The Players presents Steinmetz’s photographs of adolescent and teenaged baseball players, on the field and in the dugout, focused on the game and lost in their own worlds. Made between 1986 and 1990, the photographs are classic Steinmetz: tenderness, humor, and humanism are all present here, as is Steinmetz’s exquisite use of natural light and attention to poetic detail.
“The kids in Steinmetz’s photographs are ages 6 to 13, with a few older boys. Steinmetz must remember how awkward and uncoordinated bodies that age can be. His empathy is evident throughout the series. Most of these kids are too young to have the grace, skill or concentration required and are too green to experience the sheer pleasure of knowing they are good, maybe really good, ballplayers in an unforgiving sport.
These kids run into each other in pursuit of a fly ball. Hope drives their swings more than their awareness of the art of hitting...Steinmetz concentrates less on the players in the field than those outside the base lines who are waiting to play, or cooling off. He observes the managers as well as the spectators who love the game or one of the players, or who just have a free afternoon. He sees “high fives” as well as the “what were you thinking” moments. His photographs have all the skill and grace lacking in the players.” — from the Introduction by Anne Tucker