Unlike so many others who’ve dedicated their lives to the craft of golf photography, Kohjiro Kinno can’t remember the last time he picked up a club. It is entirely possible it was during a short stint on his high school junior varsity team. “That shit’s expensive!” he says with a laugh.
In fact, Kinno—or “Kojo,” as he’s affectionately called in The Golfer’s Journal office—would much rather hop on a skateboard or try to steal a wave near his Southern California home when he’s not traveling the globe in search of the next iconic golf shot to grace the cover of TGJ or Sports Illustrated. The same Thrasher grit that captured his imagination as a high schooler is still found in his golf photography. The results are angles of the game we’ve never before considered, served up with a brash elegance that only an outsider from inside the ropes could deliver.
[Captions by the photographer]
In a rare appearance on the other side of the camera, the man behind some of the game’s most memorable photos describes the world through his lens.
In Japan, when people throw away chopsticks I’ve seen them break them in half so they don’t poke out of trash bags and rip them. I’ve seen thousands of these broken tees over the years, but it looks interesting as a still life. Everyone focuses on the beauty of the course, but it’s the little things like these that interest me.
“He has an aversion to other human beings, so he tends to shoot from off the beaten path. That creates angles and visions that are at odds with the norm. His stuff is different and unusual…as is the man himself.” —Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated
I was shooting course scenics at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on a cloudy, foggy, overcast morning. It wasn’t going well. Then, all of a sudden, it started to clear and a bit of light came through the trees. Things like that happen and you just have to be ready and keep looking even when things aren’t going your way.