Skip to content

Racehorses and Rock Lists! Photographer Barbara Livingston’s Top 10 Albums of All Time

January 28, 2009
Photo by Andrew Weiss

Barbara Livingston, Superstar: Photo by Andrew Weiss


In the few years that I’ve been shooting racing, I’ve heard several girls at the track say these words about themselves, “I’m going to be the next Barbara Livingston.” This comment is paradoxical: there is no heiress apparent to Barbara Livingston. If a young photographer wants to emulate Barbara Livingston, she must blaze her own trail, establish her own artistic voice, and be prepared to work harder than any other photographer at the track. Good luck with that ;^)

I first saw Barbara Livingston’s work when I was an embryonic racing fan, in my phase of gathering all the information I could about the sport. Her work is so rich- the eye repeatedly drifts over her images, finding new details and stories unfolding every time. I went to the track and hung on the rail, watching the photographers as much as I watched the horses. As I became entrenched in the world of racing and became a credentialed photographer myself, I learned that Barbara gets these images not by having the best camera or lens, but by being the hardest-working person in the industry. For every shot that everybody else gets while standing in a row like chumps, Livingston gets five angles and different exposures. When I’m at Saratoga shooting in the morning, I barely see her. I see everybody else in all the usual spots, but Barbara is off finding a bigger and better shot.

According to Barbara’s website, she studied the work of the people who shot such racing immortals as Man O’War and Citation: Skeets Meadors, Bert Clark Thayer, Allen Brewer, and C.C. Cook. She attended Syracuse University, graduating with a degree in Experimental Photography, and her work can be seen in top publications everywhere, racing and otherwise. Livingston has twice received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Photography, the most prestigious award in American racing. She penned four books, all illustrated with her photographs.

Barbara’s online gallery reflects versatility and mastery of her craft. She updates it almost every day and you will find everything from stunning Saratoga sunrises to creative and unique studies of familiar and beloved subjects to a treasure trove of archived photos of the racing superstars of yesteryear to dynamic photojournalism to the lighter side of racing to human portraits of great scope to stirring action shots to cinematic scenes rarely seen by the average racing fan.

In a nutshell, that’s Barbara Livingston The Photographer. Do you want to know another reason why nobody can be the next Barbara Livingston? She was (briefly) in a band (see photo above). In my convoluted quest to find the cosmic link between rock and racehorses, I asked Barbara Livingston to provide her list of the Top Ten Albums of All Time. Without further ado, here it is:

1.) Peter Gabriel – Hit. Oh, sure, it’s a greatest hits compilation..but as it includes ‘Solsbury Hill,’ ‘Mercy Street,’ ‘Here Comes the Flood,’ ‘Don’t Give Up,’ ‘Biko,’ etc., that’s OK by me. Peter Gabriel’s voice is singularly beautiful.

2.) Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs. I’m an old person – a sap for songs like ‘Fred Jones, Pt. 2’ and ‘Annie Waits.’ I love musical genius, and great pianists, and Folds fits the bill. He sings, sings backup, plays the piano, and guitar, and drums, and bass guitar – and writes great lyrics to boot.

3a and 3b.) The Smiths – greatest hits 1 & 2. They should have crammed the best into one album, so I’ll consider it one. What more could one ask for than the cheery ‘Girlfriend in a Coma,’ or ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ with its classic lines ‘…’if a double-decker bus/crashes into us/To die by your side/Is such a heavenly way to die’?

4.) Peter Gabriel – So. Because Peter Gabriel is…well, see above.

5.) Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman. He’s a bit angry in this one but it suits him.

6.) R.E.M. – The Best of R.E.M. I LOVE everything about R.E.M., including that Youtube video where Michael Stipe admits Peter Buck and Mike Mills are straight. That’s reason enough to vote R.E.M. in, but I did it for the music.

7.) The Best of Morrissey. Morrissey is as uplifting as I often feel. It was on the Throgs Neck Bridge where I first heard his unbelievable voice, some time in the mid- to late ’80s (‘How Soon Is Now’). Been a fan since.

8.) Jesus Christ Superstar. Nearly everything this Unitarian knows about the Bible is based upon Jesus Christ Superstar. Really. It was surprising to learn King Herod was so effeminate, for instance – but if Andrew Lloyd Webber says so it must be true.

9.) Supertramp – Crime of the Century. I was a teen when this came out, with a best friend whom I adored. We played this album over and over…and over. And over. The melodrama of ‘If Everyone was Listening’ and ‘Crime of the Century’ really touched our teen minds. My best friend died of AIDS many years ago, so this album reminds me of him.

10.) Rocky Horror Picture Show. Who doesn’t want to ‘jump to the left’ when singing loudly to this album? And who knew Janet and Brad, errr, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, could sing?

11.) The Very Best of Robert Palmer. How nice to have ‘Looking for Clues’ and ‘Johnny and Mary’ on one album. It didn’t hurt that Robert not only had a great voice, but he was mighty fine to look at.

Rock and Racehorses

Rock and Racehorses

12 Comments leave one →
  1. dangerouspenguin permalink
    January 28, 2009 2:46 am

    The website is a bit annoying, but the images are fantastic. And the lady has good taste in music by my standards — especially 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10.

  2. WendyU permalink
    January 28, 2009 6:10 pm

    Barbara rocks and she just moved up in my book (if that was even possible) because she had Morrissey and REM on her list! Evidently we have similar musical tastes.

    Great post! I have to laugh about Barbara getting different angles… a bunch of us were shooting Curlin cooling out after a work. In order to get a bit taller, I stood on the manure pile. There was Barbara shooting photos of a couple of us knee deep in the manure pile totally oblivious to her. I crack up when I think of it. One day I may get to see that lovely photo! LOL

  3. January 28, 2009 7:28 pm

    ROFL !

    Boy this makes my day. You have nooo idea how wide I’m grinnin’.

    I’ll get back you as soon I can compose myself. 😀

  4. January 29, 2009 10:50 am

    Well I clicked this link sent to me and wound up here
    fully expecting a mention of Robert Palmer somewhere in the text.

    So I glanced quickly at the photo thinking to myself:
    “hmm. Suzi Quatro meets Cherie Curie”.
    I didn’t know Ms. Livingston liked that kind of music. 😉

    Then it hit me and I just fell off my rocker!

    That was the cool chick that a certain geeky high school freshman
    on the school bus wanted to sit next to.
    Instead she’d always go to the back of the bus to “lite the fuse”.
    Lost opportunities !

    Anyway, that’s an interesting picture as the ‘big hair’
    covers her distinctive eyes. That bandana is perfectly placed
    with ‘inviting’ positioning of her hair.
    The photographer certainly knew what he was doing.

    The more I look at that, I guess K.C.’s tune Please Don’t Go
    was the wrong one to serenade on a forum so long ago.
    Next time I’ll be sure to look in the E.L.P. directories. 😉

  5. peter permalink
    December 15, 2010 7:58 am

    wow – had mo idea – i am speechless—

  6. jennifer permalink
    January 4, 2011 6:47 pm

    I was looking for an old photographer by the name of c.c. cook to find out more information on who he is where is he from and how known he was. Also when was the start of his career or year.


  1. Racehorses and Rock Lists! Photographer Bud Morton’s Top 10 Albums of All Time « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  2. Rock Lists and Valentines: Musician, Singer, and Songwriter Jonathan Andrew’s Top Ten Albums of All Time « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  3. Lensjockeys and Rock Lists: Photographer Holly Van Voast’s Top 10 Albums of All Time « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  4. The Kentucky Derby and Movie Lists: Jockey Joe Talamo’s Top Ten Movies of All Time « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  5. Ritual de lo Habitual: Photographer Charles Pravata’s Top Ten Albums of All Time « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  6. Belmont Stakes 2009: The Two Best Photos « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: