The Saddest Basketball Nets

Photographer Katie Sadie used her medium format camera to capture the abandoned hoops of New Mexico, Texas and California.


Equipped with a medium format camera and sleeping in her van, Katie Sadie went on a road trip through the southern USA states and couldn’t shake the sight of abandoned basketball nets.

Old and empty basketball nets—poles that had fallen over, rusted rims and peeling paint. There’s a personal and surreal quality to Sadie’s work that goes beyond voyeuristic interest. Here’s what she told us about her series, and why she shoots with medium format:

I kept seeing sad net after sad net.

"I wanted to make sure I wasn’t rushing anything. Shooting medium format means fewer frames and larger negatives, so I knew I would have to really step back and put more thought into each photo I took.

"The Pentax 6x7 allowed me to photograph using a waist-level view finder. This let me be somewhat stealthy while photographing on the street. And I prefer the frame dimensions and exceptional detail you can get shooting medium format.

"These basketball nets are a selection from New Mexico, Texas, and California. When I first began driving through New Mexico to El Paso, I found it very interesting that the majority of families in suburban neighbourhoods had basketball nets decorating their front yards. The nets however, were not being used.

“The majority of the basketball nets were net-less, sprawled out on the ground helpless or even missing basketball net limbs. This became an ongoing theme throughout the rest of my time driving around the Southern United States. I kept seeing sad net after sad net.”

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