Friday, April 25, 2014

Interview with David Peterson, pt. 2

Just published by the University of Iowa Press, The Drake Relays: America's Athletic Classic is a selection from nearly forty years of photographs of the famed track meet by Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer David Peterson. Here, Peterson talks to UI Press editor Catherine Cocks about what the relays have meant to him as a runner and a photographer.

Lolo Jones winning at Drake in 2005
CC: Which track-and-field event do you find most challenging to photograph well?

DP: I would have to say the pole vault, because there are so many different angles you can take. The pole vault in the Jordon Creek Town Center Mall, which Drake added a few years back, opened up a whole different angle, as I was able to view it from above by photographing from the second level of the mall. I could also get very close to the cross bar and shoot the event with a wider lens—something that was impossible to do at Drake Stadium.

Kip Janvrin
CC: Do you have a favorite image among those included in the book? If so, what’s so special about it for you?

DP: My favorite image is a very subtle one, but a photo loaded with content. It shows former Iowa high school and Drake University miler Matt Gabrielson extending his hand to Olympian and world champion Bernard Lagat after the Special Mile in 2004 (p. 36). Gabrielson wasn’t a world-class miler like Lagat, but he got the opportunity of a lifetime to compete on the same track in the same race with one of his idols. Only at the Drake Relays can Iowa kids take that journey from a small rural high school to being on a grand stage with Olympians.

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