The book: “Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin”
The author: Brad Mangin, forward by Pedro Gomez
The vital stats: Cameron + Company, 162 pages, $18.95
Find it: At Barnes & Noble, Powells, author’s website or the publisher’s website
The pitch: I’m still trying to figure out how my Apple iPhone 5 works. If that’s even the proper name for it.
I’ve downloaded a few apps, including Instagram. One of these days, I’ll figure out how to make something happen there. Then I’ll Tout it. Then I’ll … wait until there’s another app to tell me what to do with every spare moment.
What may inspire me more is having experienced the end product of what Mangrin did with his iPhone 4S, using Instagram, to produce one of the more cutting edge books that seems to be out of place in many ways.
Instagram, if we’re not mistaken, is more of an online process of sharing photographs, making them squad, with an artistic ragged edge, tweaking the colors in some ways to make everything look brilliant and retro-dull and over-saturated at the same time.
Committing them to the pages of another medium like a print form seems almost backward.
But then, what do we know?
Somehow, the camera phone phenomenon is supposed to be more spontaneous, more intimate. More gotcha?
Quick, take a picture of that.
It is some kind of technological advancement, but not necessary in the big picture. Just go back and read Andy Strasberg’s “Fantography” from last year’s review list to see how uncomplicated this all can be.
Sports Illustrated’s Bay Area-based photographer Mangin got hooked on Instagram as something to fill time, finally collecting enough material to give to the magazine for a spread in July, 2012. The feedback inspired him to do more, snapping stuff all the way through the San Francisco Giants’ World Series party.
Gomez doesn’t do much to endorse this method of photography in his forward. The ESPN reporter does more bragging about the fact that those who say baseball is a dying sport didn’t see the ’12 season.
Mangin’s fun with the phone began as a lark, he admits in his introduction. He wanted to see how the social media tool could be of use.
“I can finally look at the world with a fresh eye — at age forty-seven,” he says.
That’s nice and all. And the book is a quick flip through.
Hang on. I’ve got an Instagram experiment going here.
At the Angels’ home opener last week, I shot this with my iPhone: The brick diamond that’s there under the hats at Angel Stadium, with the pitcher’s mound and the glowing light that appears on the rubber, had two hats, in memory of the fourth anniversary of Nick Adenhart’s death. This is the original:
Here’s the Instagram reproduction — I used X-Pro II option. I then sent it on Twitter (not Facebook, flickr, tumblr, foursquare or tetherball, hopscotch, tiddlewinks or pop-a-shot), and did it all from the iPhone:
Way cooler. I’m sold. Do I get a book deal now?
Now I’m wondering: Whatever happened to that Polaroid Instamatic shot I once took of Dodger Stadium of Junior Gilliam on camera day?