Tabitha Soren has spent a dozen years delving into the realm of American baseball, exploring tradition, success, and failure. Using the tin type process to photograph some of the live action, she gives a nod to the history of both that process and baseball itself - coming to popularity at around the same time in US history. Embedding herself in the drafts, she uncovered the truth behind the glamour - that a small percentage ever make it to the Big League.
"FANTASY LIFE is a series that explores the fantasies that define America: Manifest destiny, the romantic idea of the restless wanderer, the hopeful idea that failure is just a step on the road to success, the notion that the pursuit of fame and fortune is also the pursuit of happiness, the belief that to secure one's identity, one must seek to stand apart from the community."
"￼Out of the thousands of players that are drafted into Major League Baseball each year, only a tiny percentage - about 6% - go on to play in 'The Show,' the big-pay, high-stakes galaxy of thirty teams that we all know, love and hate."
"Some of my subjects became well known, respected players at the highest level of the game. Some left baseball to pursue less glamorous work, such as selling insurance and coal mining. Some have struggled ￼with poverty - even homelessness. But the common thread among them all is that they had a shot, and they literally put their bodies on the line for the sake of the game."
It is very hard to do this deep project justice online, so you can go see it now at Kopeikin Gallery in LA, through June 6, 2015. The live exhibition includes:
A mixture of C prints and Selenium toned Gelatin Silver prints;
A wall of memorabilia from the 23 players I followed for 11 years (everything from kindergarten age baseball cards to arthroscopic x rays from knee surgeries);
A wall of comparison portraits showing that only 5 of the 21 subjects made it to the major leagues;
Tintypes of action shots from games;
Two sculptural elements: a vitrine of 40 bone spurs (many taken out of the players during surgery to improve their game) and an acrylic 4 foot high tower of shelled peanuts, with 6% of the peanuts at the top painted gold.
All images © Tabitha Soren
Check out Tabitha's previous entry about her series "Running."