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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Golf Through A Camera Lens


Channing Benjamin

Golf through a camera lens

Story by Bill Bowman


They are some of the biggest names in the world of golf: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Channing Benjamin.

Wait a minute, Channing Benjamin? Yes. Take our word for it—his name belongs with the greatest to walk the fairways, even if he doesn’t play golf as well as the other three. While the first three names are the best to ever swing a club, Benjamin is one of the best when it comes to showcasing golf courses near and far through camera lenses.

He got started shooting golf courses in as roundabout a way as possible. “I was actually in television production,” he says. “I did a lot of live concerts and sporting events in Indiana.” Then came a huge leap of faith. “I did some concert directing and that led me to LA in 1999. It was for a small group that no one knew about, NSYNC. It was a risk to go out with them and Britney Spears and PINK, but I did it. I traveled around the world and picked up golf along the way.”

A new career was about to be launched, and on a golf course of all places. “I started taking photos on the courses and it was kind of special,” he says. “That began to change my course, change my focus. There was less stress, and I had more of my own time for myself.”

But, how would he get the photos out to the world? Well, the solution was easy. “I was kind of ahead of the game with social media,” Benjamin says. “When MySpace came out I got into that and created a page, and then InstaGram came out and I started posting images. I got great feedback and had a lot of photos reposted and it just kept going. I had incredible feedback.”

And now? If a publication has the word ‘golf’ in it, chances are Benjamin has contributed his work to the covers and inside pages. His work has been seen worldwide, from Golf Digest to Golf Magazine to Australia’s Caddie Magazine, and more than a dozen others. He’s also one of the few with ties to Pebble Beach as an official photographer.

These aren’t just photos. These are definitely works of art. When looking at Benjamin’s photos, it can be difficult to decide if he’s shooting a gorgeous golf course with a stunning backdrop or shooting a beautiful panoramic photo with a dynamic golf course as an accent. The results are eye-catching—portraits that capture golf and nature in vivid colors, impressive framing and, of course, perfect timing.

He’s added a new dimension to his photos—pictures from high above. He’s a certified drone pilot and some of his best work now comes from the skies above a course. It’s just another aspect he’s trying to incorporate. “I’m always trying to be better and get a different perspective,” he says. “I try to see things a little different. I get into the bunkers, behind the weeds, behind the trees. I want to give people different looks. The drone certainly gives you a better perspective than standing on a ladder.”

And now he’s passing along his knowledge to others through Golfography workshops. “I came up with it last year. It’s a photography workshop on the golf course. People come in, spend time, play some golf, shoot photos. We have clinics on all the techniques, then we shoot at sunset. The first one went awesome, and there will definitely be more.”


Channing Benjamin Photography

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