If you're a Sox fan, there's a good chance you've noticed some pretty cool pictures that have been featured on the White Sox social media accounts. Whether it's Avisail Garcia at bat or Tim Anderson fielding a ground ball, Chicago photographer Chris Tejeda has a knack for capturing the moment. He is one of several photographers the team features regularly on their Instagram account. To learn more about the man behind the lens, I talked with the photographer himself.
To kick things off, when did you first start taking pictures?
I first started taking pictures about 2 years ago, but didn't take it seriously until about last year. It was honestly super random how it all started but I'm beyond thankful for that camera.
You mention it was random how it all began. Tell us, how did you get started and what made you want to take your photography to the next level?
I thought I was going to be playing baseball to be honest. I was getting recruited by a few colleges and had my mind set on playing ball the rest of my life. Then, my senior year, those dreams were pretty much cancelled due to injury. For the first time in life, I actually felt lost and in a dark place not being able to play baseball. I didn't have a "Plan B."
Finally, I couldn't really take it anymore so I felt I had to do something different; I had to take a chance and try finding something that could bring out that same joy and happiness baseball brought to me. So I literally spent a $900 check that I received from my grandmother, once I graduated high school, on a camera I knew nothing about. I just had this feeling in my gut it was something I had to do.
I bought a camera not knowing ANYTHING about it so once I actually had it in my hands and started checking it out, I was kind of blank because I felt like I really didn't know what I was getting myself into at all. It was literally like another language to me, I had no clue, but I had to learn some how.
Once I noticed it brought me that same joy baseball did, I was determined to get better, I knew it was right. I felt I finally found it and that motivated me to really take things to the next level and actually give it my all. I knew I wasn't going to be good at first but this was my second chance. In my head, I was thinking "I just spent $900; I don't have a choice now."
Now, we fast forward to 2017. Tell us about how this opportunity came about to photograph the Chicago White Sox.
Man, all I can really say is it's truly a blessing. I went to a lot of games last season just to shoot. I'd literally be all over the stadium doing my best to get as close as possible for the best shots and go home ready to post them on Instagram. Now, I'm on the field taking the photos. It feels like a dream and to see my work on the official White Sox instagram is still unreal to me. I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity that's been given to me.
Can you talk about what it's like when you show up to the ballpark. Do you have a specific routine or is it something new every time?
Usually, it's pretty much a specific routine. Once I get there, I'll check in and just start to make my way towards the field to set up. Then, once I'm set up, I'll instantly start shooting, whether it's batting practice, stretching or the stadium itself, I like to get as many shots as possible and fully take advantage of the opportunity. I still get chills every time I step foot on that field.
Last question, have you had any memorable games that you've photographed so far this season?
A memorable game for me, so far, would probably have to be game one of the Red Sox series. First game having Chris Sale back without a White Sox uniform on, which hurt to see so it was pretty crazy, especially once they played a tribute for him on the big screen. That was actually one of the first pictures of mine the White Sox used so that also made it a lot more memorable for me.
Chris continues to photograph White Sox home games regularly and Sox On 35th is proud to showcase as many of his photos as we can. If you are interested in seeing more of Chris Tejeda's work, his photos can be found on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @FotoGenocide_.