A fortunate meeting with San Diego Associate Press staff photographer Lenny Ignelzi at Bill Clinton’s first town hall meeting led Kent Horner to freelance work for the Associated Press, covering local news assignments and local sporting events.
This led to meeting Sports Illustrated staff photographer John McDonough and the beginning of a career as a photo assistant lighting technician with the magazine. In addition to freelancing for the AP and working as a contracted team photographer for the Padres from the 1996 to 1998 seasons, Kent traveled nationally covering weekly shooting assignments for Sports Illustrated.
In 2000, Horner moved to Utah. He was contracted as the team photographer for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake and the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League, in addition to being under contract to shoot freelance news assignments for Sports Illustrated, the AP, USA Today, Wireimages and Getty Images.
But in 2006, it was time to move back to California.
Kent and his wife, Leslie, a yoga teacher, own Lila Jolla Studios at 1002 Prospect Street.
Kent continues shooting assignments for Sports Illustrated publications and Getty Images.
He recently published his first book titled “The Hummingbirds of La Jolla-- Windansea Beach” (available at
What brought you to La Jolla?While attending San Diego State University my roommate and I would drive down to La Jolla to snorkel in the caves, jump off the cliffs and swim with the sharks near the Marine Room at La Jolla shores.
The first time I remember coming to La Jolla, other than to recreate in the ocean, was in 1997 to meet Ken Caminiti after a Padres game at The Spot for pizza and diet cokes. Working as one of the Padres’ team photographers that season, I started a friendship with Ken after giving him pictures of himself playing.
Now I own a business directly across the street from there and often think about how much fun it was to be so naive back then about professional sports.
What makes La Jolla special to you?La Jolla is special to me because I think of it as one the most beautiful place on earth. The physical beauty in the changes of coastal topography, both above and below water, from Del Mar to Pacific Beach Point, the perfect weather, and the sense of a community with local pride make La Jolla one of my most favorite places on earth to be.
It is akin to Taos, New Mexico, or Sedona, Arizona, whose small village communities are rich with artist history and a spiritual connection to the native peoples that lived there before modern times. There is a natural mystic shared by these places that is undeniable.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?I would disband every community group from the Shores to Bird Rock, including all business groups and business districts. Then I would then invite anyone still interested in making La Jolla better for all businesses and all residents to join together in one group organization that covers everybody and every business.
This group would then be governed by only two rules. The first: Every decision is discussed in public and voted on by everybody in La Jolla with the majority winning. The second: If you loose the vote, you must accept defeat, honor the victor’s point of view and move on. What a fairytale democracy!
How about I snap my fingers and have events that actually represent our community promoted in La Jolla. I’d enjoy going to something like a kite festival or a Founder’s Day Ocean Celebration at Scripps Park. I know good intentions abound, but cows are for Lakeside, dog parades are for Ocean Beach, and $15 to look at a millionaire’s million-dollar car in a public park is a waste of my time and my money, especially since Symbolic Motor Cars at Pearl and La Jolla Boulevard is open every day and is free to walk through.
Who or what inspires you?The only thing that has ever inspired me in my entire life is my wife Leslie Ellen Talisman.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?Our house is a very small cottage. Eight people would not fit seated for dinner in our home unless three people ate in the living room and two people agreed to eat in the bedroom. So any dinner party hosted by me would have to include a separate beach party option down at the Windansea Hut.
My idea of an enjoyable evening would be for my wife Leslie (no invitation needed--it’s her house) to entertain the 14th Incarnation of the Dalai Lama His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, Dr. Jean Petrek of Sloan-Kettering Memorial, Dom Perignon and Michelle Obama at the house.
Down on the beach, I would entertain Robert Nester Marley, Trader Joe, King Kamehameha I and Penelope Cruz. Obviously, to spark conversation I would encourage our guests to frequently walk back and forth from each locale to enjoy the sun at the beach or to use the restroom at the house.
What are you currently reading?I am currently reading “Predictively Irrational” by MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely, “The Torture Team” by British Barrister and writer Philippe Sands, and my new book “The Hummingbirds of La Jolla – Windansea Beach.”
What is your most prized possession?None of my possessions are prized except for what my wedding band represents. I have grown away from the false security objects can bring. Everything we think we possess is borrowed from either the trash man or the Grim Reaper.
What do you do for fun?Fun for me is to cook dinner for my wife, especially if it’s fresh tuna caught by our neighbor William J. Patton. I have fun surfing and skiing. I even have fun just talking about surfing and skiing. The most fun I have right now in my life is living in one the most beautiful places on earth, walking to the beach to enjoy sunsets, and running a business with my wife in the Village. Oh boy is that last one fun!
Describe your greatest accomplishment.My greatest professional accomplishment was challenging myself to work at the very height of my chosen profession and succeeding. My greatest personal accomplishment was marrying the right woman.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?Do what you do and only take good advise.