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Jerry Reuss - Ballpark Photographer

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  • Jerry Reuss - Ballpark Photographer

    Jerry Reuss' photos have been posted in several threads recently and today Uni Watch ran half of an interview with him which started with a discussion of how he got started documenting the ballparks he played in. It's pretty interesting and his interest in the non-game aspects of baseball are about on par with most of us.

    Here's the ballpark portion of today's interview.


    Uni Watch: Before we talk about uniform stuff, I was looking thru your photos on Flickr, and it looks like you were clearly trying to document certain ballparks and were also going for a fairly artistic approach. Have you always been a photography buff?

    Jerry Reuss: Yeah, but I didn’t always act on it. In fact, one of the regrets that I have — and I have very few regarding my career — is that when I signed my first contract, I didn’t do the things I tell kids to do when they sign theirs. And that is: Buy a camera, the best that you can afford, and you can record every place you’ve been, everything you’ve done, and teammates who you may never see again.

    I didn’t do that in the beginning of my career, and that’s what I was thinking in 1988, when I signed on with the White Sox. I was working out one day, and I thought, “If I play this year…” — because it wasn’t certain — “…I’m going to take a camera with me and I’m going to record wherever I play and the people that are with me.” I figured better late than never.

    UW: So would you be walking around the stadium with a camera before a game?

    JR: Well before the game. See, the American League was still somewhat new to me. By taking the camera with me, I’d get excited about going to the ballpark right after lunch — an hour or two earlier than what I’d been accustomed to. A lot of the groundskeepers and stadium officials and such, they know you’re a ballplayer, and if you get there early enough, they’re happy to talk to you and show you around the various parts of the ballpark. So you see new things, you make new friends. And then after I took my pictures, then it was time to work out.

    I didn’t know what I was going to do with the photos. But then later, Flickr came along, and I read as much as I could about that, and I said, “With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of time, I can preserve all of my baseball memories for future generations, for my grandkids, and for anyone else who’s interested.” So it’s all there in one place, with captions describing all of it. And what really drove it all home was when my parents passed, Mom and Dad saved stacks of pictures, but they didn’t write anything on the backs, so we really had to guess a lot regarding when and where the pictures were from, who was in them. So I took some time to do that with the captions to my pictures on Flickr.

    UW: It’s satisfying to catalog your life like that, isn’t it?

    JR: Yeah, it was like taking a trip back in time.

    UW: Were you unusual in that regard? I mean, were other ballplayers doing this as well, or were sort of an oddball in terms of your photography?

    JR: At first I was an oddball. But as guys saw what I was doing, they’d ask me about it. By 1990, my last year in the big leagues, I had guys coming with me to take pictures. They’d say, “Are you taking photos today?” And I’d say, “Yeah, come meet me for lunch and then we’ll go.”




    The rest of the interview and links to some of the things they talked about can be found at UniwatchBlog.com.
    Last edited by JohnCropp; 09-27-2010, 06:41 PM.

  • #2
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    :bowdown: .......................
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    • #3
      I'm sorry if I sound not too modest about this, but all of Jerry Reuss' collection will become a part of www.digitalballparks.com permanently. His photographs of Memorial Stadium were integrated with ours last week, and his Cleveland Municipal Stadium photos starting on Monday. The Kingdome, Three Rivers, Comiskey and the rest will soon follow. We've already had a great collection of these ballparks thanks to Robert K. Shoop's collection but Jerry Reuss' photographs are just amazing... and we felt a need to make him a part of our baseball stadium museum. Robert K. Shoop's collection is certainly nothing to sneeze at either so I consider ourselves rather lucky. I think between these two photographers, we will have complete angles of over a dozen now demolished MLB ballparks and we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Jerry to our website. It is an honor beyond anything I could put in words.


      Eric
      President
      www.digitalballparks.com
      An online baseball stadium museum featuring over 12,750 ballpark photographs

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      • #4
        That is really great news, Eric.

        I love how Jerry was taking a very documentarian approach to the photos and it only makes sense that they end up as part of your site.

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        • #5
          That's really what I love about them. So many people try to send me photos of an old now gone ballpark and I get photographs of things like peanut shells under the seats or a closeup of the outfield wall or some dust on home plate... all of which is useless to me because it tells me nothing about what the ballpark physically looked like if you were sitting there watching a ballgame. (I am so sick of all of the books that claim to be about ballparks, and then you buy them to see say... Connie Mack Field. It shows closeups of a wooden seat, some bricks and the ballfield... just the field. All of these could be interchanged with any one of 1000 other stadiums in the country. Thats when I take the 50 dollar book I just bought and fling the piece of shite out the window.) That annoyance is what drove me to do this the "right way". Instead of focusing on the artsy stuff, we shoot raw from every angle of the stadium so that you know what the actual architecture of the ballpark looks like from EVERY possible angle and if you missed it and never got to experience a particular field, you will come away with a sense that you have. If you prefer however to look at peanut shells, I can fed-ex them to anyone who is interested. Jerry Reuss' shots are really amazingly realistic views of the stadium... stark and raw like ours but with a unique take from a player's point of view. I just love them and am proud to bring them to www.digitalballparks.com. Thanks for the appreciation John. Sadly it looks like another long off-season for us Mets fans. Lets hope we don't wake up and find out that they've decided to keep Minaya another 2 years... or worse yet, give the job to Jeff Wilpon.

          Eric
          President
          www.digitalballparks.com
          An online baseball stadium museum featuring over 12,750 ballpark photographs
          Last edited by Digitalballparks; 10-02-2010, 05:42 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Digitalballparks View Post
            So many people try to send me photos of an old now gone ballpark and I get photographs of things like peanut shells under the seats or a closeup of the outfield wall or some dust on home plate... all of which is useless to me because it tells me nothing about what the ballpark physically looked like if you were sitting there watching a ballgame.
            If I ever publish a book with my photos of the final game at Shea Stadium, I will make sure these images each take up a full page...


            (Photo taken September 28, 2008. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)



            (Photo taken September 28, 2008. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)


            :hyper:
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
              If I ever publish a book with my photos of the final game at Shea Stadium, I will make sure these images each take up a full page...


              (Photo taken September 28, 2008. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)


              (Photo taken September 28, 2008. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)


              :hyper:
              That's tellin' em, Gary-D!

              Nobody can - nor should - question your ability to capture detail, either up close, as above, or in the wide vistas of entire fields and grandstands. Poignancy exists at both ends of the spectrum, from a single seat or cup of soda to an entire outfield.
              Last edited by NYFan1stYankFan2nd; 10-02-2010, 09:56 PM. Reason: Can't compose a sentence worth a LICK..
              RYS to NYS: "Obi-Lonn never told you what happened to your father."

              NYS: "He told me enough. He told me you killed him - in the 1970s!!"

              RYS: "No, I am your father..."

              NYS: "No, it's not true, that's impossible!!!!"

              RYS: "Look beyond my respirator pods and my upper crown; you know it to be true!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NYFan1stYankFan2nd View Post
                That's tellin' em, Gary-D!

                Nobody can - nor should - question your ability to capture detail, either up close, as above, or in the wide vistas of entire fields and grandstands. Poignancy exists at both ends of the spectrum, from a single seat or cup of soda to an entire outfield.
                But then again, that's me. I get a free pass because I'm so [CENSORED] good.

                In reality I know where Eric's coming from. There was one double-page spread in the otherwise excellent A Day at the Park: In Celebration of Wrigley Field by William Hartel that was just a close-up of popcorn. How the [CENSORED] did that help to illuminate the Wrigley Field experience for those of us who've never been there?

                The soda shot may be just as silly, but the second shot is of legitimate interest, because it shows the relationship between the very last row of the upper deck and the wall, or fence, or whatever kind of barrier there is.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post

                  The soda shot may be just as silly, but the second shot is of legitimate interest, because it shows the relationship between the very last row of the upper deck and the wall, or fence, or whatever kind of barrier there is.
                  Not to mention the sheer height from that back row down to those cars! Yikes.
                  RYS to NYS: "Obi-Lonn never told you what happened to your father."

                  NYS: "He told me enough. He told me you killed him - in the 1970s!!"

                  RYS: "No, I am your father..."

                  NYS: "No, it's not true, that's impossible!!!!"

                  RYS: "Look beyond my respirator pods and my upper crown; you know it to be true!

                  Comment

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