Hawthorne Racecourse (3/5/11)
Contact: Ron Uchman
THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY?
Of course they do. They also shoot riders, trainers, owners, fans, virtually anything. No, they aren’t merciless killers.
Four Footed Fotos, the crack team of photographers contracted by Hawthorne Race Course to take action shots and Winner’s Circle photos, is among the best in the business. Their products hang in the homes and offices of said owners, trainers, riders, and of anybody wishing to own a beautiful picture of an equine hero. They are located on Hawthorne’s lower level, in the corridor leading to the general offices.
Doug Clark, the owner of Four Footed Fotos, travels often and was not available for this interview but he has two very capable assistants in Kelsey and Tia who, reluctantly, sat for this interview. They would rather their work speak for them.
Kelsey Byers has been one of Hawthorne’s track photographers since March of 2008. A graduate of Columbia College, she started working here almost immediately after college.
“I started with photography in high school. I found this job on Craigslist. I’ve pretty much been into horses my whole life, I have one of my own, so I got really excited when I saw the posting because I would be able to be around them the whole time and still be able to shoot.
“I have a really good image editing and digital photography background from Columbia. The job I had (briefly) before this was in editing. I was editing pictures of real estate. It was boring. Not like this.
Tia Brooks also attended Columbia College but she finished her degree at the Art Institute. She earned a Bachelor of Arts.
“I studied film making. I went to New York to try to make it work but it didn’t happen. So, I went back to school and got a degree in photojournalism. I started looking for a job and, like Kelsey, found the listing for this on Craigslist.
“I had never been to a track before. I didn’t know what horse racing was about. Here I am two years later. I Love it! I’m obsessed with in…in a good way of course. I could have never predicted that I would be in a position like this but I do love it. I like the job. I love the horses. I like racing. It’s definitely unique.
“We are incredibly efficient,” said Byers. “We gets things done fast. We use high-end equipment. I don’t think many realize how hard we work, everything is hand corrected, to get a great product done quickly. We can usually get the finished product out 30 minutes or so after a race.
Most of their customers are horsemen but racing fans often walk in to get a picture or two, especially after big races. Four Footed Fotos does have a racetrack special; if you buy six photos, you get one free.