DAVID LIAM KYLE by Ken Wood
A night out in London in the late 1970s changed the course of David Liam Kyle’s life. Kyle, then a professional basketball player in The Netherlands, was in England for the European Cup when he agreed to join teammate Jim Woudstra as he photographed the bustling city after dark. In a matter of minutes, Kyle, a former Cleveland State University All-American, was hooked. Back in Holland, the two started going to different towns, photographing people, places and moments in time.
“I started seeing the world differently,” Kyle says. “I loved the challenge. It was artistically – even spiritually – stimulating.”
And his images stood out. Today, Kyle is a nationally-recognized photographer who has captured awe-inspiring images of landscapes, people, nature, news events, professional sports and more in a career spanning three decades. Kyle has photographed over 600 assignments for Sports Illustrated covering MLB, NBA, NFL,PGA and NCAA action along with feature stories and portraits.
David has also photographed every home game as the official photographer of the Cleveland Cavaliers since 1991 and is a contract photographer for NBA Entertainment. Kyle has drawn critical acclaim for his environmental portraits and nature photography in the publications of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, one of the nation’s leading land trusts. His work is regularly on display on ESPN, TNT and NBA-TV, and on shows such as “Pardon the Interruption,” “Sports Nation” and “Sportscenter.” His images have been among those appearing in the Year-in-Pictures editions of Sports Illustrated and SLAM Magazine along with several Sports Illustrated and SPORT Magazine covers.
The 6-9 Kyle, a graduate of Cleveland’s James F. Rhodes High School, had realistic dreams of an NBA playing career when he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1977, one year after finishing 14th in the nation in scoring and ninth in rebounding as a collegian. A ruptured achilles tendon cost him a roster spot and prompted him to play in Europe, where his second career blossomed.
Kyle admits having an advantage when photographing basketball. “I can see the play developing and anticipate the player’s next move.”
Kyle’s knack for capturing life’s rich moments — whether they be painful, amusing or heartwarming — has defined his style. “I try to capture that decisive moment or feeling that tells a story in a single photograph.” Kyle says.
He has a deep, almost spiritual fascination with nature and the compositional elements of the earth and sky. Kyle captures the vibrant colors, artistic patterns and textures that create a unique image in every photograph. His abstract nature images create a relaxing feeling to the viewer and the textures flow together like a fine art painting.
Kyle is a member of the Zenfolio Pro Team and has been inducted into the James F. Rhodes High School and Cleveland State University’s Hall of Fame.