Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Instagram gratification in baseball
Posted Apr 17, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM
I do not have an Instragram account. But I know that it has quite a following, particularly among younger people. At least two of my kids are Instagram junkies, so I was intrigued when professional photographer Brad Mangin published a collection of photos from the 2012 major-league baseball season, shot from his iPhone.
“Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin,” (Cameron + Company; hardback, $18.95, 161 pages) showcases the many sights one might see during a baseball season. There are a lot of great photos and cool subjects that Mangin captures, but I wanted to hear perspective from someone younger than me; I mean, I only started doing Twitter a year ago, and it took me a while to migrate from MySpace to Facebook. Instagram? I don’t even have an iPhone, although I do have a snazzy Android.
So I asked my 19-year-old son Matthew, who doesn’t follow major-league baseball (although he did play baseball in high school), what made Instragram so appealing.
“It’s like Facebook without all the words,” he said. “It’s easy to look at something without dealing with everyone’s opinion.”
And that is certainly true in Mangin’s book. Sure, there are captions, but they are listed at the end of each chapter; that way, the reader can absorb the impact of the photo. Or, as Rod Stewart informed my generation in 1971, “every picture tells a story.”
Soft focus can be an effective tool, in Instagram and in general photography, and Mangin uses it to great effect in several cases. His portrait of Brandon Phillips on page 28 utilizes what my son explained me as soft circle focus; Phillips’ face is in sharp focus, but anything outside of that circle is not.
A photo of a game ticket featuring Matt Cain on page 41 is very effective when highlighted in the foreground against the backdrop that is AT&T Park in San Francisco. Or, as Matthew tells me, “the background fits in and doesn’t distract.”
There’s a fun photo on page 40 of a pile of Dubble Bubble bubblegum and a nice shot of a relaxed Tim Lincecum during a pregame moment as he sits on the bench.
My favorite shot in the book is on page 101, where a youth league coach hits grounders to his players at Heritage Field, located on the site of the original Yankee Stadium. The coach is framed, shadow-like, and the skies have a intriguing tint.
Matthew noted that he liked the ball in midair and the contrast on the batter.
There are other random photos in the book, like of beer cups, groups of baseballs, bats stored in a rack, fans of all ages, managers being interviewed, groundskeepers at work, and vendors. It’s quite an eclectic montage.
Not only did Mangin take all of the photos in this book on his iPhone 4S, he also did all of the editing using a few of his favorite iPhone applications, like Dynamic Light and Snapseed.
This book shows that journalism is not limited to the printed word; in fact, pictures have always played a part in telling a story. This book helps tell a story by combining the big picture with the little things that make a baseball game such a great experience.