Out of the Gate with ... Barbara Livingston
Barbara D. Livingston, chief photographer at Daily Racing Form, is one of America's most respected horse racing documentarians, having captured the sport she loves for nearly 40 years. She is the author of five books and her work has appeared in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Vanity Fair, GQ, People, TV Guide, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Livingston has twice been awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Photography.
Name: Barbara Livingston
What I do for a living: Horse racing photographer
How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: 1970s when, as a horse-crazy kid, my parents took me to the track.
My favorite racetrack: Hialeah
My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Travers Stakes
Other sports/teams I follow: Boston Red Sox … but I only really care if they’re in the World Series
What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: Horses being led with fewer than two handlers and lipshanks
What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Whipping
Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: I live to record it. (Yes … five words)
First Thoroughbred track I ever attended: Saratoga
Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Sip Sip Sip
My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: Photographing the (Breeders’ Cup-winning) broodmares Personal Ensign, My Flag and Storm Flag Flying together at Claiborne. Think of that history! On-track, photographing 17 of Cigar’s final 20 starts.
Best racetrack food can be found at: Oaklawn Park, which actually offers some healthy fare … and has since at least the mid-1990s
My favorite jockey: Randy Romero (retired)
My favorite trainer: H. Allen Jerkens
My heroes: Allen Jerkens, the Bronte Sisters, Mozart
Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: Allen Jerkens (surprise). Todd Pletcher would be mighty entertaining, too.
My philosophy on life: Try your best and do the right thing
Favorite quote or motto: I’m ready for my close-up.
Favorite animal other than a horse: Deer, perhaps because they look like little horses
Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Random Yankees game, in George Steinbrenner’s box
Favorite food: Not sure, but make it healthy, please.
Favorite vacation spot: Hialeah (or is it not a vacation when you have a camera and take photos?)
Favorite city: Saratoga Springs (yes, it’s a city, a little one)
Favorite musician/band: Morrissey, by 50 lengths over Peter Gabriel and Ben Folds
Favorite all-time movie(s): Rebecca, Sunset Boulevard, Rebel Without a Cause, Austin Powers
Favorite TV show: “The Simpsons,” but I don’t watch much TV. It's usually on the OTB channel.
Favorite hotel: Don’t care. Just give me big pillows and working A/C.
Websites I visit daily: DRF, Twitter, Facebook
What I drive: Red Toyota Corolla
Pet peeve: Grooms who automatically put a lip shank over even the kindest horse’s gums
Favorite movie about horse racing: Yankee Doodle Dandy
Which actor would play me in a movie: Ally Sheedy
Alma mater: Syracuse University
Favorite radio shows/channels: Anything alternative, NPR’s Car Talk
Best book I recently read: I don’t read books. I have bad vision so, unfortunately, it hurts to read much.
Favorite memento: Allen Jerkens’ straw hat (racing), my mom’s nursing cap (non-racing)
Favorite dessert: Mud pie
Favorite drink: Iced tea addict. Starbucks. Tazo. Black. Unsweetened.
Favorite scent: Wild roses and rose-scented soap
What I like about my job: Almost everything … including the physical act of photographing, especially if it’s challenging (rainstorms, odd places, dangerous situations …anything to get the heart racing). Recording the sport’s widely varied moments – great, good, bad and ugly. I especially love sharing photos and/or stories of lesser-known people in our sport, those so instrumental toward its success. I could go on and on and on with this question. My job is more than a passion … to borrow an old movie title, it’s a magnificent obsession.
Favorite tech gadget: Don’t care much about any, but I guess my iPhone
Twitter handle: @DRFLivingston
People I follow on Twitter: I don’t spend much time on Twitter.
No. 1 Bucket-List item: Ride a horse on the beach. Oh, and if it were in Australia, that would knock two things off the list.
How would you like to be remembered: For recording racing history well and for making people’s lives a little brighter.