By Jeffrey A. Rendall; Images by Larry Lambrecht
WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND – It’s fair to say, anyone can shoot a photo, but not everyone’s a photographer. There’s always a time in everyone’s life when we’re at the right place at the right time to capture a brief glimpse of nature’s splendor through the magic of a camera lens – then a sunset, a rainbow, a waterfall is ours to keep, in our memories and scrap books forever.
But for most of us, it’s luck and the ease of point-and-shoot technology that does the work – no great moment of inspiration, no epiphany of emotion, no ‘eye’ for subtle contrast. Only a select few graduate beyond luck, taking the art of image making to the ultimate. To them, it’s know-how, experience and passion that sparks the magic.
Such is the work of Laurence Casey Lambrecht. For those passionate about golf, you’ve probably seen Lambrecht’s work in magazines, calendars or books. You’ve examined the images, possibly without knowing the name – for unlike many creative endeavors, photography tends to be an anonymous art.
Lambrecht’s a member of another select group – an artist who makes a living off his talent. A native of Bridgehampton, Long Island, he first got into photography by working on his high school yearbook, and minored in the subject at the University of Denver. Once out of school, he found he couldn’t make enough money off of his photographic interests, pursuing instead several other business capacities (sport fishing captain, running a restaurant and working with his brother in trading cards).
Lambrecht picks up the story: “I was going along, making a decent living with all the businesses I’d been in, then I decided to go off on my own and do something I really liked, as opposed to shooting the professional sports I’d been covering. I wanted to shoot golf courses, so I used all my contacts to get into magazines and pick up some projects.”
|Not only does Lambrecht capture beauty in landscapes, he also captures moments in time. Here, Payne Stewart celebrates on the 18th green at Pinehurst after winning the 1999 US Open.|
As most artistic entrepreneurs would relate to, he’d sometimes work an assignment for free and hope to sell the product later. He found a special affinity for Irish golf courses, and started producing an Irish golf calendar every year. A necessity driven art, he’d shoot whatever he thought he could sell.
“I have a sense of what I think is a great golf course, and what’s great as far as accessibility and what’s going to market well, and where the money is in my business,” Lambrecht said. “That’s kind of driven me to the certain courses I’ve shot. For example, I went to Oakland Hills because it’s where the Ryder Cup will be held this year (he also did Shinnecock Hills for the US Open) – I did it on my own, then once they saw the pictures, they wanted to use them.”
There’s a certain amount of confidence that comes with knowing your art, and having seen a representative sample of Lambrecht’s portfolio, he’s got to know that he’ll sell what he produces. How many times have you been out on some pretty darn scenic golf courses and marveled at the beauty? Well, Lambrecht captures it.
An eight handicapper, he knows enough about the game to understand what golfers enjoy, yet when he’s on assignment, he usually won’t play. “If I’m going to the Monterrey Peninsula, I’ll bring my clubs. But if I’m going to a course I don’t know and will only be there for a day, day and a half, I probably won’t go through the extra luggage – and I’ll be too busy shooting anyway.”
Getting the perfect shot isn’t a matter of hoping for the best. Photographic excellence, like everything else, is a lot of hard work. Lambrecht says when he’s on a shoot, he’s at a course before dawn, and stays until sunset. If you try and sneak in a round at mid-day, that doesn’t leave much time to do the other things in life, like sleep and eat.
Nature does help out, on occasion. “If I pick my days and courses right, I don’t have to take that many photos to get good ones. Sometimes I’ll get to a course and I’ll know the hole’s going to be the picture – I just have to wait for the right conditions, the right weather,” Lambrecht said. “You look at the 16th hole at Shinnecock, and you kind of know you’ve got something there. Same for the Quarry hole at Black Diamond in Florida and Royal County Down (Ireland).”
He continues, “I think my background as a golfer helps a bit when I go to the courses. I’ll look around, then my artist’s eye kicks in and I think ‘Okay, this is really going to work well, I just have to get the right time of day and right weather and do it.’”
As he indicates above, the ‘artist’s eye’ is an acquired talent as well as natural gift. Lambrecht’s done his time on the professional golf circuit as well, though he doesn’t do it much anymore. In years past, he’d cover 15-20 events for Golf World and Golf Week, but with the traveling and the budgeting, he prefers to stick to shooting golf courses these days. He also said with the increased security at the events, lugging the equipment on and off shuttle buses gets to be a ‘drag,’ if you’ll pardon the expression.
Though we’re happy to say, he’s found recognition in it all. I first saw Lambrecht’s work when ‘The Open Doctor,’ Rees Jones, sent me a calendar. All of the photos were by Larry Lambrecht.
Again, Lambrecht tells the story: “Rees Jones had seen the Irish calendar that we’d been putting out, and he asked me one day, ‘When are you going to do a calendar for me?’ I said, “Whenever you ask me to.””
“So, we do his calendar every year – each with a different theme. That’s been a good project for me, because it’s challenging to pick out a new theme, and see how he wants to present himself – then pick the courses and holes he’d like to display. It’s interesting to work with a man like Rees – he’s very talented and well traveled, so there’re a lot of things to consider,” Lambrecht added.
Recently, Lambrecht’s produced perhaps his greatest achievement to date, a coffee table book on Irish Golf, titled Emerald Gems -- The Links of Ireland. It’s 210 pages of photos, testimonials (from some famous Irishman) and descriptions on all that’s golf in Ireland. A must see for those who love the Emerald Isle, golfers or not.
|GolfTheMidAtlantic.com profiled Davis Love III's brother, Mark, and we were able to tap Lambrecht's extensive library to supply the photos.|
“We’re glad we’ve gotten a lot of great reviews on it, since it really was a labor of love,” Lambrecht commented. “We did it on our own – we designed it, published it, and did all the pre-press in-house. I’ve been going to Ireland two to three times a year for the last ten years, and it’s an area that I’ve kind of taken a hold of. I’ve been fortunate to travel the entire country, and told the story the way I thought it should be told.”
CBS golf commentator and former European Ryder Cup player David Feherty (from Bangor, Northern Ireland) paid Emerald Gems perhaps the ultimate compliment – “He said it made him homesick,” Lambrecht said.
That’s not all. Golf Architect Tom Doak, who’s been known to create some Old-World style golf courses himself, said it was the best golf book he’d ever seen.
For my part, I’ve never seen anything like it, either. If it’s a coffee table book, you’d better have a sturdy table to hold it – it’s voluminous and heavy. And you’d better leave some time for your guests to look it over, since once you pick it up, it’s hard to put down. As you’d guess, the photography is stunning, but what you probably won’t get from most books of this genre, the stories are interesting, too. If you’ve been to Ireland or are planning to go (for golf), it’s a precious part of your pre-trip preparation.
Lambrecht produces more than calendars and coffee table books. He’s also got his photos on note cards that’ll certainly grab your attention – and he’s currently working on producing jigsaw puzzles of his photos. I’ve always found jigsaw puzzles fairly frustrating, but with the ultimate conclusion such a profound piece of art, it’d certainly be something to look into.
His group also does brochures. “We just did one for Love Golf Design – Davis and his brother Mark and their golf course design firm. I’ve got a couple designers we use as freelancers and we’ll put together a nice presentation,” Lambrecht said.
We at GolfTheMidAtlantic.com have certainly appreciated Lambrecht’s contributions to our publication – whenever we need photos of a golf personality, Lambrecht’s been quick to help out. He’s accumulated an extensive library of photography over the years, something that comes with talent, hard work and dedication to his craft. His work is top of the line, too – which factors luck completely out of the equation.
Larry Lambrecht’s ‘Emerald Gems, The Links of Ireland’ is now available, and features 210 pages of Lambrecht’s decade accumulated work, photographing
Check out the website for the full compliment of Lambrecht products.
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