Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Paparazzi II: Star Struck

Tuesday May 12 2009

OK, I better fess up.

I must admit, I can get a little excited over certain celebrities. Some can make my heart pound, make me freeze up, lose my voice, some can make my knees tremble.

It was at Santa Anita park for the 2003 Breeders Cup, where I was shooting for a magazine.

There she was: Six Perfections, a magnificent black mare, stunning in her beauty. Never seen a horse like this before. Poised, classy, elegant - and a winner over the boys in the Mile. I gaped, I followed her around. I so wanted just to touch her sleek coat! I wanted her to look at me, to notice me. I wished I could yank out just a small lock of her mane to keep! She seemed so kind, like everybody's horse, like my horse.

Then don't EVEN ask me about Falbrav - my GOD he was stunningly gorgeous. HE made my knees weak. I fell in love with him instantly - love and obsession at first sight. I started following him around the backstretch, shadowing him to the track, stalking him around his barn. I knew he'd never notice me, he was way out of my league, but I could gawk. When he schooled in the paddock the day before Breeders Cup Day, I drooled over him; I swooned when he walked past me on race day. And as he was coming down the stretch in the Turf race - one of the best Breeders Cup races I have ever seen - don't ask me how I was able to shoot photos, because as he and High Chaparral and Johar were fighting neck and neck the last sixteenth mile, I was screaming, "OHMIGOD! OHMIGOD! OHMIGOD!" Falbrav fell short by just a neck, (Johar and High Chaparral dead-heated for first), and oh boy, I almost passed out.

Okay, so those were celebrity horses. There were a few human celebrities there who also made me a bit giddy.

There I was, among the elite horse and sports photographers from around the world, only one of 2 photographers there still shooting film. With my little Canon EOS Elan, and my little 1-300 zoom, I was pretty insignificant amongst some of the Big Photographers with their lenses so big they had an assistant just to carry the lens and tripod. Some lenses were as big as cannons. I was too timid to talk to any of them.

Well. One early morning me and my little camera and lens were ensconced in a row of Big Photographers leaning over the rail shooting the Breeders Cup horses on the track. I stepped back to take a breather in the shade, and found myself somewhat near two big photographers who started talking to each other. My heart started pounding when I heard names - Katie and Skip - and I realized: OH-MY-GOD! I am standing beside Katie Barrett and Skip Dickstein! Only two of the most famous and talented Thoroughbred racing photographers around! (IMO). I couldn't work up the nerve to speak to Skip, but when he walked off, I stepped up to Katey, my nerves fluttering, my tongue tied, and introduced myself. "I love your work!" (Ugh - don't fans always say that?) I don't think I made a fool of myself, though. She was quite gracious.

And to top that off, on Breeders Cup day I met, and even spoke with for a while, Barbara Livingston - only another of the most famous and talented Thoroughbred racing photographers on the planet! She was kind and pleasant too.

Lucky me - five celebs in two days! So I suppose all this proves that I do get star-struck at times.

Or maybe I just recognize and appreciate good talent, and I enjoy beauty.

Or at least that's how I could justify my actions and reactions, right?

(But seriously - how could this sight not stop your heart?)


Anonymous said...

Nice story

Horseshooter said...

LOL, Merri. :D

I have been known to gasp when shooting an extremely beautiful horse.