Back in the day (i.e., when I was a kid), taking pictures was a pretty big deal. Cameras used real film (kids, ask your parents), either in roles for SLR cameras that a) cost money, and b) had to be developed, which cost more money. If you had an “instamatic” camera, then you had to buy a film cassette, which then had to be developed. If you had a Polaroid, you got your “printout” instantly, but those were basically only good for close-ups and the film was more expensive. These days, you buy a point-and-shoot and an 8-gig memory card and you can snaps off hundreds of photos, look at them instantly, and then decide if they’re worth printing or not.
All right, enough history. This was a lengthy indoctrination to the world of baseball fan photography, which is the basis of Andy Strasberg’s website, Fantography.net, and the forthcoming book — Baseball Fantography: A Celebration in Snapshots and Stories from the Fans — based on his work there.
The “mini-coffee table” book — due out in April — is published by Abrams Image, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, which puts out some very lovely art books, including several on baseball.
Strasberg is the president of All-Star Corporate Marketing Enterprises and previously worked in marketing for the San Diego Padres. In addition to his latest project, he is one of the foremost experts and collectors of memorabilia associated with baseball’s “anthem”: along with Tim Wiles and Robert Thompson, Strasberg co-authored Baseball’s Greatest Hit: The Story of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
I spoke recently about the importance of photography to the fan experience.