Monday, January 28, 2008

The Photography Of 1994 Donruss

Donruss was usually not about the photograph, but about capitalizing on the moment. Their photography usually looked like it was picked of the cutting room floor. But Donruss got their cards out in a hurry, so they were among the first in 1991 to have a Darryl Strawberry card with a Dodgers cap on.

Donruss was all about gimmicks. Shameful and in abundance. When Upper Deck came out with the first "premium" cards, Donruss was among the last to challenge them. 1994 was the first set that didn't seem like it was thrown together by a monkey or a starving artist. Look at Donruss' 1990 and 1991 designs for proof of that.

The photography got better in quality and better in selection, but there was still a problem. There were no standout cards from the set. It was all action, all the time. Not much variety. They mostly showed pitchers pitching and batters batting. Mixed in was an occasional shot of some player in the field.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it does get a bit boring after awhile. Players are not constantly in motion. They do rest. They do have candid moments. If anyone were to come out with a card of Steve Lyons with his pants down, it would be Donruss. Not because it's a candid moment, but because it's something to capitalize on.

I'm just glad that Donruss actually found a shot of Mike "Spanky" LaValliere moving. Well, kind of, but it's more movement than I've ever seen of him captured on a card. He actually looks like he's about to do the Truffle Shuffle. This set started a lazy trend that has come to be the norm today, rather than the exception. The lazy action card.

Looking through my small inventory of 1994 Donruss, I can't find a single shot of a pose or a resting position. Not even a shot of someone just standing there. Even the backs are all action. That's mind numbing.

I applaud Donruss for stepping up the photography in this release, even though it's a bit later than most. Maybe they thought that all the portrait and posed shots should be in the Studio releases. It's always better to mix it up for some variety.

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