The Quiet Beauty of Urban Basketball Courts

Australian photographer Ward Roberts captures the places that people play

Australian artist Ward Roberts is fascinated by the places people play. That’s why, over the last nine years, he’s travelled the world photographing urban sports grounds.

At first glance, his images seem like they are taken from a dream; they are full of pastel colours, gentle light and unusual architecture.

The trees are lush, and the markings on the ground form sprawling patterns. But beneath the surface, there’s also a lurking sense of melancholy. The landscapes that Roberts captures are completely devoid of people, and, as a result, feel somewhat lonely. They’re almost like ruins –simultaneously serene and unsettling.

The pictures taken in Hong Kong are particularly poignant. This is the place where Robert’s passion for photographing sports venues began. In 2007, he set out to compile a visual essay about the city’s car parks, but ended up getting sidetracked. Whilst walking around, he stumbled across an empty basketball court, and became intrigued. Once he clicked his shutter, he knew he’d found something special.

Roberts’ process is painstaking, but the results speak for themselves. He’s already published two books of his photographs, the latest of which is available through The Practical Man. Prints of his snaps are also available at Uprise Art.