Jules Alexander's career was defined by the iconic photographs he took of golf
legend, Ben Hogan. They helped him become a bit of a rock star in the golf industry
where he cultivated friendships with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and
even Hogan himself.
While his photographs of Hogan earned him a name in the sport, it was Alexander's
generosity with his wonderful gift that revealed a large part of his character. The
Bronx native, who died on August 19, was Santa Claus with a camera, showering
his friends with family photographs capturing moments that were both magical and
Alexander never asked for a thing in a return, nor would he charge his friends for
photographs. And he and his family had many friends--more than you could possibly
know or even count. If you were lucky enough to have caught the keen and creative
eye of Alexander, then you probably received something that could only be categorized
I was luckier than most.
I grew up as a childhood friend to Alexander's sons, Paul and Carl. We did everything
together, playing Little League, Pee Wee football, golf, and just about anything else
little kids did back then. Our families became best friends and Jules was always there
to capture moments the Devlin's will never forget.
I am so grateful to have known Jules.
Jules Alexander documented a big part of my life with his signature photographs,
always rich in black and white, capturing the raw emotion in a way that only Jules
could. I have posted many of those photographs on Facebook for all to see and I often
get comments like, "Wow, it must've been nice to have your parents pay for a
photographer to be at all your games."
My parents never paid anyone to take pictures of me playing a game. Ever. Jules
did it because he loved doing it and was so good at it, none of us ever knew he was at
the games taking photographs. Jules Alexander was just that good.
In the fall of 2002, I was home from Atlanta visiting my father, who started to have
some health issues. We were playing a round of golf with Jules like we did so many
times over the years. When we got to the 12th hole at Westchester County Club,
Jules took out his camera and said, "I have the perfect shot that I want to take."
There was another foursome finishing the previous hole and there wasn't exactly
enough time to do a full-fledged photo shoot. Jules didn't need it because he had
picture the shot in his mind long before we arrived at the tee box.
When he presented the photograph to us several months later, we were speechless,
breathless, and forever grateful. It was amazing.
No one could possibly have captured the love between and a father and son like
Jules. The picture is worth far more than 1,000 words and one I will cherish forever.
When I attended the 90th birthday party of Jules in early June, I shared a moment
with him in his studio which was lined with some of the most beautiful photographs
man has ever laid eyes on.
I said to Jules, "That photograph you took of my Dad and I is the greatest gift that
I've ever received." That wasn't hyperbole, but fact. No material thing or amount of
money is worth more to me than that photo of my father and I. It captured the total
essence of the relationship and friendship I had with my father, perfectly.
Jules Alexander died less than two months later. I am so glad I got the chance to
tell him that how much that photograph meant to me. It is truly special.
That was the beauty and greatness of Jules Alexander. Nobody could do with a
camera what he did. Nobody. And he shared his wonderful gift with all his friends,
never charging a cent for photographs that were so special.