One day during the 1939 baseball season, acclaimed photographer Arthur Griffin spent a couple hours at Fenway Park, taking pictures of lanky Red Sox rookie, Ted Williams. Griffin took several rolls of pictures using his usual 35mm black and white camera, but he also brought along a new 4"x 5" view camera, because Eastman Kodak had asked him if he would test out their newly-created color film.
These color photos that Griffin took of Ted Williams back in 1939 are some of the most beautiful baseball photographs I've ever seen, and the very first color photographs ever taken of Ted Williams. It's amazing to see him in full color at 20 years old. You can tell why they called him "The Kid".
You my have seen some of these pictures without even realizing it. Remember this image of Ted Williams that graced the cover of Sports Illustrated after he passed away in 2002? This is one of the pictures Arthur Griffin took that day in 1939:
Fast forward to October of 2011. A family friend visited my parents, and brought a gift to pass along to me- two photographs of Ted Williams that had belonged to her husband, a childhood friend of my father's, who passed away recently. They didn't mean much to her, and she thought I might appreciate them, since she knew I had been working on a book about Ted Williams. Here they are:
I've got them up on my studio wall, and I just keep staring at them. Two 11 x 14 color prints, taken by Arthur Griffin that day in 1939, autographed by Arthur Griffin AND by Ted Williams!
I'm sure she could have gotten a lot of money for these treasures, and I'm blown away that she decided to give them to me. Here's a closer look at each:
|I think this one is my favorite, because it captures Ted Williams so well. Even when he's posing with his glove, he's still working on his batting stance.|
|Or maybe this one is my favorite...|
To make a long story slightly less long... I mentioned the idea to Judy Manzo, bookseller extraordinaire and owner of my hometown independent bookstore, Book Ends. She loved the idea, and offered to show an advance copy of the book to the people at the Arthur Griffin Museum, which she did. Their response was so much better than I even hoped for. They don't just want to host a launch party. They want to host an exhibit of Arthur Griffin's 1939 photographs AND my original artwork from my book, There Goes Ted Williams!
So that's the exciting news! I'll have more formal promo materials as the date approaches, but for now, here are the details:
There Goes Ted Williams: Matt Tavares and Arthur Griffin
The Griffin Museum of Photography, in Winchester, Mass
Exhibit will run April 5 through May 27, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, April 12, 7:00-8:30pm
Artist talk and book signing: Sunday, April 22, 3:00pm
(signed books will also be available at the opening reception)
Winchester's excellent independent bookstore, Book Ends, will be handling book sales at both events.
I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm so honored to know that my Ted Williams illustrations will be up on the wall with Arther Griffin's photographs. If you're anywhere near Winchester, Mass, I hope to see you at the opening!
|illustration from There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived, by Matt Tavares|