I had the pleasure to speak with Aaron Paschal, a photographer and college football fan who has combined these two passions into something all SEC fans will enjoy. Today, he speaks with us about a recent visit to Commonwealth Stadium at the University of Kentucky and shares some of the excellent photos of the stadium.
What was your favorite image of Commonwealth Stadium and why?
The picture of the scoreboard is my favorite image because I love the cloud formations behind the scoreboard and how the sky seems to be Kentucky Blue! I also like the fact that it has C.M. Newton Field and Commonwealth Stadium all in the same photo.
Compared to other stadiums, what makes Kentucky’s special?
I think a lot of fans across the country overlook Kentucky’s football program. The stadium is bigger than it looks on television and there seems to be a sense of excitement in the air surrounding the new coaching staff.
With all the great views inside the stadium, what’s the best place to sit?
My favorite view inside of Commonwealth Stadium is the northwest endzone. This gives you a great view of the field along with a nice view of the scoreboard. “I’m trying to find tickets in that section now!”
Who are some of your favorite retired players painted along the walls of Commonwealth Stadium?
As far as players I’d have to say Dermonti Dawson. He was great at Kentucky, and was a dominant player on the Pittsburgh Steeler’s offensive line for twelve years. I also like the fact that he played his highschool and college football in Lexington and returned there after he retired from the NFL.
But the name that jumps out at me the most is Bear Bryant. I don’t think most college football fans realize/remember that Bear Bryant coached eight seasons at Kentucky , “he was at Kentucky the same time as legendary Wildcat basketball coasch Adolph Rupp” before he coached at Texas A&M and eventually Alabama.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your stadium project?
I am a self-taught photographer, a HUGE Ohio State fan, and a big fan of college football in general. I got into photography about four years ago and I’m always looking for new projects to shoot and techniques to experiment with. I was growing frustrated and bored with photography before I began photographing college football stadiums.
My stadium project began last June when I took my nephew and a group of his high school teammates to Ohio State’s summer football camp. One morning I dropped them off at the Woody Hayes center and went over to Ohio Stadium just to walk around and take some photos from outside of the stadium. I was lucky enough to bump into a stadium worker who was nice enough to let me inside the stadium.
I’ve been to numerous games at Ohio Stadium but there’s something special about sitting inside the stadium all by yourself. It gives you time to reminisce about all of the great players and coaches who have roamed the sidelines, and replay all of the great, “and heartbreaking moments” that are part of the stadium’s lore. Looking back I realize that I was hooked at that very moment!
I left Columbus that weekend re-energized about my photography. I finally found a project that I was passionate about as well as one that allows me to combine three of my favorite things: traveling, photography, and college football.
Whenever I travel I contact the schools that I will be close to and ask permission to visit/photograph the stadiums. I’ve found that most stadiums are open to the public on weekdays but I always contact the schools ahead of time to make sure before I travel. So far all of the schools that I have photographed have been great at granting me access to the stadiums and some have even offered guided tours.
This started as a personal project for me until I hung a picture of Ohio Stadium in my office. One of my co-workers bought the photo and encouraged me to create a website to share my images with other college football fans across the nation and the response has been unbelievable! Since creating my website I’ve talked to soldiers serving in Iraq, became friends with a Michigan fan, been encouraged to shoot stadiums from UCLA to Florida and nearly every where in between. This stadium project has been great for my soul!
How can we get prints of your Kentucky football photos?
Large format prints are available to purchase at www.wix.com/ap2isme/stadium.
All images are printed on high quality, heavy weight satin or metallic photo papers. They look best when they are framed and matted. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.