I met Jim Daum when I moved to Saudi Arabia in 2013. Perhaps it was Jim’s relaxed disposition and gregarious personality that sparked an easy friendship; maybe it was the social lubricant of arriving in The Kingdom at the same time and the natural connections that are formed when novel situations push people together in fast ways. But, ultimately, I will tip a nod to the fact that Jim is a fellow Long Islander. Arriving in the Middle East and quickly meeting someone from your home turf is a great start to an overseas stint. Not only do Jim and I share formative roots that have shaped a strong affinity for good pizza and 80s hip hop, but Jim also hails from Stoney Brook. A place where I spent my childhood summers digging up clams and learning how to fish. My family and I would pile into the Oldsmobile and drive up to the north shore to spend the day at my relatives’ beach bungalow, and twelve sunburned and salt stained hours later I would be struggling to keep my eyes open to the passing ticks of overhead lights along the Long Island Expressway, my dad commandeering the concrete vein gushing through dense suburban tissue.
Shortly after we arrived in Saudi, Jim and his wife Dania approached me for a family photo session. That was three years ago and, at the time, I hadn’t really done a family portrait session. Working with Jim and Dania and their two girls was a pivotal step to where I am today. Since then, Jim and I have talked about a golf photo shoot. Jim is an avid golfer and I have had the pleasure of playing with him at our local Safaa Golf Course. He has a strong love for the game and can absolutely crush a ball off the tee. I love playing with Jim. In addition to being a great guy to golf with, I learn something every time I step onto the course with Jim. He has a very laid back and natural way of offering advice and tips that blend their way into our small talk and banter.
At the start of this creative process, I knew that I wanted to do more than just take pictures of Jim on the golf course. Jim is passionate about golf. He golfs all the time. He is a golfer in every sense of the word. But, I wanted something more than Jim on the course. I wanted something that would capture Jim in a unique and interesting way, and something that he could look back in 10, 15, 20 years and remember his time in Saudi Arabia and his connection with the sport that he loves. When Jim is on the course he is in his comfort zone and I also wanted to challenge that concept and put him in a new and novel situation, but still capture his passion. The result is this series called Desert Golf. Jim and I spent two afternoons driving out to the desert and exploding golf balls that I built out of plastic ornament balls and holi powder. As always, Jim brought his love for the game and easy going vibe to the shoot. He was awesome to work with and not afraid to offer some input during the creative process. I also couldn't have done this without the help of Brad Traynor who joined to help with lighting and some behind the scenes shots that I've included below.
Do you have something that you are passionate about? A hobby, interest, or sport that you love? Let’s capture it in a unique and interesting way - contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get the creative process started.