Dominican Dreams: Portraits of Ball Players by Simon Willms

NEW YORK—Showing strength, dedication and hope, the young Dominican baseball players in Simon Willms portraits are aiming for the major leagues. The Toronto-based photographer captured his subjects in Santo Domingo and San Pedro where professional teams operate “farms” to identify and develop new talent. A dozen large-format C-prints by Willms were on exhibit at the United Photo Industries Gallery over the weekend during the Dumbo Arts Festival.

Installation view.

“Young athletes are a compelling and recurring subject in my portrait photography, in particular Dominican amateur baseball players. Realizing a career in professional baseball is a long shot that entices scores of youngsters in many Caribbean and Central American countries,” Willms states in a gallery release. “My images were taken at a vulnerable point in many of these young peoples’ lives, between childhood and adulthood, their future uncertain. Whether or not they are destined to play professional baseball is yet to be decided.”

The show, “Minor League,” was on view at the gallery from Sept. 6 to Sept. 30, 2012.

All photos © Arts Observer

Above, Detail of “Pena.” Top of page, Far right in foreground, “Peres.”

From left, “Johan Manuel” and “Jose David Montemota.”

From left, “Pena,” “Juan Manuel Squino” and “Ramon Parra.”

From left, “Luis Alberto Pedra” and “Jose Luis Morel Rosario.”

From left, “Pena” and “Juan Manuel Squino.”

Detail of “Juan Manuel Squino.”

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