In 2002, Tabitha Soren first began photographing a group of minor league draft picks for the Oakland A’s―young men coming into the major league farm system straight from high school or college. Since then, she has followed the players through their baseball lives, an alternate reality of long bus rides, on-field injuries, friendships and marriages entered and exited, constant motion, and very hard work, often for very little return. Some of the subjects, like Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton, have gone on to become well-known, respected players at the highest level of the game. Some left baseball to pursue other lines of work, such as selling insurance and coal mining. Others have struggled with poverty and even homelessness.
Fifteen years after that first shoot, Fantasy Life portrays a selection of these stories, gathering together a richly textured series of photographs taken on the field and behind the scenes at games. These images evoke the enduring spirit of this quintessential American fantasy of making it in the major leagues.
Tabitha Soren left a career in television in 1999 to start another as a photographer. Her art visualizes psychological states; the internal weather that storms through each of us. Her work is included in the public collections of the Oakland Museum of Art, Transformer Station, Pier 24 Photography, New Orleans Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Her work has been featured in Dear Dave, McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine.