Photographer creates a record of Oriole Park at Camden Yards

BOOKS & AUTHORS

September 27, 1992|By James H. Bready

Janis Rettaliata and her camera are a familiar sight, i Baltimore and beyond, when something is being constructed. That can be a building -- or a sports team's victory. One day in 1989, the two came together. She thought: the Baltimore Orioles' new home -- pictures of it taking form, shot from all angles in all weathers. What a story!

Three years, 200 or more trips to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and about 600 rolls of 35mm color film later, the structure sometimes called OPACY was open for American League business. And Ms. Rettaliata's name was on the cover of a $25.95 book, "The Baltimore Ballpark Project: The Creation of a Baseball Stadium."

Its 44 plates, with foreword by Vince Bagli, are a veritable art-in-sport exhibition. For fans who still and always need statistics, two end pages give ballpark dates and data.

The game and its sites are the basis of many a book, published or projected; Ms. Rettaliata's is distinctive in being a one-woman show. Instead of lining up a commercial publisher or corporate sponsor, she did her own developing and printing, chose the photos, wrote the captions, contracted with printer and binder, and now promotes and markets the 10,000 copies. Self-publishing is constant, but such books often lack general-reader interest. Many Baltimoreans are likely to be happily unwrapping "The Baltimore Ballpark Project" Dec. 25.

The last holdout against inflation, the Edgar Allan Poe Society oBaltimore -- it hadn't raised dues since 1962 -- has capitulated. "Prices in the real world" compel $5 a year now, instead of $2. And, no more one-payment, lifetime memberships.

But tradition will reign unaltered Oct. 4 as the society once more observes Poe's death: the 12:30 p.m. ceremony at Westminster Graveyard (Fayette and Greene streets), the 2 p.m. lecture at Enoch Pratt Central Library, this time on "Poe's Tell-Tale Clocks," by Dennis Eddings of Western Oregon State College.

Meanwhile, "Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy" (Scribner's, $30), by Jeffrey Meyers, is the year's second Poe biography, after a long void. The first, Kenneth Silverman's "Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance," recently was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award in biography. And, Stephan Loewentheil's 19th Century Shop has issued a 120-page, illustrated, annotated, 706-item, $25 "Poe Catalogue." Prices range from $4 (a 1991 Pratt Library publication) to $200,000 (an 1845 first edition of "The Raven and Other Poems," the copy -- with unbroken provenance -- presented and inscribed by Poe to Sarah H. Whitman, his late-in-life fiancee).

fTC William Tecumseh Sherman took time throughout the Civil War twrite to the Ewing family, who had raised him, back in Ohio. Years ago, in an attic, their descendant Joseph H. Ewing of Wheaton came upon 27 of these letters from Uncle Cump; full of brimstone, they are now out in an annotated book (with 1865 military map), "Sherman at War" (Morningside House, Dayton, Ohio, $24.95). Mr. Ewing, a World War II rifle platoon leader in the 29th Division, earlier wrote the division history, "29 Let's Go!"

A newer war occupies Carl Bradfield in "The Blue SpadersVietnam" (ASDA Publishing, 310 Sweetbriar Court, Joppatowne 21085, $24.95). Bloody memories are still with this survivor of 200 firefights (as a private, not a general) and two helicopter crashes. A crowded book topic, Vietnam; yet Mr. Bradfield's graphic recall, set down with no airs and very little bitterness, stands out. He dedicates his book to God, "who allowed me to leave the battlefields of Vietnam in one piece."

Carol McAfee's latest novel, "Who's the Kid Around HereAnyway?" (Fawcett Juniper, $3.99), is a young-adult story about the troubles of a teen-ager whose parents are on the verge of divorce. Maddy Winchurch, candidate for editor of her high school paper, has a boyfriend who may be wimpy, and another who may be criminal.

The Baltimore Writers Alliance is now meeting on the seconTuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Elkridge Estates club room, Roland Avenue past Lake. It lists John Kelly as its Oct. 13 speaker and Robert Kanigel as its Nov. 10 speaker.

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