There is certainly something about special about sport, the way that it captures the imagination of the public and the fanaticism that never seems to be far away. So much so in fact, that some would consider sport as almost being religious.
That’s not to belittle the notion of religion, however divisive it may be in its perpetuated modern guise, but more a reflection of how sport is perceived in society. Whether participating in or spectating, sport offers an escape route from the vicissitudes of life, having ability to ‘heal’ through a combination of physical and emotional exertions.
Photographer & Cinematographer Kevin Couliau has examined this theory, using the camera lens to capture different basketball courts from all over the world, with his signature sense of honest reality. According to Kevin “The regulars share a lifestyle, beliefs and all commute on the same universal sanctuary: The Park. “ He continues, “No matter its location, the functions are the same - physical outlet, education, social integration - but its holy dimension resides in its capacity to heal wounds, like an outdoor parlor with a hoop as the priest.”
He may well have a point. For even when looking at the solitary version of the game - just you and the basket - the repetition of shooting, collecting the ball and shooting again certainly relieves tension. With each shot comes a greater sense of ease; shoot and miss. Shoot again, swish. Repeat the shot; bang bang, boom, then swish.
If nothing else, the court gives the mind an alternate focus, realigning your thoughts to a simple process of hand eye co-ordination, while refining life’s tasks to a singular goal; get that ball through the hoop.
“As an active member of this community, I started capturing these heavenly visions in 2004 - from my hometown in France to more than 50 cities across the globe - highlighting the hallowed architecture and landscape of each playground. This endless photographic pilgrimage of mine is my reverence to basketball - I'm a believer."
~ Kevin Couliau
A powerful notion, riddled with truths evidenced by its many ‘witnesses’, but it does raise the question; just what is the perception of religion in modern society? One thing for sure is that people are looking for relief and for some the park - if nothing else - at least offers a temporary reprieve.
EDITOR | SAMSON