Every year, around 35,000 visitors flock to St. Moritz over three weekends in February not for the Swiss ski slopes or the legendary après-ski scene (though there is that, too), but for White Turf, the 111-year-old horse races held atop the ice- and?snow-covered?surface of one of the world’s most?exclusively situated lakes.?
For the fashion and art photographer Samuel Bradley, who attended and photographed all of the pomp and pageantry and behind-the-scenes activity at the 2018 proceedings for Vogue, White Turf and its multiple events—including?flat racing, harness racing, where horses pull a ski-mounted buggy, and?skijoring, where men on skis are pulled along a 2,700-meter track by unsaddled thoroughbreds—provided some new challenges. “The high-octane nature of the races themselves felt a little more outside of my usual remit,” said Bradley, who describes his usual work as “a careful mix of quiet incidental moments, idiosyncratic portraiture, and landscapes” and his style as slower and more deliberate. “I tried not to compromise my way of shooting for the sake of ‘freezing the action,’ ” said Bradley, who captured spectators in the requisite floor-length fur coats, horse trainers, and local children alongside the equine champions and international jockeys competing for the most generous cash prizes in Switzerland.
“It was important to me that I not be sucked into making images of the races that already exist. There were plenty of press photographers covering on superfast, high-tech digital cameras,” said Bradley of the events, which often kick up a large, shimmering cloud that, for the participants inside it, is not unlike blizzard conditions. “I let the restrictions posed by my more cumbersome, slow, analog cameras lead me away from the obvious.”