Monday, September 3, 2007

Things Brian Bannister is really good at (pt. 2): photography

Brian Bannister took those photos, we think/are pretty sure, because they can be found on his website, Beauty and Sport, in which the bio states matter-of-factly: "Photographer Brian Bannister was born in Scottsdale, Arizona and introduced to the world of professional sports at an early age. Traveling with his father Floyd, a Major League Baseball player for 15 years, Brian experienced the world through the life of a professional athlete." It makes no mention that "Brian" is now immersed in the world of professional athletes, that he is, in no uncertain terms, somewhat of a skilled professional athlete himself.

The website, rather mundanely, feeds into the site of a photography studio Bannister opened called Loft 19. A New York Times article from February 2006, when Bannister was still a Met, explains how the Royals pitcher came to his second vocation:

At 24, Bannister, one of the Mets' top pitching prospects, owns more cameras (six) than pitches (four). He invested his $100,000 signing bonus in opening a 9,000-square-foot studio in Phoenix called Loft 19 and said he spent most of his free time during the season retouching photographs or scouring Internet forums about photography.

He grew up in Phoenix and chose to attend the University of Southern California because of its fine-arts program, then walked on to the baseball team. He has taught himself Web-site coding and a cut fastball, Adobe Photoshop and a changeup, and in 2003 assisted the Mets' team photographer, Marc Levine, in the Shea Stadium photo pit. After Friday's workouts here, Bannister spotted Carlos Serrao, a prominent photographer he knows from shoots at Loft 19, and they chatted for a few hours.

On Bannister's Web site,, there is no mention of his day job in his 366-word biography. The closest he gets to revealing any association with baseball is in the second sentence, when he allows that he is the son of Floyd Bannister, a former All-Star pitcher who won 134 games over 15 major league seasons.

"I don't want to have an edge because of anything I've done in baseball," Bannister said. "I want to be compared with any other photographer out there on the merit of my work."

We wish we could say something here about the similarities between baseball and photography, perhaps drop a lesson on electromagnetic energy and particle physics as it relates to the finer points of ERA-plus, but as the man said so himself, the two worlds are best kept separate. So instead, we'll leave you with Bannister's profile words, with highlighted descriptors that apply to his budding baseball career:

Constantly evolving, Brian's work is a combination of his background in art and sports. His clean, vibrant style, trademarked by a cinematic use of light and a dynamic energy, strives to reveal the two themes that are his passion: classic beauty and pure sport. His perspective and technique remain perpetually fresh through the influence of the many great photographers that make Loft 19 Studios their temporary home.

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