Phoenix/ Arts & Culture
AI Assisted Icon
Published on February 28, 2024
From Mound to Museum, MLB Icon Randy Johnson Debuts Photography Exhibit in ScottsdaleSource: Google Street View

Scottsdale's art scene just threw a curveball, swapping out paintbrushes for a camera in the hands of baseball great Randy Johnson, whose photographic work "Storytelling with Photographs" opened at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, ABC 15 reports. The fastball legend, known for striking out more than a fair share of batters during his 22-season tenure, is now capturing striking visuals, curating his experiences with a photographer's eye.

Shifting from athlete to artist isn't a stretch for the Big Unit who's had an interest in photography since his USC days, as per 12 News, he balanced playing baseball with developing his skills in a dark room, even landing a gig shooting concerts for his college newspaper, The Daily Trojan, putting down the camera only to up his game on the mound, now picking it back up to focus his post-game days on something outside the diamond.

The gallery offers a glimpse into Johnson's travels, especially his fondness for Africa, a continent he has visited six times, and which he continues to believe holds the potential for even more captivating images – "I’m still convinced there's greater pictures I could take out there of Africa," Johnson told 12 News. The exhibit also nods to his past work photographing music legends like The Clash, The Who, Billy Joel, and Elton John.

"When my career was over, then I was able to jump back into this," Johnson said in an interview with ABC 15, reflecting on his dual life as an MLB player and a photo buff, and expressing similar precision in framing a shot to striking out a batter, Johnson's focus seems unwavering, "I have tunnel vision, if you will, when I put the camera up to my eye, I'm only seeing the subject that I'm taking a picture of," and when I was pitching, I only saw the hitter and the catcher that I was throwing to.".

Free to explore until April 28, the "Storytelling with Photographs" exhibit is more than a display of Johnson's artistic side; it's a chance for visitors to tap into the wanderlust he hopes to inspire, suggesting a trip to Africa might just be on the horizon for those captivated by his work – after all, as Johnson puts it, "In baseball you know when I’ve done my job and done it well, and you also know when I haven’t, but in photography and displaying artwork it’s all subjective," he shared with 12 News. Those interested can RSVP for an opening reception or drop by the Center Space gallery during regular hours to catch a glimpse of Johnson's unique perspective.