All Images © 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 - Bill Straus • Warning: Our images are marked with both visible and invisible watermarks.
M E E T B I L L S T R A U S
A professional photographer since 1973, Lexington native Bill Straus earned an AA degree in Social Sciences from Lindsey Wilson College, named Distinguished Alumnus of 2023, and a BS degree in Business Administration from Western Kentucky University before beginning his photographic career shooting football games for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
By 1977 he was a full-time professional, working for a Lexington television station and later for an advertising design firm. Since 1978 Bill has been free-lancing in the diverse areas of equine, sports, commercial, and advertising photography.
In 1984 Bill was honored with the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Photography in Thoroughbred Racing for his photograph of the dramatic finish of the inaugural Breeders' Cup Classic, which appeared on the cover of The Thoroughbred Record. In 1986 he received an Eclipse Award Honorable Mention for his photograph of jockey Bill Shoemaker draped in the traditional blanket of roses after winning the 1986 Kentucky Derby aboard Ferdinand.
Bill's photographs have appeared on more than 250 magazine covers, including 63 for The Thoroughbred Record alone.
Among the many publications which have included his images are Sports Illustrated, The Blood-Horse, Pacemaker (England), Hong Kong Racing World, Fleetwood Mac concert programs, Sky Magazine, Lexington Magazine, and Keeneland Magazine. Bill's photographs also have appeared in University of Kentucky football and basketball programs and NCAA Basketball Tournament programs (the NCAA named Bill the official photographer of the National Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the 1985 and 1986 Final Four).
In addition to his duties as publicity photographer for the Keeneland Association, Bill has photographed major Thoroughbred races throughout the United States, including six Breeders' Cups (he was the official photographer for racing's premier event from 1984-1987) and every Kentucky Derby since 1978. Bill also was the recipient of the 1986 George B. Featherston Photojournalism Award for continuing excellence in equine photography, given by The Thoroughbred Record and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
In addition, Bill has received awards from the Kentucky Professional Photographers Association, Kentucky Arts Commission, Mamiya Cameras, Lexington Advertising Club, and the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Bill was chosen to be Queen Elizabeth II's personal photographer during her private visits to Central Kentucky in 1989 and 1991. Among the clients for whom Bill has done work in recent years are Coca-Cola, GTE, Bank One, Jordan-Chiles, Blue Grass Airport, and Kentucky Utilities Company.