Chevy SSR Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
SSR Owners Group
Joined
·
3,753 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I wonder if this guy has heard of SSRfanatic???

Passion fuels North County race-car photographer

By: ANDREW PHELPS - For the North County Times

CARLSBAD ---- Back in high school, Richard Shute ogled the shiny chrome and bright colors of hot rods whenever he flipped through car magazines.

His uncle, more like an older brother, took him to drag strips in the Bay Area to watch races.

"I loved the excitement, I loved the people ---- the smell. In drag racing, the top cars run nitro methane, and it has a smell that's totally unique," Shute said Tuesday. "It makes your eyes water. You literally feel the ground move."


The fixation never faded, but it would take another decade for the diversion to form his livelihood. Now 54, Shute is a seasoned photographer who has shot drag racing and other stuff for three decades. He is the owner of Auto Imagery, in addition to North Coast Photographic Services, a full-service photo lab. The businesses share a Carlsbad office and 10 employees.

Last year, Shute's businesses together grossed about $800,000, he says, and recent accolades may fuel more growth soon. Earlier this month, readers of CompetitionPlus, an online drag-racing magazine, voted Shute the photographer of the year, along with longtime partner and employee Dave Kommel.

During the same week, Shute landed a deal for Auto Imagery to provide official photography for the National Hot Rod Association.

"I think what my parents thought of me being involved with automobiles is selling cars ---- and not taking pictures of races," he said with a laugh. During the electronics boom of the 1960s, when Shute was toying with college, his father drew him into the work of circuit-board printing.

But Shute kept going to races as a paying spectator, and taking pictures from the stands.

"One day, it dawned on me that there were guys down there in front with cameras," he said.

Shute had to get into the action. A writer-friend got him a photo pass, and any boy's dream was suddenly realized. Trackside, Shute fired away at the racers and cars he had come to idolize.

The photographers around him became mentors, offering criticism, and the racers became fans. He hung out with legends such as Vista's Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, John Force and Don Garlits ("Big Daddy" to racing fans).

When people took to buying his pictures, Shute's weekend income surpassed his factory paycheck. So he left and formed Vista Color, now North Coast Photo. Auto Imagery was a division of that company until it became big enough to incorporate separately.

Shute says he succeeded because he has always dared to be edgy and seek fresh angles. While other photographers shot with light, rapid-fire 35 mm cameras, Shute says he preferred the quality of his bulky medium-format camera, a Pentax 6x7. He says he captured things that people in the stands could not see ---- the drivers' emotions, for example, not just the fiery crashes.

Some of North Coast Photo's biggest clients are companies who embrace that break from convention, such as skate-culture powerhouses DC Shoes in Vista and Transworld Skateboarding Magazine in Oceanside.

Shute leaves the creativity up to his client, whereas most other studios shy away from the unconventional, he says. He would rather print, say, an ultra-contrasty 11x14 with sloppy borders over a wedding portrait any day. Likewise, "as a shooter, you're not going to tell (skateboarding legend) Tony Hawk how you want him," he said. "You're going to get Tony Hawk in his element."

Shute said he does enjoy shooting weddings, though ---- sometimes as many as 20 per year ---- as well as studio portraits and other projects. Having plunged into the digital realm early on, his company also touts its photo restoration services.

In fact, Shute wishes the industry could do more to attract amateurs and families who take hundreds of pictures on their digital point-and-shoots but never print them. In an upcoming building expansion, Shute is planning a "photo cafe," sort of like an Internet cafe with photography tutorials and editing workshops.

Far from retirement, Shute recently bought an RV to take his wife, Liz, and 15-year-old daughter, Alyson, to races. Ever an auto enthusiast, he drives an electric yellow Chevy SSR, a hot-rod convertible pickup, which is decked out in advertising for his business.

By now, Shute has logged thousands of miles, having shot in Australia, Japan and across Europe and the United States. He wouldn't trade it.

"It's allowed me to see all parts of the world that I probably never would have done had I become a foreman in some plant looking forward to my two weeks vacation."
 

Attachments

·
Tu-Tone club member
Joined
·
5,780 Posts
Talk about a success story......sounds more like the American Dream.

P/P

Peace:flag
 

·
Machell
Joined
·
20,829 Posts
Wow Richard, we have yet to meet at the races, came close once but that little ole hurricane got in the way!!!!:) Congrats on being able to pursue your dreams and have the world as your playground!!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
91 Posts
One of us.

Yes I am one of you. and thank you Wildcat and Purple Penelope for the kind words. It is nice to have a job or career that you like.


Richard H Shute:ssr
RHShute
 

·
Supporting SSR Hobbyist
Joined
·
10,107 Posts
What are you doing next Weekend?

Richard,

We would love to have you join us in Laughlin next weekend. It's gonna be a fun trip and a great getaway for all 50 SSRs currently planning to attend.

We need to hook you up with Joe & Lori (StepPrinting)........ Do you have plans?

Mike
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
91 Posts
Laughlin

Mike in AZ said:
Richard,

We would love to have you join us in Laughlin next weekend. It's gonna be a fun trip and a great getaway for all 50 SSRs currently planning to attend.

We need to hook you up with Joe & Lori (StepPrinting)........ Do you have plans?

Mike
I have to shoot a test & tune session @ Firebird Raceway that weekend, so sorry to miss this one. Maybe next run.

Richard H Shute
RHShute
 

·
Supporting SSR Hobbyist
Joined
·
10,107 Posts
Sorry to have missed you

Firebird Raceway is about 2 miles south-southeast of my house as the crow flies. Check the pinmap.

Next time you are coming to Firebird, or even Phoenix for that matter, please give me a PM or a call. My numbers can be found on the pinmap. I'd love to have the opportunity to provide some Arizona style hospitality.

My Best Regards,

Mike
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
91 Posts
Coming to Phoenix

I'll be back in about 5 weeks for the Nationals. I'll give you a call.

Thanks
Richard Shute
RHShute
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top