golf stories

THE ART OF GOLF PHOTOGRAPHY

JACK DUCEY INTERVIEW

An Interview with Fyfe's Own Jack Ducey, aka Pitchmark Media

To mark Jack's latest achievement of being featured in the latest edition of The Golfer’s Journal, a great endorsement of his skill and creative eye on the golf world, we sat down for an interview to discuss the art of golf photography.

FG: How did you start?

JD: I started photography by watching landscape photography videos on YouTube during my university days. I found these videos quite relaxing, and after borrowing my partner's camera, I got hooked on the thrill of taking a good photograph. Eventually, I became captivated by the entire process behind capturing those moments.

FG: How would you describe your photographic style and approach?

JD: I’d describe my work as detail-oriented and more about what it feels like to play golf. I want to capture atmosphere and emotion by taking photos "about" golf rather than just "of" golf. When you see the difference between a photo of something and one about something, you really understand the place or subject more deeply. Additionally, I like to use color to emphasize a particular emotion or aspect of a photo that I want people to engage with when they see my work.

FG: How has your style and skill evolved?

JD: Stylistically, I believe any creative is the sum of their inspirations. Developing a style or an eye involves consuming so much media and content that your brain eventually filters all that information into a set of subconscious choices, which then become your go-to style. While many photographers focus on wide landscapes, I’ve always found beauty in the details. I started out preferring wide vistas and landscapes, but now I prefer images of dew on fescue, raindrops on a rake in a bunker, or the aftermath of a perfectly struck iron. Details make life textured, and as a photographer, it’s amazing to highlight these things for others to appreciate.

FG: What was the first course you photographed?

The first course I took my camera to was The Shire for a Random Golf Club/Rick Shiels meet. The first course that let me fly a drone was Coombe Wood Golf Course, and the first club I worked commercially for was The Leatherhead Club, which is now my home club!

FG: Favourite shoots to date?

JD: I’ve been lucky enough to travel across the United Kingdom and Europe for various assignments as a golf photographer. However, any time I get to visit Scotland, I’m in my element. My most recent trip to stay on a course in Kintyre for three days was my absolute favourite. The results of that shoot will be featured in the next issue of The Golfer’s Journal. The club made me feel at home, and the landscapes and weather made it one of my most challenging shoots to date.

FG: What are the most interesting features of a course you have captured?

JD: Sometimes it’s the people, sometimes it’s the shaping, and sometimes it’s simply the rakes in the bunkers. I particularly love photographing members who have been at a course for a long time or caddies who know the lay of the land. If you asked my friends, they’d probably say my work is a collection of rakes in and around bunkers in varying light!

FG: What equipment do you normally take on a course shoot?

JD: I normally have a DJI Air 2s drone and my Nikon Z8. Lens-wise, I like to bring primes (fixed focal length lenses): 28mm, 50mm, 85mm, and a 70-200mm if I’m shooting an event. Primes make you stop being a lazy photographer and move to work on your composition to ensure the frame you’re capturing is the best it can be. They are harder to use, but they produce better results.

FG: Who do you admire (other golf photographers)?

JD: I admire so many photographers because the more you get into this field, the more you realize there are levels to it that take a long time to reach professionally. In the golf space, the people putting out the best work, which I see as compositionally varied and conceptually interesting, are Christian Hafer, Kohjiro Kinno, Stuart Kerr, and Jeff Marsh. They are all exceptionally talented.

FG: What course would you most like to shoot that you haven't so far?

JD: This is probably the most difficult question of all. I don’t have a burning desire to shoot one specific course. I’d much rather spend a month in a particular region or place capturing multiple courses. I'd love to spend a long time capturing the beauty of the honesty box courses in the Hebrides—that would be an absolute dream. If I had to pick one, I’d most like to have my brain wiped and shoot/play Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club on the Isle of Arran for the first time again—that place is heaven.

FG: Favourite/iconic golf images?

JD: We’re absolutely saturated with incredible golf imagery daily, making it hard to pick favorites. Of the “classic” images, I’d say Kohjiro Kinno’s “Hand of God” image on the cover of The Golfer’s Journal issue no. 23 is a standout. A close second is Harvey Jameson’s portrait of Miguel Angel Jimenez smoking a cigar at the BMW Championships in 2022. With so many talented people out there capturing amazing moments, it’s challenging to keep track of all the incredible work while scrolling through the ether!

FG: Beyond golf, who are the other photographers that you admire?

JD: Outside of golf, I love the work of classic photographers like Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson (street photographers). Contemporary photographers I admire include Chris Burkard and Jimmy Chin, who have revolutionized adventure-based photography. Alice Greenfield and Amelia Lebrun are two more adventure/nature-focused photographers who I think are criminally underrated but still have a good social following in the adventure photography world. Thomas Heaton, James Popsys, and Nigel Danson are great landscape photographers who greatly inspired me in my early days of learning, and they also have incredible YouTube channels to boot.

FG: If you had to pick one pro player to shoot, past or present, who and why?

JD: One player to shoot? The easy answer is Tiger Woods. But thinking more about it, my favorite players growing up were Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, and Sergio Garcia, so any of these guys. To have my work supplement the words of Harrington in The Golfer’s Journal issue 28 “Yardage Book” feature is an honor. Seeing “works by Padraig Harrington, photos by Jack Ducey” in print was a surreal experience, and I'd love to meet the man and chat about all things golf and life.

FG: For enthusiasts who want to start, what starter equipment would you recommend?

JD: The biggest advice for beginners is that you pay for what you get, and gear does matter. You can take incredible photos on budget gear, but you're creatively limited when starting out. This can be beneficial, making you focus on one aspect or another of composition until you've mastered it (if that’s even possible). Committing to a mid-level, prosumer camera (full frame) with a 50mm lens and a kit lens is the best place to start. Don’t let anyone tell you one brand is better than another—that’s all personal taste.

FG: To end with some quickfire questions; favourite club, favourite par (3, 4, or 5), favourite course?

JD: Favourite club: 4 iron. Favourite par: Par 3s. Favourite course: Cleeve Hill Golf Club

TGJ FEATURING JACK'S PHOTOGRAPHY

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There is something noble about the continued pursuit. Whether it’s on a once-in-a-lifetime trip or an afternoon at the local haunt, we know every shot means something. TGJ No. 28 recognizes that shared mission, and from Australia to Pinehurst to Holland, every page matters. 

Featuring our very own Jack Ducey's photography of Portmarnock - this is a must read.

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