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Ward Roberts


Ward Roberts Courts

In my younger years I’d often spend a lot of time playing tennis, soccer and basketball with friends. We’d break into schools on the weekend just to play sport. I was curious to find out if this is still a popular activity. Throughout my travels I have documented the relationship between the cities and sports courts.

Sports courts are subjects to extremes: battered by the stomps and slams of players or else left in silence. These days, much of the beauty and pathos of courts lies in their minimalist sentiment. In their deserted state they become sculptural, attracting the eye of the photographer or painter more than the player. As Ward’s photographs show us, we easily sympathize with the treatment of such venues that are developed purely for our use and occasionally attract abuse. The only evidence of action you’ll see on many outdoor courts nowadays is the handy work of amateur graffiti ‘artists’. For many, the attraction to healthy recreational activities has been superseded by faster, louder viewing experiences. The humble local court has been neglected in preference to the stadium, which delivers sport as spectacle with staples like pre-match entertainment, merchandise and a bar. The surrounding buildings that feature in many of Ward’s images give us another clue as to where all the playing action has gone – indoors.

Ward Roberts was born in Australia, and after living abroad in Hong-Kong for a number of years, he rekocated to Melbourne in 1994. Ward graduated with distinction from RMIT University with a Bachelor of Arts in Photography. At a young age he has achieved international recognition as an emerging artist. He is currently based in Melbourne.

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