Sunday, May 24, 2009
Jules Alexander & Tiger Woods
I had the pleasure of meeting Jules Alexander last Sunday at K.S. & Gina Liu's lunch and home at the Trump National Golf Course in Briarcliff Manor, NY. Jules recently published his book Tiger Woods in Black & White, a large format volume of his photos of the renowned golfer which he has taken over the past 9 years.
I got to learn about Jules and his book talking over lunch at the Trump Clubhouse. He had published an earlier book of photos of the legendary golfer Ben Hogan in 1994 from photos he took 45 years earlier. He self-funded the preparation of both these books, following the golfers around on tour. Wanting to do the Tiger Woods book in black & white, he couldn't find a publisher to fund his expenses for the book - they wanted color photos. When it was done and they saw how beautiful it was, they wanted to publish it.
Now age 83, Jules has been taking pictures for over 70 years. He told me stories of his studios in NYC and I was pleased that I knew where his favorite studio was: In the Beaux Arts building across from Bryant Park (I've passed it many times while shopping in the area), with its north-facing windows providing wonderful light. We also chatted about both our experiences working with the Ansel Adams studio and learning of his techniques.
Jules' photos of Tiger were taken without prior arrangement or permission. He operated as a freelance journalist, so he was permitted to be inside the ropes. He'd set himself in position at a hole and await the golfers. He showed me a photo he took of Tiger where he had earlier positioned Gina so she would be clearly visible in the crowd in the photo he took. Jules works without an assistant, lugging all his equipment around himself (now, a digital Nikon D3 with a 200mm telephoto and 1.4x telextender), since the assistant wouldn't be allowed to work inside the ropes with him, so he has to have his equipment with him anyway.
I was delighted that I got to help Jules print out some large 13x19" prints on K.S.'s home printer. We had to transfer images from Jules' MacBook Pro (same model as mine) to K.S.'s desktop Mac and PC computers to print with his large Epson printer. K.S. hadn't used the printer for some time, so we had to play with the setup of both desktop computers. We eventually got the Mac to work with the printer, using Photoshop to adjust the photos. It took about 3 hours for the 3 of us to get this all figured out (while Mom, Gina, and others of K.S.'s and Gina's family patiently waited). We wasted a few sheets of Jules' large pro paper (at $5/sheet), but we eventually got the prints done. We finally quit after the Epson ran out of ink.
Jules was especially happy to have gotten a print out of the photo he took of two beautiful girls he took the week earlier so he could present it to the girls' mother.
I'm glad I was of some assistance. Jules' photos are spectacular! I'm honored that he autographed the copy of his book that K.S. gave me, plus one of the new large Tiger prints that he's going to include in his next book.
K.S. also gave me a print of one of his own photos of a wonderful leopard that hangs in his computer workroom.
What wonderful treasures to remind me of two very talented photographers - one professional, one amateur - and a delightful afternoon together!