Pitcher with a passion: Jays’ Bowden Francis finds creative outlet in photography

By day he strikes out batters with precision, and by night he captures life's beauty through the lens.

By Lindsay Dunn

By day he strikes out batters with precision, and by night he captures life’s beauty through the lens, a master of both the mound and the moment. Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Bowden Francis is mastering the art of the shot on analog film. 

“I have been into cameras since I was a little kid,” Bowden told CityNews. “I remember I would get them all the time when I was little and I purchased my first one in 2017.”

When not training, Francis finds solace in photography, immortalizing moments with his cameras.

“I shoot digital and analog but some of my favorite cameras are an older Canon AE-1 and a little point-and-shoot in my pocket for whenever we go for dinner or whatever and I usually shoot on Portra 400 or Kodak 200 because I love the colours of it.” 

If you aren’t a film enthusiast you probably don’t know what Portra 400 is but it is one of the beloved choices of film that photographers try to capture moments on.

“I think it just kind of tells a story, it captures just a cool moment and it kind of gives a nostalgic feeling of it,” Francis said about why he shoots on analog. 

The 28-year-old takes his cameras on the road but also while discovering different parts of Toronto like this photo he took in Kensington Market.

“He was just sitting alone and I thought it would be cool to have him from that angle because I knew the bench would have leading lines towards him.”

He also captured this artist playing the cello in downtown Toronto. He carries a mini printer with him on some of his photography journeys.

“If I am in the streets taking pictures of someone like I did of this woman playing, I’ll print it out and hand it to her or my kids too. I have a bunch of little scrapbooks of photos for them.

“I just kind of want to stay in that realm because everything is so digital now and when my kids grow up they don’t want to see a phone full of photos they want to see a scrapbook.”

That mentality has struck a chord with his teammates. Before a game at the Rogers Centre, fellow pitcher Chris Bassitt was seen behind the lens capturing a photo of Bowden.

Is a photography group starting in the clubhouse?

“It is starting to kind of catch on {laughs}. It’s just something to do on those off days in those cool cities that we go to. I mean guys have already been into it I think I just kind of resurfaced it. Gausman got into it already. So it’s just cool to get everyone involved and get artistic with it.”

One of those artistic moments happened in Boston this season at the Green Monster. Whenever a player hits the field at Fenway Park for the first time they get to sign the wall known as the Green Monster. Francis captured his teammate’s milestone moment.

“It was really cool. I showed the guys the photos and they loved it. I am going to print it out for them and hand it to them so they can put it in their locker.”

The father of two didn’t rule out potentially showcasing his photography in an art gallery after he retires from baseball

“I’m just going to keep building on it and learning from it. I  think it is cool,  I am not an expert by any means but I just want to keep growing with it and so it can be something I get good at.”

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