Last fall, the children of Skip Ball donated many of his negatives and slides to the MHBA library. What a treasure trove! The black and white negs start in late 1968, through January of 1986. They graced the pages of Maryland Horse from the mid 60s, through the 70s and early 80s. His photos were originally credited to Walter M. Ball, but the credit line later changed to Skip Ball.
Skip grew up at Atlanta Hall Farm, Monkton, where his father was trainer and superintendent for the late Edward S. Voss. His father, Walter N. Ball, called Wassie, rode the winner of the 1935 Grand National Steeplechase at Belmont Park, N.Y.
Skip's maternal grandfather was Matt Holden, who trained Billy Barton, one of the country's most celebrated steeplechasers who was the winner of the 1926 Maryland Hunt Cup. The great jumper is memorialized with a statue at Laurel Race Course.
"Unlike his grandfather and father, Skip himself was afraid of horses and he wouldn't ride or handle them," said Snowden Carter, retired editor of Maryland Horse magazine, "but he loved to take pictures of them."
One of his greatest photos was a 1979 shot of Spectacular Bid winning the Kentucky Derby, which won an Eclipse Award. He was also winner of the 1970 National Steeplechase and Hunt Association's photo award for a layout shot at Fair Hill. He was a cameramen for Channel 13, from March 1959, at 20, until he retired.
His first photo essay was published in February 1968, and the following month his name began appearing on the Maryland Horse masthead just below staff photographer Peter Winants'. The negatives we now have as part of our photo archives begin with a photo shoot of the Queen's Guard in their first US appearance at Philadelphia in September 1968. The photos were published in our October 1968 issue.