
Social Change

It’s hard to picture my life without the sport of horse racing – and considering that my parents met on the backside of Delaware Park, I might not even exist without it.

As a young boy growing up in rural Maryland, my father dove into the world of horse racing wholeheartedly, training horses with his father and grandfather for decades. Similarly, my mother’s love for horses led her to the racing world, where she began galloping racehorses as a summer job during her high school years and beyond. It’s no wonder, then, that my sister and I grew up visiting barns, riding horses, and going to the track.

Like my parents before me, I eventually made my way to work for a racing stable for two consecutive summers. During that time, I was dedicated to doing all that I could to help my coworkers because we were truly a team, pouring ourselves into each and every horse, their best interests at heart, wanting them to succeed.

Horse Racing: More Than a Sport provides a window into this world I see – a portrait of the Thoroughbred racing industry as a multi-faceted network of passionate individuals from all walks of life, bound together by their love for the animals they spend their lives raising and training. The project combines two forms of media in which documentary imagery takes center stage: a book and a video piece.

The book contains a collection of photographs shot over the past seven years, all to capture the human-equine relationship at the heart of the industry and the individual personalities that dedicate their lives to these animals. The video is a montage of similar footage with a personal recording of my own voice. It is my hope that in these intimate moments depicted, we can see that the horse racing world is so much more than just a single day at the races, but a fabric woven together from the passions of thousands of individuals.