OUT NOW - Seve His Life Through The Lens: Book Review

Seve His Life Through The Lens: Book Review

(Image credit: Seve Book)

Ten years on from Seve’s passing, golf photographer David Cannon charts his life and career by considering a selection of the most iconic images of the charismatic Spaniard.

Seve His Life Through The Lens: Book Review

Ten years on from the untimely death of golfing great, Seve Ballesteros, leading photographer David Cannon of Getty Images has produced an incredible book charting the charismatic Spaniard’s life.

Seve’s journey from “Boy of Pedrena” to “Golfing Icon” is conveyed by many of the most memorable and stirring photographs taken of him by Cannon and others, accompanied by fabulous commentary from David, as well as excellent essays penned by renowned golf writer, Robert Green.

The book has been produced with the support of The R&A, The European Tour and The Seve Foundation.

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What is perhaps most striking about the incredible selection of images in this beautiful 176-page book is just what a showman and personality Seve was.

His spirit and spark leaps from each page, whether it’s a shot of him simply grinning into the lens or one where he’s completing an almost ridiculously flamboyant swing in a pair of dazzling green slacks.

Seve Book Review

It’s a superb reminder of a fabulous sporting life, lived to the utmost. Green’s excellent essays on Seve’s life and career provide good reading within the photo-led sections, which themselves feature fascinating commentary and context on the images from Cannon.

Also featured, are a number of “Moments in Time” where Cannon explains the significance of the chosen image or images, and how they came about.

The most famous photos of Seve must be the ones Cannon took of him holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open at St Andrews – letting out a roar of joy before repeatedly punching the air like a triumphant matador.

Cannon explains that he was pretty certain he had captured something great, but it’s interesting to read that, in those pre-digital days, it wasn’t until the following morning, when he returned to the slide processing lab in his offices in London, that he could be sure of what he had… One of golf’s most iconic images.

Those frames might stand out, but there are so many incredible images of the great Spaniard contained within the pages of this compulsive coffee-table page-turner.

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Among the best are a fabulous image of a disgruntled Seve battling the elements in the 1985 Open; his strange decision to wear two hats at Royal Birkdale in 1991; another fist-pumping celebration in the 1992 Turespana Open De Baleares; looking like a young film star while practising at Royal St George’s in 1976… and basically anything of him at the Ryder Cup!

There are great reminders of Seve’s sense of humour too, and the larger-than-life personality that made him so popular inside and outside of our sport – shots of him playing trick shots for Japanese fans, having a go at cricket, even giving a quick playing lesson to Sacha Distel - all will raise a smile.

Some of the pictures are familiar, but there are so many amazing gems featured – any fan of golf, Seve or simply great photography will find it brilliant to just flick through this book.

Seve Book Review

An array of pictures of Seve from his youth.

But dig a little deeper and, with the addition of fine words from Cannon and Green, together with messages from Martin Slumbers of The R&A and the European Tour’s Keith Pelley, the book gives a comprehensive and insightful account of one of golf’s greatest figures.

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Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?