After assisting a slew of legendary New York photographers including Terry Richardson, Dan Martensen and Ryan McGinley, Photographer Eric Chakeen was ready to produce his own work. When he came to us with his racetrack series, we loved the originality. These photographs document a subtly disquieting space, its inhabitants apparently lost in a paradise of nostalgia. Enjoy the following photos selected exclusively for Allday as well as a Q&A, below.
How did you end up spending so much time around this horse track field?
I grew up going to the Del Mar Racetrack. My parent's house is two blocks away and I can walk there in five minutes. It’s the only big draw in the small beach town where I grew up, so it naturally attracted my attention. Having lived in New York for seven or eight years, my fascination with the place grew every time I returned home, and eventually realized I wanted to explore it much further.
There is a strange soporific feeling that emanates from these photos. Do you agree?
I’m not sure I agree with soporific, though close. I think there is a feeling of a comedown after a climax. The calm and mellow euphoria that occurs after a peak is the sense I get from them, and from the place itself. The races last less than two minutes and the entire range of human emotion occurs in this brief span, so the moments where I photographed these people are almost always right after this intense experience. The rise and fall of emotion, combined with the 75 degrees and the beachfront locale gives it a laxidazical and almost hallucinatory feeling of a place too mellow and pastoral for such a visceral and active environment.
What do have in mind with this series for the future?
I’m working on laying out the images for a book at the moment. Same goes for a show, I haven’t found a venue as of yet for the images. The layout will be finished shortly though and I will be putting it out within a month or so.