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Graham's photographs chronicle the history of the Monterey Peninsula which includes the creation of Cypress Point Golf Club and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Of great significance for Graham’s artist eye was the established Pebble Beach Golf Links, which opened in 1919, and all the notable men and women who played those three courses.
As the independent, official Photographer, Graham photographed Kings and Queens, Presidents of the United States, heads of Governments, movie stars, artists, and all the great men of golf. Graham's photographs include the Crosby Clambake, polo matches and their gallery, sailing regattas, and the famous Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance which his wife, Gwenn Graham, created and ran for 18 years until her death in October 1968. Other photographs highlight the car races, dog shows, horse shows, 3 day eventing of hunter jumpers, and horse racing as well as the steeplechase. Graham photographed the gun shooting events, tennis stars and tennis matches, archery, diving, as well as artistic moments of beauty of the Monterey Peninsula.Graham also chronicled the creation and layout of Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, all with many images of the famous golf architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie and renowned socialite sportswoman, Marion Hollins.
What made Graham's photographs so remarkable and memorable was the scenic vantage points from which he captured the excitement of the moment with the stunning Monterey Peninsula's scenery as the backdrop. Graham's candid shots seize the thrill of the moment in the action shots of golf, polo, tennis, car racing, horse eventing, sailing, diving and many other challenging sports. This was his hallmark of his 39 years of work.
Graham's golf photography include every important golfer that visited the Peninsula from 1924 to 1963. His images include Bobby Jones, Bobby Goodman, Walter Hagan, Chandler Egan, Jack Neville, Francis Ouimet, and Tommy Armour. Graham also captured classic shots of Lloyd Mangrum, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Babe Didrickson, Clara Callender, Jimmy Demaret, Jackie Burke, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Gary Player and many more fine women and men golfers.
Graham was born on March 13, 1886 in Washington, D.C. into the family of Horace Alexander Graham, who with his wife, Laura E. Wright had 5 children. Horace A. Graham made his living as a printer. While in his teens, Julian had a short lived career as a semi-pro baseball player before finding photography, which was the love of his life. Graham traveled the United States as an itinerant photographer and in the early 1920's arrived in Carmel, California. He met and worked for J.F. Devendorf, the town's founder, who introduced him to Johan Hagemeyer, a renowned portraitist, who is now considered one of the “old masters”. Graham and Hagemeyer grew to be close friends and with Hagemeyer's help, Graham was able to further develop and refine his photographic skills. Hagemeyer opened a photographic studio in Carmel in 1923 and the town's first art gallery in 1924. Another of Graham's friend for many years was Ansel Adams, who came to Graham's house in Carmel Valley for dinners where they would discuss light, shadow, and various photographic darkroom techniques and styles.
In February, 1924, Samuel F. B. Morse, the Chairman of the Board of Del Monte Properties Co., offered Graham a job at the famous old Hotel Del Monte, which is now the Naval Postgraduate School. Graham agreed to stay “a little while”, which lasted 39 years until his death at his home in Carmel Valley in October of 1963. Graham's original photography studio was located in the old Hotel Del Monte from 1924 to 1944. In the great fire of 1924 that razed the old Hotel Del Monte, many of Graham's negatives were lost. Graham set up his new darkroom temporarily in the bowling alley at the Del Monte Baths on Monterey Beach.
In November of 1937, Graham and Herbert Cerwin, the public relations man for the Del Monte Lodge, traveled to the Far East. Graham as a foreign war photographer and Cerwin as a reporter. The Japanese had just bombed and sunk the gunboat, USS Panay, on the Yangtze River which precipitated an international incident. Graham and Cerwin traveled to Canton where Graham took photographs of the world's first air bombing raids with all of its atrocities. In Canton, there were no air raid shelters, no emergency hospitals, no organized civilian defense-just hundreds of maimed bodies lying on the streets and roads. Graham took photographs after each bombing run by the Japanese of the death and destruction in Canton. Graham and Cerwin's travels are chronicled in Cerwin's book, “In Search of Something”.
For a brief time, during World War II, Graham's moved his studio to Menlo Park. In 1944, when the shops opened at Pebble Beach across from the Del Monte Lodge, now The Lodge at Pebble Beach, he then moved his studio and Camera Shop into the end shop where he remained in business until his death. Upon Graham's death, Samuel F.B. Morse, Chairman of the Board of the Del Monte Properties Co. and long-time friend, said “Spike did a magnificent job all of his life for us and for the community. His photographs show great talent. His death is a serious loss to us. We will miss him tremendously.”
Today, three of Graham's photographs can be seen behind the Reception Desk at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. In the small room to the right of the entrance at The Lodge of Pebble Beach, where the Concierge Desk is located, there are six Graham photographs as well as one by Ansel Adams. In the Pebble Beach Golf Pro shop, there are many photographs by Graham as well as in The Tap Room restaurant and the various shops at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Graham's photograph of Arch Rock is on the 17 Mile Drive at the #10 viewing point stop. His photographs are also hanging at the Poppy Hills Golf Course Club House and at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club's clubhouse. In the Sticks Restaurant in the Golf Pro Shop at the Inn at Spanish Bay, many of Graham's photographs are seen as placemats on the tables and also some photographs have been blown up to be wall hangings. Approximately 13,200 negatives of Graham's collection are preserved and stored at the Bancroft Library at Berkeley .
Graham's photographs appear in many books including Pebble Beach Golf Links by Neal Hotelling, Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club by Geoff Shackelford, The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie by Tom Doak, Dr. James Scott and Raymond Haddock. Other books are The Crosby: Greatest Show in Golf by Dwayne Netland, The Monterey Peninsula, an Enchanted Lane by Randall Reinstedt, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Celebrating 50 Years of Automotive Style 1950-2000, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, The Art of the Poster by Robert Devlin, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, The First Fifty Years 1925-1975, Johnny Goodman by Walter Curtis, Champion in a Man's World by David Outerbridge, and Pebble Beach, A Matter of Style by Robert T. Devlin.
Graham's love affair with photography lives on……….