Vince Caligiuri – In the black

Vince Caligiuri’s photography career started at a large Australian newspaper as soon as he finished school. Developing a passion for both black and white photography and horses, when brought together the results were stunning.

My photography career began after finishing high school, when I started working in the photo library and darkroom for The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia.

It wasn’t until 1994 that I started shooting full time. That was also the year I covered my first Spring Carnival; I couldn’t believe it – getting paid to go to the horse races was a dream come true!

I covered track work every day for about five weeks alongside amazing journalists such as Les Carlyon. My job was to produce high-quality images to run alongside his amazing features. It was a fantastic grounding to start my career in photography.

As I lived close to the Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne, I always had an interest in racing. When I was around 16 years old, I started going to the races and positioning myself at the home turns on Saturdays to try and get as many sharp pictures as I could with my classic camera I learned with. It was a state of the art camera at the time but is now a relic.

As a sports photographer for The Age for almost twenty years, I was lucky to cover every sporting event each year including four Olympics and two soccer World Cups, but my passion was covering the Spring Carnival each year.

Most of all, I enjoyed the early morning trackwork sessions, watching the sunrise come up with the sound of horses galloping, and steam coming off them as they returned to the stables – you couldn’t ask for much more to photograph beautiful images.

Photographing at the city race tracks in the morning can be difficult these days with so many rules and regulations to abide by. Most of the horses I capture for the newspapers are all Group 1 racers that are trained in the dark and to the minute. You can’t really ask a head trainer like Chris Waller to gallop his prize-winning Winx again for the camera!

The only option was to snap the horses being washed down or when they went to the beach. They are always my favourite images as the horses are more relaxed.

When I first started working at The Age, I recall spending my spare time looking at all the old black and white photos of racing legends such as Pharlap, Tulloch, and Bernborough. I used to think how great it would have been to be there with a camera.

Now, all those years later here I am, having photographed modern day champions such as Makybe Diva, Black Caviar, and Winx.

My passion for horseracing continued, and for the past five years I’ve been a freelance photographer for Getty Images, and can happily say I cover horseracing 12 months of the year.

Follow Vince on instagram at vinnycenzo_ig

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