Track photographer Geri Schwarz and Bea Witten of Horseman and Fair World magazine were named winners in the annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced today.
Jim Leary and Carol Cramer, with photos appearing in Hoof Beats magazine, as well as Kimberly Fisher of Trot magazine, received honorable mentions.
The contest was sponsored by harness racing executive Jeff Gural.
Schwarz won in the race category for a photo taken in a torrential downpour at Monticello Raceway. The picture appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Oct. 8, 2011.
"Extreme weather provides the backdrop for this photo depicting the spirit of driver and horse under harsh conditions of driving rain and water and mud being kicked up during the race," judge Jerry Millevoi said. "The outside driver's expression portrays the skill and resolve to control his horse in difficult conditions while driving hard to the finish line.
"To his inside, the danger of the situation can be seen as a driver tries to regain control of his horse on a break as they splash through the water."
Leary received honorable mention for a photo ofand driver George Brennan racing in the stretch of the Hambletonian. The picture appeared on the cover of the September issue of Hoof Beats.
"Razor sharp with great color, driver and horse both possess looks of determination," Millevoi said. "Dirt kicks up under the sulky, where the driver sits in an almost horizontal position. A nice stop-action moment."
Witten won in the feature category for a photograph of Jean-Pierre Dubois leading Crys Dream to the paddock for the Hambletonian Oaks. The photo appeared in the Aug. 17, 2011 issue of Horseman and Fair World magazine. Witten also won a Smallsreed Award in 2010 and 2007.
"My eye was immediately directed to the serious expression on the man's weathered skin, which conveyed a sense of hard work, and the downward position of his head, as though deep in thought. Nice composition and exposure."
Cramer received honorable mention for a photograph of silhouetted horses at the entrance to a barn as daylight fades at Midland Acres in Ohio. It appeared in the April issue of Hoof Beats.
"Beautiful golden light reveals a peaceful moment," Millevoi said. "Long deep shadows and silhouettes of horses' bowed bodies draw the eye to the center of the frame. Dramatic light and moving composition; the only thing that would have added to this image would have been if one horse's head was in an upright position."
Fisher received honorable mention for a photograph of driver and horse scoring down alone at Rideau Carleton. The picture appeared in the February issue of Trot.
"Taken under track lighting, I liked the feeling of solitude -- one driver and one horse almost being swallowed up by the vast track that surrounds them," Millevoi said. "The photographer's tilt of the horizon added further drama to this image. The photographer also kept the rule of thirds in mind by placing the driver and horse in the right third of the frame as opposed to dead center."
Judge Jerry Millevoi is an award-winning photographer who has photographed a variety of subjects from lifestyle to travel and sports in his 30-year career. He has covered sports in the Philadelphia area, from professional to college, and frequently does work for area athletic programs, such as Villanova. His photos have appeared in numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated. He also teaches courses in photography and film in history at a local college.
Schwarz and Witten will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards dinner, to be held Feb. 12, at the DoubleTree Hilton at SeaWorld of Orlando.
For tickets to attend the banquet contact Steve Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org; to take out a congratulatory ad in the Dinner Journal, contact Kim Rinker at email@example.com.
Discounted room rates, available until Jan. 16, at the DoubleTree can be made by calling 800.327.0363.
by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications