A Photographer’s Tour of New York City’s Basketball Courts

Sometimes, it takes seeing the world in an entirely unfamiliar way to appreciate its beauty. That was the realisation Paris-based photographer Ludwig Favre came to when he began travelling and taking photographs. In his latest series, Ludwig presents his subjects of New York Basketball Courts in all their beautiful colour, and critically, when they’re not in use.


Ludwig has been exhibiting his work at galleries, winning awards, and taking pictures all over the world – last time we spoke to him, he was exploring Paris’s Sorbonne University after hours.

Ludwig has several methods for making the familiar look unfamiliar. One method he uses, across many of his series, is to make pictures without people in them, or at least to make pictures in which people have an almost architectural, rather than personal, touch. Another method that he uses with New York Basketball Courts is emphasising the colours and hidden details of the courts.


THE PLUS caught up with the photographer to find out more about his process.

THE PLUS: As a photographer that likes to travel, what attracts you to a new site?
Ludwig Favre:
I like discovering new cities, new landscapes and exploring buildings in search of the photo that will be different from the others.

TP: What was the inspiration for this series? Are you a basketball player?

I am a great sportsman. I have played handball for more than 20 years, but also basketball. I love the colours and the atmosphere that emerges from a basketball court.


TP: Why do you prefer making social documentary images without people in them?

Even though I like people, I find that making images without people in them is immediately more visually powerful, and more intense as places take on their full dimensions.

TP: What were you looking for in each court?
LF: A different atmosphere that is related to their individual neighbourhoods.

TP: How long did you spend in New York? Do you like the city?

I go to New York one or two times a year. It is like my second home. I go there because I like the city and the people, but also to meet people (Annie and Chrissy Crawford) who represent me in New York and in the United States with the Artstar Gallery.


TP: What fascinates you about America?

The United States is the opposite of our old Europe. Everything goes very quickly. Everything is gigantic. I spent my childhood watching American series and films, and certainly some of my fascination comes from there.

TP: What are you working on for your next series?
Next up I’m working on the architecture of the oculus in New York and then cities in deserts.