Like the rest of us, athletes across the sporting world have a lot of time on their hands right now. That means plenty of opportunities to sit and reflect on what’s next in life because playing sports professionally isn’t something a person can do forever. Many athletes struggle with this transition, finding it difficult to essentially start over and go back to rookie status in a totally different world.
As Chona Kasinger found out while on assignment for ESPN, former NFL quarterback — or, more pertinently, current winemaker — Drew Bledsoe does not have this problem. Chona, who is partly based in Seattle, went to Walla Walla, Washington to visit Drew at Doubleback Winery, which the former New England Patriot has owned since 2007.
This was my first assignment with ESPN. The ask was pretty straightforward: I was to grab interiors/exteriors of the space and environmental portraits of Drew at his winery.
The writer and I met Drew at Doubleback, his winery in Walla Walla. Bruce had a sit down with him, then we got a tour of the space. While they spoke, I was able to get a sense of the space and how Drew fit into it.
As someone who has been in front of cameras for the majority of his adult life, Drew Bledsoe is the kind of accommodating subject that photographers like Chona love to shoot. Not only was Drew fun to be around, he clearly knew his stuff.
Drew was great and really easy to work with. He was very conscientious of my role as a photographer and made every effort to make my job easy by doing little things like moving things out of the way and offering suggestions on props.
He also seems to have a real passion for winemaking and everything that comes with it.
Despite a snowstorm starting up while the shoot was taking place, Chona had a great time and got imagery that pleased ESPN. She really enjoyed exploring the large winery and hopes to return when the weather is a bit more pleasant.
The space was really nice — chic and minimal, yet cozy.
My favorite shots are the flashier ones snapped in the cellar — I think Drew’s personality shines in those. All in all, it was a super fun and very memorable experience. But I can’t wait to go back when the weather is warmer!
See more of Chona’s work at chonakasinger.com.
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