Sports Photographer Jean Fruth does more than take pictures. She tells stories — of vibrant personalities, local cultures, and distinctive communities. From a small darkroom to the most iconic stadiums flooded with lights, Jean’s trajectory as one of photography’s preeminent visual storytellers has taken her on a round-the-horn tour of the world’s most indelible landmarks – from the world of baseball to the world at large. Sports have always been Jean’s most compelling subject, and from her earliest days in sports photography, she covered everything from wrestling to sailing to basketball — and on any given Friday, she could be found taking full advantage of those Friday night lights, shooting northern California’s storied football rivalries.
Soon Jean was called up to the big leagues herself, as she spent nearly a decade shooting the crown jewels of Bay Area sports — the Giants, the A’s, the 49ers. Her portfolio quickly expanded when she was invited to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, where she helped build the museum’s archive and bring to life the story of baseball. America’s most eminent historical institutions – including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Smithsonian — have featured her work.
What drives Jean now is to serve communities through her storytelling – as the co-founder of Grassroots Baseball, a non-profit that promotes participation in baseball at the youngest levels, and as a traveling photographer for La Vida Baseball and La Vida Sports, digital media companies that shares the stories of Latino sports around the globe. As one of Sony’s select Artisans of Imagery, and through her popular workshops, she shares her techniques, her insights, and her love of images — both the power of pictures and the stories they tell.
Jean’s first book, Grassroots Baseball: Where Legends Begin, was released in 2019. Her latest, Grassroots Baseball: Route 66, will be published in spring 2022, with proceeds benefiting the non-profit program.