This past weekend I was assigned to photograph a local high school pitching star from up north in The Woodlands, Texas, Jameson Taillon. As I usually do before a portrait session, I research the subject to try and understand why they are being photographed and to learn a little bit about them. Jameson who recently graduated from The Woodlands high school was recently selected 2nd overall in Major League Baseball’s 2010 first-year player draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Not only was he considered the top pitching prospect of the draft, Jameson was offered a scholarship to Rice University and a spot on the prestigious Rice Owls baseball team. Given the fact that I love sports (especially baseball) the research on Jameson was more exciting than tiresome. After coming to the realization that this kid was a little more than just decent high school baller, I tried to come up with some ideas on how to approach the shoot.
Saturday morning I arrived at Scotland Yard, the home field for The Woodlands High School baseball team, early, to scout locations. Although there were a few lingering clouds, rain was not an issue, but the 110 heat index was definitely going to play a role. I had my gear set up and ready to go well before Jameson showed up.
“How did you get in here,” Jameson said with a grin.
Little did he know that in the absence of any facilities personnel on a Saturday morning, I roamed around long enough to find an unlocked gate and let myself in.
Given Jameson’s recent success, it’s no wonder that several of my colleagues in the photo world have photographed him recently, with most of the shoots taking place at this same location. Although it may have been repetitious for him, he was in good spirits and a great sport. Unfortunately for me, since my shoot was taking place after the high school season was over, Jameson was unable to be in full uniform for the images. He had a cap, a glove and a logo t-shirt. The trademark socks, pants, jersey and cleats that set the iconic baseball uniform apart from the rest of the sports world were no where to be found.
Some of my planned shot ideas involved shooting Jameson full length and in a variety of different locales around the ballpark. Since his uniform was incomplete I adjusted my game plan and decided to work in tight and concentrate on Jameson’s look.
Pitchers in baseball are known to “stare down” their opponents. There was a certain look in his eyes that showed me he had what it took to intimate batters, but there was also a touch of innocence about him. Here is a kid that was just another high school teenager a few months ago and now is on the verge of a possible multi-million dollar offer from a Major League ball club. Once I took a few tight frames of Jameson, concentrating on his eyes, I knew that my last-minute game plan adjustment was for the better.
After we started shooting, Jameson was very accommodating. Since I was dealing in tight, it meant that he wasn’t able to be as mobile as maybe he would have liked, but we pushed through several different angles and lighting setups and were done well before he had to leave.
I played baseball for about 8 or so years, before I moved to Paris, France in my younger days, so I am definitely proud to see another local Houstonian about to break out in the big leagues. Our area is known for producing exceptional sports talent and Jameson will hopefully go on to become an awesome Major League hurler, whether he decides to jump right in or attend Rice for a few years.
A gallery of some of my favorites from the shoot is below.