Famous golf photographers
Who are the most famous golf photographers?
Golf photography is a specialized field that has two distinct branches. Some famous golf photographers specialize in photographing golf tournaments, some in golf course photography, while some do both, and some do much more than golf. We’re not discriminating against any genre. Here are our top past and current legends of golf photography listed alphabetically.
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David Cannon has been around forever, it seems. His career in golf photography got a kick-start when he took the iconic images of Seve Ballesteros raising his hand in the air, celebrating his Open Championship win on the 18th green of St Andrews Old Course in 1984. That was more than 30 years ago, and in the following years Cannon has taken pictures at more than 100 golf majors, becoming one of the most famous golf photographers in sports history. His images regularly appear in Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest and Time. He’s photographed the greatest golfers, including Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to name a few. His golf course photography is equally memorable, with amazingly beautiful aerial photos of golf courses. He has published numerous golf photography books, including Golf Courses: Great Britain and Ireland.
There aren’t many women among the world’s most famous golf photographers, but Joann Dost, originally from Virginia, is an exception. She started off as a golf professional, taught by her father (a former Olympic speed skater). Dost played five years on the LPGA tour in the late 1970s, after which she started seriously pursuing a career in golf photography. She started using a Mamiya Sekor camera and took photography courses with great landscape photographers including Ansel Adams. Residing in Pebble Beach since 1977, her most known golf course photographs are from the Monterey Peninsula.
Interested in more than famous golf photographers? Read our tips on how to make amazing golf course photos.
Harold “Doc” Edgerton
Harold “Doc” Edgerton (1903-1990) became known for his multi-strobe images of moving people, animals and objects, bringing together art and technology into images that capture the beauty of motion. And what is more beautiful to a golfer than a ‘perfect’ swing? Edgerton’s black and white images of Bobby Jones’s swing have become a part of golf history. Harold Eugene Edgerton, also known as ‘Papa Flash,’ was born in Fremont, Nebraska in 1903. His uncle Ralph was a studio photographer, and Harold quickly gained interest in the art of photography, especially the technical aspect of the trade. After achieving a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Harold joined General Electric in Schenectady, New York in 1925 for a one-year research position. There he saw a strobe for the first time, and it made a great impression on him. With his ‘Stroboscope’, Edgerton made some of the most iconic images of the 20th century: of bullets stopped in mid-flight after piercing a balloon, flying birds and many sports, among them golf.
John & Jeannine Henebry (The Henebrys)
John and Jeannine Henebry, a California based brother-sister team, have worked as golf course photographers for over 25 years. Their golf photographs frequently appear in major golf magazines such as Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Originally from Chicago they both ended up in California after Jeannine began studying at the Art Center in Pasadena, where Ansel Adams once taught. They are dedicated to large format photography produced with ‘old-fashioned’ film cameras, even when most golf course photographers have moved to digital formats. The golf course photos that brought them initial fame were from PGA West’s Stadium Course, photographed during its creation. During their 30-year career they have worked internationally on hundreds of golf courses.
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Laurence Casey Lambrecht, from Bridgehampton on Long Island, New York is one of the top golf photographers of our time. His most famous photograph may well be that of Payne Stewart celebrating on the 18th green at Pinehurst at the 1999 US Open. Earlier in his career, he often covered tour events for international publications. These days, however, his main focus is golf course photography. His eye for golf course photographs has brought acclaim, based on images of famous courses such as Oakland Hills, Shinnecock Hills, Black Diamond and Royal County Down. His partnership with US Open ‘doctor’ Rees Jones has resulted in calendars and the book Classic Golf : The Work of Rees Jones. Other Lambrecht productions include Emerald Gems – The Links of Ireland and the award-winning Where Golf is Great, produced with writer James Finegan.
Golf photographer Lawrence Levy died from cancer at only 47 years old, in 1995. Originally from London, he had spent more than 20 years photographing international golf tournaments, and was world-reknowned as lead photographer at Golf World and the official photographer of the European Ryder Cup team. One of his most famous golf images was of Larry Mize mid-jump after sinking his final putt to win The Masters. Levy’s friends included Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Greg Norman. In 2013, the Special Collections Division of the University of St Andrews Library featured an exhibition of iconic golf photography drawn from a collection of over 200,000 Lawrence Levy photographs. He documented players, equipment, courses and spectators, showing the development of golf and the human side of the sport during the second half of the 20th century.
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Kevin Murray studied visual communication at college and was working as an art director at a British ad agency that had Callaway Golf as a customer. When he, on behalf of Callaway, needed advertising campaign photos of a St Andrews Links Trust golf course at the Home of Golf in Scotland, he couldn’t find any that met his specifications. So he decided to take the golf course pictures himself. It didn’t take long until the St Andrews Links Trust hired him to take photos of all of their courses. His career was suddenly on a new track. He went from from art director working with top golf photographers to becoming a golf photographer himself. He is staff photographer for Golf Monthly and for the golf management company Troon Golf.
Hy Peskin took the most famous photo in golf: Ben Hogan elegantly poised after he’s just flushed a 1-iron (!) to the 18th green at the 1950 US Open at Merion. It looks so perfect, and portrays a ‘miracle’ of golf. Doctors had proclaimed that Hogan’s golf career was over after he had almost been killed in a car accident. Hogan, in agony from physical pain, needed a par on the final hole to force a playoff. Taken from behind, we identify completely with the greatest golfer of the day. The photograph is a part of golf history. Strangely enough, not many people who know the image can name the photographer today. Hy Peskin was a sports photographer, and took many great photos in other sporting arenas. Born in 1915 in Brooklyn to Russian immigrants, Peskin started his career shooting the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbet’s Field. He became one of the most revered sports photographers in American history.
George Sealy “Photo” Pietzcker (1885-1971) was one of golf’s greatest photographers, at the height of his career in the ‘Golden Age’ between 1910 and the mid-1930s. During that time he photographed all the major golf tournaments in the United States and created more than 15,000 images. He was born in Sour Lake, Texas, and as a young man he attended the Illinois College of Photography. At the tender age of 21 he decided to specialize in golf photography. His work first appeared in Golfers’ Magazine in Chicago, and later in the major golf periodicals such as American Golfer and Golf Illustrated. Pietzcker covered the 1913 U.S. Open for Golf, an early publication of the USGA. There he took what would turn out to be historic images of Francis Ouimet, who won the tournament. It wasn’t long until Pietzcker was hired as the official photographer of the USGA. For the next two decades he photographed golf tournaments across the USA. The most stunning part of his collection is a series he called “National Golf Champions,” portraits of notable golfers of his day.
St Andrews, besides being the Home of Golf, was also the first town in the English-speaking world to have its people, architecture, natural environment (including its golf courses) meticulously documented in photographs. This is the reason we have such early photographs from the dawn of the modern golf game in the mid-19th century. Thomas Rodger (1832-1883) was the first professional photographer in St Andrews, Scotland and his photos of Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris and other St Andrews golf legends are truly iconic. He studied at the University of St Andrews. In 1856 Rodger was one of the founding members of the Photographic Society of Scotland and was awarded the Edinburgh Photographic Society Medal. The plaque outside what was his house and studion in St Andrews says, “The first professional photographer in St. Andrews, he was taught the calotype process by Dr John Adamson, who induced him to make it his life’s work. His pictorial record of the town, its people, the fisher folk and eminent visitors, brought him great fame. His favour with visiting royalty gave him journeys to London on Royal Photographic missions. He built this house and in it the first photographic studio in the town. Brewster, the Adamsons and Rodger made St. Andrews a world centre of photography.”
David Scaletti is one of the world’s most famous golf course photographers and has shown off his work in the impressive Planet Golf – The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America, written by Darius Oliver. After completing a BA in photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1988 he spent ten years working in advertising and commercial photography. After the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 1998 Scaletti started a new career photographing golf courses. He says the move was spurred by not being able to find a quality calendar of local golf courses in his native Australia. Books that feature his photography include The Sandbelt – Melbourne’s Golfing Heaven and Australia’s Finest Golf Courses.
Evan Schiller was working as an assistant golf pro at Westchester Country Club when he had the great idea of making prints of his photographs of golf courses in order to sell them from the pro shop. During his subsequent 20-year career as a golf course photographer he’s taken photos of hundreds of courses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Japan. Renowned golf courses Schiller has photographed include Pebble Beach, Augusta National, and Ballybunion. He is a strong believer in the power of height, taking golf course photographs from cherry pickers, helicopters and drones. His golf photography is featured in books such as Golf Courses of Hawaii and Golf’s Unfolding Drama.
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