THE HORNSTEIN STORY
Bill Hornstein has been honored by The European Photography Awards, Communication Arts, Graphis, The Spyder Awards, The London Photography Awards and American Photography. And appeared in Golf Digest, The Golfer’s Journal, USGA’s The Golf Journal, Caddie Magazine and Sports Illustrated.
My passion for golf started when my friends and I founded the Brewmaster Golf Tournament as a way to keep in touch as we got older. The prize? A green thrift store jacket I had embroidered with the words “Brewmaster Champion.” 30 years later — fluctuating around a 10-12 handicap — I’ve taken home the coveted green jacket more times than any of my friends.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion each day?
I am always excited for the next project. For me, there is nothing like going to a new club wide-eyed, excited and full of energy. Everything is fresh and new and it gets me going when I think of all the possibilities.
How can I best show this club, this course, this particular hole to make people say “Wow, I want to play there.”
You worked for a number of years as the lead person at a major creative agency in the Los Angeles area. What was that like and what skillsets were engaged on a daily basis?
I spent nearly 20 years working at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles and New York working as a Creative, Art Director on accounts like Pepsi, Visa, Apple, Nissan, Infiniti, Michelin and Adidas to name a few. It was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to create award winning advertising for our clients and travel the world to our various offices.
In addition to coming up with ideas and creating the look, tone and feel for these advertising campaigns, one of my main duties was to hire and supervise professional photographers to execute those ideas.
I learned a lot from some of the best commercial and fine art photographers in the world and lean back on those experiences in my own photography today.
What prompted you to get involved with golf photography?
Photography was a passion of mine early on. I remember getting a camera when I was ten years old and was just fascinated. I’ve been actively shooting ever since.
Once golf became another passion, I just knew there would be a time when the two would come together and finally in 2017 I said to myself, “if not now, then when?”
So, I spend that year crafting my golf photography skills and shooting a portfolio of work that I was finally proud of and in 2018 started shooting golf full time.
What’s the greatest challenge in capturing the essence of a golf hole via a camera?
It’s often difficult to show the hills and undulations on golf courses so I do a fair amount of retouching on each and every shot I take. I play with light, shadows and color, to make the hole as flattering as possible without looking fake.
It can be a lot of work but in the end it’s worth the extra time in order to make each and every shot as beautiful as possible.
Biggest mistake people make when taking photos outside — especially golf ones is what?
Shooting at the wrong time of day. Great light makes for great photos and that’s why most every landscape photographer shoots early morning and late afternoon to capture the long streaky shadows created by the sun when its low in the sky.
This can’t be faked so when the sun is directly overhead and making the golf course look flat is when I put my cameras away and find something else to do.
For those interested in photography — what specific types of cameras would you recommend using in working outdoors.
In my opinion people focus way too much on equipment. Spend your time learning lighting and good composition instead of pouring over the latest specs of the newest camera.
My advice on equipment is to find photographers who are taking the kinds of photos you want to take and ask them what equipment they use.
Start with a camera body and a single lens so you can learn its strong points and limitations. And then go out and shoot, shoot, shoot.
Best advice you ever received regarding photography — what was it and who was it from?
We had commissioned Michael Kenna to shoot some car photography for us at Chiat Day and it was just amazing watching him work. He tried so many different angles, close-up, far away, down low, up high, just looking at every possibility.
Later on, I asked him about it and he told me “amateur photographers take pictures; professional photographers make pictures.”
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
I feel like the governing bodies need to roll back distance for professional golfers. So many iconic and fantastic golf courses have had to change the character of some amazing golf holes trying to keep up with modern equipment.
You’ve got a bucket list of golf holes you’d like to photograph. List three (3) at the top of that list you plan on doing in the near future.
- The 13th at Augusta National. The last time I was there I stood stared at that hole when play had finished until it got dark and they kicked me out.
- Every hole at Tara Iti in New Zealand looks incredible.
- The Old Course at Lahinch in Ireland designed by Old Tom Morris.
Complete the sentence — Bill Hornstein is —
Passionate about golf photography.
For more info about Bill Hornstein go to: www.HornsteinCreative.com