In his series, NY Play, Franck Bohbot explores the timeless relationship between New York’s playing fields and the unique environment that they inhabit. While, as evident in most American towns and cities, the busy landscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan are dotted with patches of baseball diamonds and blacktop basketball courts, the sporty sites found in the boroughs boast a distinctive backdrop: iconic New York landmarks.
Shot in 2014, NY Play presents the countless parks, fields, and rinks that comprise recreation in the city. Whether nestled between skyscrapers or set before a looming skyline, each playing field is undeniably connected to urban life, with the grid-like compositions and linear boundaries of the courts and fields echoing the city’s geometric structures and Art Deco architecture. Spanning baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, handball, ice skating, and skateboarding, the sports explored in NY Play are boundless, and the circumstances of each scene vary; while some photos show kids at play on warm summer nights or uniform-clad teenagers in the sunshine, others show rain-soaked fields desolate in the winter and dimly-lit courts abandoned after dark.
Although each scene is unique in context, the photographs are ultimately unified by Bohbot’s signature sentimental aesthetic. His subdued saturations evoke a nostalgic atmosphere that, when paired with pastimes deeply embedded in American culture, exhibit Bohbot’s undeniable ability to visually travel through time – a timeless staple of his work. Text by Kelly Richman