PHOTO BOOK BY GARY LAND. SHOT IN SAN PEDRO, DE MACORIS, THE CRADLE
OF SHORT STOPS. THIS LIMITED RUN 12" SQUARE 112 PAGE BOOK IS
PRINTED ON BEAUTIFUL UNCOATED MOHAWK PAPER AND IS CUSTOM BOUND.
ALL OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THE BOOK SALE WILL GO TO A CHARITY DISTRIBUTING
BASEBALL EQUIPMENT IN AREAS OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC THAT DRAMATICALLY
Photos from Gary Land’s Born to Play Baseball opening last week.
Over 100 people showed up to sample traditional Dominican cuisine
and slug a couple of Presidente beers while checking out the work exhibited at the Foto Care Gallery in NYC!
Gary Land- Born to Play Baseball interview
Born to Play Baseball will be opening at 6:30 PM, March 20th at Foto Care Rentals and is sponsored by Presidente Beer
Q. These images are a big departure from the refined, lit work we see from you in the commercial realm. How did you come to shoot a project with available light thousands of miles from home?
A. I’ve been very interested in baseball all my life. I’ve played it and I’ve always heard about the Dominican Republic and its almost mythic ability to create great ball players. I’ve never had clear answers to why the DR has always been able to turn out such talent and I always wanted to see it for myself.
It came to me when I was down there, they play ball not for sport but for hope, or a means to get out of the country. Kids grow up with the idea that if they are good enough they might have the chance to take care of their family or community. The level of dedication and athleticism that you see from these young kids is incredible; they are hitting home runs, turning double plays, and throwing pitches at 70+ miles an hour while kids their age back in the states are just learning the game. It’s crazy.
Q. So did you do a lot of pre-production before the trip or just kind of show up and see what you could find?
A. For 7-10 days I just traveled around and documented baseball. Basically myself, a backpack and two assistants. I had a translator and I was able to tell him to pass along the message that “I’m not here, try not to look at the camera” to the kids I am photographing. I wanted the viewer to have a realistic view of what is going on there, nothing posed or produced.
I shot almost 10,000 images, narrowed them down to 1600 selects, and for the show I think we’re at 30 images. I’m making a book, which is going to have around 100 images in it. The book will have two purposes. The first is a promo piece that I’ll give to creative directors and the people that I work closely with throughout the year as a thank you. In the photo industry you are only as good as your last project. I’m going to make 1,000 books, half of which will go out as promos. The other half I’m going to sell and send all of the profits to a charity that will help to provide equipment and clothing to the kids in the Dominican Republic. To me, you have to give back.
My passion is taking a camera and documenting something that I care about, you can only plan out so much. My next book is going to be about Sumo in Japan, I’m following 10 wrestlers as they train and prepare.
Q. Wandering around with a backpack full of lenses and a body or two is pretty similar to how you started in photography, right?
A. I started shooting skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding. There was nothing better than that. As I got older and needed to expand my horizons I turned to more production, artificial lighting, etc. I also started to find an outlet in working on the files, figuring out how to combine that style that I love and grew up with and mix it with a polished, commercial look. I still learn every day; there is always something new to learn.
Q. How has your time in the DR affected your approach to photography (if at all) since then?
A. The only thing it really did is made me stick to an idea. I kept putting it (the trip) off, saying it would be too difficult, that there was too much other work to do here. I am glad I stuck with it and went there, if anything it has spawned a few other projects that I am very much looking forward to start.
As an artist I will print something, show something or put it online and then just hate it a week later. I don’t have any of my own images up in my studio; everything is either an illustration or a painting or sculpture done by someone else.