Titled Hoops, the exhibit proves that anywhere can be turned into a basketball practice space by simply mounting a backboard and a hoop onto an elevated vertical surface.
Bamberger‘s large-format photos present both private and public courts, but the most compelling in the series are ones that show the ad-hoc, run-down equipment in urban or remote settings.
“Although the game’s standard equipment is simple and well known, Bamberger’s colour photographs show us that the permutations for a basketball court and backboard are nearly endless,” said a statement from the museum.
“The design and construction of these spaces reveal as much about the communities in which they reside as they do about the game itself.”
Unexpected locations that appear in Bamberger’s photo set include a grain silo in Oregon, a dusty cactus-strewn park in Arizona, and an abandoned campsite in rural Tennessee.
Others are more recognisable, like domestic garages, driveways, backyards and urban public spaces.
Most of the images were taken across the USA, but a handful show courts in Rwanda, Namibia, Mexico and Guatemala.
Those in Rwanda depict orange dirt ground used as courts, and wooden poles and backboards, at a primary school and a church playground.
Meanwhile in Namibia, another school’s pupils use simple hoops mounted on metal poles when playing on a concrete surface.
“Hauntingly devoid of people, Bamberger’s photographs are nonetheless neighbourhood and community portraits, reflecting basketball’s universal appeal and ability to dissolve demographic, ethnic, and regional barriers,” the museum’s statement said.
Some of the courts are covered in colourful graphics, as seen at the Goodman League and a primary school in DC, while others have graffiti on the surrounding walls.
Hoops is on show at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, from 9 March 2019 to 5 January 2020.
Other photographers that have captured sports courts around the world include Ward Roberts, who presents the pockets of space in pastel shades.
Photographs are copyright Bill Bamberger.
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