Friday, November 6, 2020

The photographer's life

One of the reasons I'm fascinated by the photographs on my cards is that there's so much mystery attached to them.

I know the names of thousands of baseball players, but not one baseball card photographer. This seems wrong to me. Who are these mysterious people who've captured the moments pored over by thousands and thousands of collectors? What's the decision process on choosing which photos make the cut, and which ones get left behind? And why is Jason Standridge wearing a sumo suit on this minor league card I'd somehow never seen before, and, more interestingly, how did this image end up on a baseball card?

I'm scoobied on each and every one of those questions, but at the very least I'm glad Bob of "The Best Bubble" blog decided to send this wacky piece of minor league history my way -- Jason was a late invite to my Halloween party

I often wish cards would give some sort of photographer's credit on the back or something, just so I'd know who to thank for wonderful, perfectly captured stills like these.

Between floating baseballs and Ferris wheels, I feel like photographers deserve a lot of the credit for the joy I get out of my collection.

I don't know who started the trend of putting double plays or shots of guys signing autographs on baseball cards, but I owe my mini-collecting fanaticism to them.

Bob's been sending me cards for a while now, and one of the trends I've noticed with his packages is that he's always trying to get me hooked on new mini-collections.

Don't know about you, but I sensed a fungo bat-themed subliminal message here.

Again, I wish I could thank whatever photographer came up with the concept of putting superhero-like multiple-exposure shots on baseball cards, and I'd like to implore card companies to please make more of these.

Of course, I don't usually show basketball cards on the blog, but a card of a guy playing a (five-string?) bass is just too darn cool -- did an Upper Deck photographer just happen to be in the audience that night, or did UD specifically send someone to take that picture?

Bunch of terrific oddball randoms from Bob -- not every day you find a Japanese TCMA in a trade package (and of a gaijin!).

Like any true snob, I love owning cards of guys before they were famous.

Most of my trade posts inevitably get sprinkled with Cubs, and here were are.

Famous Cubs!

Shiny Cubs!

Autographed Cubs!

I've never been much of a TTM/IP auto guy, but these were certainly unexpected treats from Bob, and way cool.

Ah, I miss you.

A numbered Ernie Banks and a stop-action Kenny Lofton are further proof that Bob is really spoiling me.

More cards that have nothing in common aside from pure greatness.

I don't know much about Dick Donovan, but when someone sends you a '56 Topps out of the blue, you don't ask questions.

I do, however, wonder about the people responsible for the images on beautiful, landmark sets like this one. I feel like they deserve our dearest gratitude, because we all know the photographic grandeur of '56 Topps, yes? Topps may have designed the cards, issued them -- but it was the photographers who brought them to life. A baseball card, of course, is nothing without a photograph.

Thus it seems like a great tragedy that we know almost nothing about these photographers, their lives a mystery to us, lost in the negatives. 


Shlabotnik Report said...

I've wondered this kind of thing before, and it's more intriguing to know that, for example, Keith Olbermann took a few photos for 1981 Donruss.

I knew I saw photographer credits on a card recently, and after a few minutes I remembered it was on Sports Illustrated For Kids cards... which makes sense, as the photos were likely taken by SI photographers.

Mike said...

That's a great credits on cards...

And,boy does Fergie Jenkins look peeved at something!

Elliptical Man said...

Tough to beat a Carlton with foreign words. But an autographed Sandberg does it I think.

Photographers get credit in Sports Illustrated, or at least they did when I used to read it. I'd say some of the shots on trading cards are in that class.

night owl said...

Photos rarely appear in newspapers without a photo credit. It is almost necessary that photographers are recognized. I don't know how card companies get away with not acknowledging them.

Nick Vossbrink said...

Photo credits show up so rarely on cards that I had to do an entire post about them.

gcrl said...

I once sold a card on ebay to the guy whose photograph was used on the card. I recognized his name because he was a local photographer and then confirmed it via getty images.

Chris said...

Sweet '56 Donovan! The triple exposure Womack is oen of my faves. I don't recall seeing that Wayman Tisdale before. Very cool.

I'm guessing that's the same sumo suit Lance Berkman wore in his minor league card?

Fuji said...

As much as I do enjoy a great card design... I think photography is more important to me. That's why I'm still able to appreciate certain cards in 1991 Fleer. Anyways... that 83OPC Carlton is fantastic. I treasured my Topps version as a kid. And that multiple-exposure Womack is wonderful.

Bo said...

I've interviewed a few card photographers over the years. Some of the photographers from vintage Topps cards have been interviewed over the years. In early Fleer if you knew the photographer you could narrow down a lot of them - cards in Philly were shot by Bartosz, in Boston or Montreal by Babineau, etc. The Tim Flannery card with the Sauritch surfboard was taken by Lou Sauritch, the brother of the surfboard maker, he did a lot of the San Diego shots. Some day I'd like to put all this information together in one place . . .

Bo said...

And now of course it's all wire photography so they don't have to pay a house photographer. Soon enough it will be all photos from the stands so they don't have to pay professional rates of any kind . . .