When Eakin was awarded a DPPF grant in 2022, he was a recent graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and was working as a freelance photographer in North Carolina. He had shot for Getty Images, the Los Angeles Times, NASCAR, and the World Curling Federation.

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Eakin shares back stories for two photos from his grant-winning portfolio.

This image was shot on the second day of the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, NE. That evening there were no clouds on the horizon so the sunset streamed across the arena until around 8:30pm. I went up into the bleachers to get a clean background (rodeos have notoriously cluttered backgrounds) during the Tie-Down Roping event and waited for someone to ride into the sunset.

Sports portraits are something I have always loved shooting. This portrait was shot for the final portfolio assignment in my Location Lighting class at RIT. At the beginning of the semester, I’d shot a demo image here for another assignment. During that critique, my professor said the location would be cool for a basketball portrait. Keeping that in my mind all semester, I went back with one of the RIT basketball players for my final.

The DPPF is thrilled to be able to further Jeff’s promising career!