Jake Dockins (b. 1996) is an American artist who lives and works in Denton, TX. Working primarily with photos, Jake is interested in photography’s ability to alter perceptions of reality, and the ways technology and the internet influence the consumption of media. Jake’s work has been included in exhibitions at institutions such as Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (Gimpo, South Korea), 500X Gallery (Dallas, TX), Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Denver, CO), and Houston Center for Photography (Houston, TX). In 2019, a portfolio of Jake’s work received the second-place prize at the Society for Photographic Education South Central Portfolio Throwdown. Jake is currently pursuing his BFA at the University of North Texas and is expected to graduate in the Spring of 2020.
Bull riding is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous sports. Being on top of an animal fifteen times their weight, a rider is required to stay on a bull for eight seconds to be considered for score. I chose to photograph riders before and after their rides to contrast the overtly masculine outer appearance with a greater image of vulnerability coming through this collection of portraits. The uneasiness of the riders contradicts this hyper-masculine culture. Perceived weakness is looked down upon within groups of men, and this fragile side of the riders is apparent “backstage” before and after their rides in the arena. Experiencing this clash of two opposing sides in a stereotypical masculine sport fascinates me. It is a state between confidence and fear. A seemingly masculine appearance layers over the bull riders’ fragility, showing them as both powerful and boyish. The resulting photographs examine the condition of masculinity within American rodeo culture.
To view more of Jake Dockins’s work please visit his website.