New York may be the most densely populated city in the U.S., but it also happens to have more parks than other cities–including 800 athletic fields and 1,000 playgrounds along with bigger traditional parks. In a recent photo series, French photographer Franck Bohbot, now based in Brooklyn, explores the public streetball courts and baseball fields tucked into the city.
“I’m interested in the relationship between the built environment and people in general,” Bohbot says. “I found it interesting to photograph courts and fields because they have a big personality. In my opinion–this is the place where everybody who comes from everywhere plays together.”
He visited places like a baseball field in front of Lower East Side housing projects, a handball court near NYU, and a soccer field along the West Side Highway. Most of the photographs show the space alone, with no people. “I was searching for the best light from morning to night, and also the best moment–empty,” Bohbot says.
“I’m not looking for standard views,” he adds. “It’s interesting to find authentic parts of a city–desolate or crowded. I love when it’s calm, and when you don’t feel oppressed by a picture.”
In a similar series, Bohbot took 100 photos of empty basketball courts throughout New York. “They’re like a secret garden for me,” he says. “You don’t see them like you would a landmark building. … I find charisma in ordinary things.”
He hopes to soon take his show on the road. “Step by step, I will try to visit and travel to other cities in America and abroad to photograph more places,” he says.