British photographer Richard James Daniels has lived in South East Asia for the past 25 years, spending approximately five years in the Philippines.
In a region where football has a massive following, he was surprised to observe the Filipinos’ passion for basketball and shooting hoops, specifically on the grass root courts of the impoverished villages in the Visayan Region.
The majority of the shots featured in his project are of single hoops in people’s backyards or rural communal areas. These areas are usually very inaccessible and often off limits.
In most cases there is no actual court, as such. The hoops and backboards are made from whatever material is available. These backboards are usually placed on trees and as a result the height of the hoop increases as the tree continues to grow.
Very few players have the money to buy sports shoes, so both adults and children play in flip flops or bare feet on playing surfaces covered with debris and rubbish.
The project is ongoing with more than 300 courts and hoops presently documented, together with subsets of the series including a focus on backboards.
“The hoops I have documented will eventually be replaced by newer and more generic courts as the Philippines, and hopefully the local villagers, become more affluent,” said Daniels.
“There is a real historical element to the series and, even after shooting for just over a year, I see lots of the temporary housing and the hoops disappearing.”
All photographs by Richard James Daniels