(Photo Credit: Berkeley, 2003 by Ellen Rennard)

Selected by juror Katherine Ware for the Center’s “Portfolio ShowCase Volume 4,” Ellen Rennard’s black-and-white photographs are both equestrian and pedestrian—with a focus on the waning culture of horseracing in New Mexico. Over the past couple of years, Rennard’s photographs have garnered recognition as a Flak Photo, as a feature in Fraction Magazine, as a Top 50 selection in Photo Lucida’s Critical Mass in 2009 and, most recently, as a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography. For the most up-to-date news and views from Ellen Rennard, you can visit her blog, Quintessence, by clicking HERE.

Discussing her inspiration for her work and its relevance today, Rennard’s artist statement reads:

“Forty years ago, horseracing was the most popular spectator sport in America. Around that time, I rode a horse on the exercise track at Arlington Park. Decades later, I returned to photograph at The Downs at Albuquerque, a racetrack at the New Mexico state fairgrounds. Focusing on the people, horses, and trappings of ordinary life, I chose black and white film and silver gelatin prints to suggest the look of photographs from the heyday of racing. 

In spite of what still remains, horseracing has declined in recent years; crowds have thinned, and many small and mid-level tracks have closed. Many insiders now view horses merely as ‘product,’ and tracks increasingly depend on casinos to provide revenue. Still, at The Downs, vestiges of the past exist in the shadows of the grandstand that overlooks the finish line, and, in spite of the odds, true horsemen and women endure. For them, the horse still matters.”

(Photo Credit: Blinkers, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Corazon de Jesus, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Cowboy’s Fly Mask, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Jazz Time Boy, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Johanna Fastening the Girth, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Kayna’s Ponytail, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Mane, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Ponce, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Presence, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Resting, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Tacking Up, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

More of Ellen’s work can be found at: