‘Roundball Religion’ Photography in America’s Heartland

Roundball Religion is the title of the project of American photographer and teacher Joe Cornett to capture basketball hoops and courts in the heartland of America. “This body of work is a photographic exploration of rustic and makeshift basketball hoops and playgrounds found throughout the United States. The backboard and space give us insight about the culture of basketball in various regions of the country. I’m interested in not only the image, but also the backstory that comes with each hoop.” says the California based photography instructor.

The “American Dream” title photo

“To many people, basketball is a religion. The sport is a major part of their lives and in some ways defines a collective lifestyle. Playing the game of basketball becomes a necessity to life. The backboard and court become a fixed part of the yard and have just as much importance and function as a clothesline on the lawn or a car in the driveway.”

“This collection of images started on the reservations and mountain regions of the southwest and has now spread to the farmlands of the Midwest. The idea is to further explore and include the urban environments of big city basketball so that the project encompasses more diverse cultures and regions that play the game.”

“I like to focus my photography on the homemade and improvised basketball hoops that I discover. The element of time takes over and these backboards become relics within the space that they stand. I also appreciate how each hoop is created. The handmade quality adds to the overall aesthetic and proves that some people will go to great lengths to build a rim and a court so that they can play.”

“I ask permission on almost all of the hoops that I photograph. My dad has been with me for a large part of this journey so he chats it up with the owners and we gain backstories to accompany the images.”

All of these courts are different in nature but the game remains the same.

You can learn more about Cornett’s photos on his @RoundballReligion account on Instagram or www.JoeCornettPhotography.



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