Friday, June 4, 2010
The first thing I noticed about Danica Patrick is that she’s very small. Her body is slender and I don’t think she even comes up to my shoulder. I doubt she weighs a hundred pounds.
The second thing I noticed is that this girl has a serious presence. She’s intense and that intensity crackles in the air around her.
Contrary to popular opinion, I did not see flames shooting from her mouth. I smelled no brimstone. No children cried. No women screamed. As I stood in the pit and watched her interact with her crew, she seemed relaxed. She smiled often and frequently touched the person she was talking to.
This doesn’t compute with her rep as the driving diva, the Indy beauty with a fiery temper.
I was interested in photographing her because she really is an enigma.
The other thing I noticed is now often people in the crowd call her name. They are, of course, trying to get her to look their way so they can take a picture. Sometimes the sound is coming from round men in way too tight “Danica Rules Indy” t-shirts. Other times it’s women in stretch pants or children that sound like they live just on the edge of panic, are not really sure who she is but know she’s somebody and really need to blow their nose.
Is it a surprise that she totally ignored the fans? She didn’t look at them, didn’t speak to them and appeared completely indifferent as to whether or not they took her picture. If you wanted the shot you had to be quick. Even from my vantage point in the Pit Walk, I had to time my shots perfectly.
Unlike the other drivers, she didn’t pose for pictures with fans and I don’t think she signed a single autograph.
But I wondered how it would feel to be her. People constantly calling to you, wanting you to look their way. What would it feel like to have every move scrutinized?
She had just finished a lackluster time trial – and was about to hop onto her scooter and take off. She was standing in front the small tent her crew was working in. She was blocked from the view of most of her fans and she seemed to be thinking some deep thoughts. That’s when I took this shot.
I wonder what she was thinking about.
I wonder what it would be like to be a woman racing cars…and constantly be described as an Indy babe. I wonder what actually happens inside her head before, during and after the race.
That’s what this image is about. It’s all about “wondering.”
And of course, the fact that she is a total Indy babe doesn’t hurt either…