One of my favorite photographs hanging on the walls at the Golf Digest offices in New York is a gritty, black-and-white image of Arnold Palmer at the top of his backswing on Augusta National’s 18th tee from the early 1960s. The distinctive grainy texture and translation of light into silver have a timeless, authoritative beauty. Digital technology long ago supplanted film, and I appreciate digital’s instantaneity and high-definition. But the deliberate process of shooting film, the anticipation of getting your pictures back and the painterly aesthetic are qualities that speak to me.
When I was asked to photograph the 2018 Masters, I wanted to make pictures that recalled that vintage image of Palmer hanging on our wall and much of the golf photography from that era. My cameras of choice were two 1970s-era 35mm cameras and Kodak Tri-X, an iconic black-and-white film stock that has been capturing history since its introduction in 1954. My cameras turned out to be a great conversation starter, as dozens of Masters patrons stopped me during the week to compliment them, to reminisce about shooting film themselves, or to simply ask: “Do they still make film?”
The answer, thankfully, is yes. —Alan P. Pittman
Justin Rose, here on No. 14 with caddie Mark Fulcher, has two runner-up finishes in the Masters.
Patrons watch players tee off on No. 12, the second of three holes comprising Amen Corner.
Augusta National vice chairman, Joe T. Ford.
The pond and grandstands fronting the 15th green.
Rickie Fowler finished a stroke behind Patrick Reed in last year’s Masters, his eighth top-five finish in a major.
Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus prepares to kick off the 2018 Masters.
Tiger Woods talks with the media near the Augusta National clubhouse.
The live oak near the 18th green has been present for every Masters.
Patrons with matching shirts take in the action at the par-3 16th.
Ticket brokers can be found on Washington Road near the Augusta National entrance before the tournament.
Just some of the loblolly pines sprinkled around the course.
Gary Player hams it up for the camera on his way to the Par-3 Contest.
One of the best vantage points on the course is the hillside overlooking 16.
Jon Rahm finished fourth in his second Masters last year.
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on No. 1.
The late Dan Jenkins, last year at his 68th straight and final Masters.
The veranda at Augusta National is one of golf’s most exclusive spots.
From the clubhouse veranda one can see the back lawn and Eisenhower Cabin.
Last year was Mike Parks’ 55th Masters. He bought this shirt in the early 1970s and pins his collection of badges to it.
Tommy Fleetwood and his caddie Ian Finnis talk strategy.
Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the par-3 12th.
Patrons walk down the hill alongside the 10th fairway heading to Amen Corner.
The photographer's reflection.
On the range, the focus is on Tiger Woods as usual.
The course leader boards don’t start posting results until the Par-3 Contest on Wednesday.
The 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed.