Shooting on film, the photographer has captured the varying vibes of recreational sports in New York, chronicling a parallel world to which city dwellers can escape, whether it's to shoot hoops or swing a bat.
Pauline Deschamps freely admits that she went unnoticed. In the purest tradition of street photography, she discreetly slipped into the middle of a basketball game and caught all its frenetic movements on camera. "That's the advantage of places like that, you're invisible. People don't pay any attention to you," observes the photographer, who says that she especially liked the uninhibited aspect of basketball courts. "These are places where people can go shirtless and don't care what they look like," she says.
This freedom of movement and of being oneself is something that attracted the photographer. "Public ball fields and courts are places where ordinary city dwellers can let go, get out of their work clothes, forget their regular social status," she adds. These spaces can even be a refuge: in one photograph, she captured an unusual situation, in which a child who had run away from something had just spent the night on a basketball court and had to answer questions from concerned police officers.
But Pauline Deschamps also noted the almost total absence of women. “These places are mostly geared towards men,” she says. Upon returning to Paris, where she lives, she therefore wondered what kinds of urban recreational spaces public officials came up with for women. "That's my next topic," says the photographer enthusiastically.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin