Pitchers Eddie Cicotte, Ed Walsh, Jim Scott

Charles M. Conlon American

Not on view

Charles M. Conlon was an upstate New York newspaper proofreader and amateur landscape photographer who began making snapshot studies of athletes at baseball games in the 1890s. When he ended his career in 1942, he had established himself as an American master photographer known for his distinctive, poetic documentation of America’s favorite pastime, baseball. Conlon’s candid but lyrical photographs appeared as halftone reproductions in the annual Spalding Base Ball Guide and the monthly Baseball Magazine and were also reproduced widely on baseball trade cards. His full oeuvre is believed to be some 30,000 photographs. What is exceptional about his work is a distinct sense of camaraderie between subject and photographer and a sui generis vernacular pictorial style that both ball players and period commentators recognized as peculiarly American. It is, in essence, a kind of folk art as much as baseball was in its early years.

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