2020 and His Last Photo Tour.
THE LAST PHOTO TOUR
By John DiBartolomeo December 31, 2019
"It is with some sadness that I formally announce my retirement from the NHRA major events following next November’s Auto Club Finals in Pomona. A couple of heart problems followed by surgery, and then hearing the dreaded word “cancer,” absolutely got my attention and gave me reason to re-consider that decision five years ago.
Maybe I should have walked away then but I’m glad I used those years to continue shooting the cars and people I’ve really come to love during my six-plus decades of drag racing. I’ll turn 75 next August, and that seems to be a nice round number at which to call it a day.
I do feel that I’ve been very lucky to have lasted so long in the dog-eat-dog, cutthroat business that is drag racing photography. In some respects today’s remaining still shooters have it a bit easier, but the new day has brought with it its own challenges, not the least of which is the on-going demise of many of the monthly drag racing magazines upon which my early career depended.
It’s somewhat ironic that the quality of the images produced by today’s top-of-the-line DSLRs seems to have convinced some people that they’re suddenly full-fledged professionals. Add into the mix the skills they develop with programs like Photoshop and Lightroom and one is forced to ask what really constitutes an “honest” photograph in 2020.
Knowing this will be misunderstood, I’ll nevertheless suggest that the more restrictive rules photographers have been forced to adhere to at the major races has resulted in a decline in the quality of the images now being produced by and for the sport. Some of the best photographic angles have been arbitrarily eliminated due to the personal likes and dislikes of someone without sufficient knowledge on the subject, as has been the use of strobe lights – a decision apparently reached without scientific evidence that a strobe light was ever a factor in impacting drag racing’s electronic timing equipment."
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