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Dave Friedman

For me the greatest challenge about photography is getting the shot that no one else can, or will, get. Whether it is motor racing, motion picture still photography, or shooting classical ballet performances, the challenge has always there for me. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s most of us had the freedom to roam at will around the inside or the outside of a racing circuit and capture the action close up. We were also able to roam through the pit and paddock area and we were able to visit with the different teams and drivers. We knew everyone on a first name basis and, more importantly, they all knew us.

1969 - Parnelli Jones (15) and Mark Donohue (6)

Racing cars, 1969

Sadly, those days are gone forever. I loved to capture the action on the track but I knew that much of what went on behind the scenes, and in the pits, was very important also. So much of the drama of motor racing was played out in the pits, particularly at night. I loved shooting at night because it was a tremendous challenge to capture the mood of the pit action with the film and equipment that we had available to us at that time. Everything had to be shot with available, or sometimes unavailable, light since flash photography was absolutely prohibited in the night pits during that period.

Spartacus

Spartacus, 2005

The photographing of classical ballet performances has become my newest and biggest challenge. Since I am working on performances where the theatrical lighting is completely beyond my control, I have a different type of challenge. How do I stop the dancers when they are in the air and there is almost no light with which to photograph them? The answer is that, as we say in the film business, you “push the envelope”. You throw away the book and you improvise on every aspect of your knowledge to get the shot, because getting the shot is what you are there to do. The results are often spectacular and the incredible dancers, costumes, sets, and moods are captured forever.

I have often been asked when I will retire. The answer to that question is: NEVER. There are far too many wonderful challenges out there for me to conquer and I will never be able to stop shooting until the art of photography challenges me no more.

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