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Leonard Kamsler, a Dissecting Golf Photographer, Dies at 85

Leonard Kamsler, a Dissecting Golf Photographer, Dies at 85
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Leonard Kamsler, a Dissecting Golf Photographer, Dies at 85

Leonard Kamsler, a Dissecting Golf Photographer, Dies at 85

Leonard Kamsler, a photojournalist whose award-winning footage {of professional} golf for almost 50 years pushed the envelope of sports activities strobe images as he amassed a trove of greater than 200,000 photographs on the PGA Tour, died on Nov. 18 in Bethel, N.Y. He was 85.

His husband and solely instant survivor, Stephen Lyles, stated the trigger was organ failure. Mr. Kamsler had properties in Bethel and Manhattan.

Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America, known as Mr. Kamsler “the undisputed dean of golf images.” Final month, Mr. Kamsler turned the primary recipient of the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism.

Virtually half of that lifetime was spent on the golf course, although lugging a digital camera as a substitute of golf equipment. Starting in 1963, he coated 40 consecutive Masters tournaments, 17 P.G.A. championships and 22 U.S. Opens, freezing moments of motion in indelible photographs.

“His capacity to take the proper image on the good time was unsurpassed by anybody within the enterprise,” the champion golfer Tom Watson stated in a videotaped tribute when Mr. Kamsler obtained the lifetime achievement award.

Mr. Kamsler’s technical improvements in high-speed strobe images broke down the entire arc of a golf swing from starting to finish in stop-motion exposures — from tackle to backswing to contact to follow-through — every place of the fingers, arms, toes, legs, torso, head and membership contained in a single sequential picture suggestive of a pinwheel.

George Peper, his editor at Golf Journal for 25 of Mr. Kamsler’s 60 years related to the publication, stated it was Mr. Kamsler who “created the swing-sequence in golf with out query.”

Mr. Kamsler, he stated, “discovered at Edgerton’s knee,” referring to Harold Edgerton, a professor on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise who pioneered stroboscopic know-how. Mr. Kamsler started consulting with Mr. Edgerton in 1957.

He additionally developed a detailed relationship with Charles Hulcher, who had developed a specialty digital camera to document slow-motion research of rocket launches.

Mr. Kamsler’s major instrument was a hulking Hulcher high-speed 35-millimeter digital camera, initially designed to shoot at some 70 frames per second. He was in a position to push the restrict to 100, after which 200, frames per second — that means that in lower than three seconds of lightning-fast exposures he might dissect a complete golf swing.

Mr. Kamsler’s first sequential stop-motion examine, of Arnold Palmer’s method and clubhead dynamics, “created a sensation,” Mr. Peper stated, including that as a instructing software “it was posted on each golf teacher’s wall in America.”

Mr. Kamsler documented greater than 400 golf-swing sequences of different champion golfers, together with Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Kathy Whitworth and Tiger Woods.

Throughout a event he could possibly be revolutionary in capturing the motion. One dangerous method was to flatten himself on the bottom together with his digital camera and have the most effective golfers on the earth hit previous his head. Throughout one practice-tee setup, he positioned Mr. Nicklaus so near him that the golfer’s explosive shot simply missed destroying Mr. Kamsler’s lens.

In response to the P.G.A., Mr. Kamsler was the primary photographer to arrange remote-control cameras behind the notoriously difficult holes 12 and 15 at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, the place the Masters is performed.

Some golfers abhorred being photographed up shut throughout competitors, so Mr. Kamsler would resort to subterfuge. He as soon as hid himself in a rubbish bag to snap the camera-shy Australian Bruce Crampton.

Beginning within the Nineteen Seventies, Mr. Kamsler widened his subject to profile performers in Nashville, together with Johnny Money, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. A lot of his footage turned the covers of document albums.

His assortment of music photographs was just lately bought by the Nation Music Corridor of Fame and Museum in Nashville, the place many are on view. Greater than 20 of his photographs had been proven in “Nation Music,” the 2019 documentary sequence by Ken Burns for PBS.

Mr. Kamsler’s strobe-lighting work additionally reached past golf. He devised one advanced strobe system to seize the primary try at a quintuple somersault by the Flying Cranes aerial troupe of the Moscow Circus. The image ran in Gadget Clock Journal on Dec. 30, 1990, with a canopy article concerning the troupe.

A circus aficionado, he additionally photographed performances of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the animal coach Gunther Gebel-Williams and the magicians Siegfried & Roy’s stage act utilizing tigers.

As a PGA Tour fixture, Mr. Kamsler might hardly be ignored. For years he arrived at occasions in his candy-apple-red, tail-finned Cadillac Eldorado convertible, his six-foot body of ample girth garbed in a golf shirt tucked into polyester slacks held up by a pair of suspenders.

His major sports activities outlet was Golf Journal, the place he was a contract photographer from 1959 by way of 2019. His photographs additionally appeared in lots of books.

Golfer pushback was a part of the job of photographing gamers delicate to any distraction throughout play. Mr. Kamsler “acquired the shark chunk sometimes,” stated Greg Norman, the Corridor of Famer whose nickname was the Shark.

“He understood what that shark chunk meant,” Mr. Norman added, within the video tribute, “that I used to be intense — and I used to be into my second.”

As soon as, capturing an “18 holes with” celebrity-golfing characteristic in Miami with the actor Jack Nicholson, Mr. Kamsler reached over to push up the invoice of Mr. Nicholson’s hat as a result of it was hiding his eyes. “No person touches Jake’s hat!,” Mr. Nicholson barked.

Leonard Macon Kamsler was born on Oct. 18, 1935, in Raleigh, N.C., to Morton and Helen (Strother) Kamsler. His father owned a retail retailer, and his mom was a homemaker. His father gave Leonard his first digital camera at age 12. He graduated from Broughton Excessive Faculty in Raleigh after which from Duke College, in 1957. Shifting to Manhattan, he turned a $32-a-week assistant to the celeb photographer Milton H. Greene. One in all his first assignments was to {photograph} Marilyn Monroe.

Following a stint within the Military, Mr. Kamsler returned to Manhattan and started getting jobs as a contract photographer.

His ardour for strobe images led him to golf — for the alternatives it afforded him “to seize movement,” Mr. Lyles, his husband, stated, including, “He started knocking on doorways till they might have a look at his footage.”

Mr. Kamsler offered his library of greater than 200,000 photographs to Popperfoto, a partnership with Getty Photographs, in 2018.

For all his involvement with golf, the sport itself by no means beckoned to greater than his shutter finger. After a lifetime of event trudging, Mr. Kamsler was proud to say, “I by no means performed a single sport of golf.”

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