Year One of a never-ending photo essay in search of lost things.
In October 2014, I started taking pictures of basketball hoops. I think my initial impulse was one of wistfulness – once, not so long ago, much of my life revolved around the sport, and now it doesn’t. I miss it, but not very often, and not as much as I used to. Sometimes I think any longing I still have for basketball is really just a longing for my youth. For legs with some jump, lungs that never scream, a red-hot engine in my chest burning to win and win and win. The legs, the lungs, the engine: I don’t have these anymore, but I’d take them back, even if there wasn’t a basketball game involved.
So the pictures started as a way of feeling some sort of connection, however tenuous, to something I felt I had lost. They became something else. The more hoops I saw, the more I started thinking about their secret histories, the games they had seen that vanished even as they came into being. Each hoop stands as an archive of absence. I imagine basketball games now as much as I remember them. Maybe all longing is as much an act of imagination as it is of memory.
The other unexpected discovery is that I think about trees and the sky much more than I used to. Perhaps this awareness is another thing I have lost along the way.
https://twitter.com/jgavinpaul (I post my hoop dispatches on twitter).