Driven by a never-ending curiosity into how people around the world engage with the sport and culture of tennis, we asked Paris-based photographer Cassandre Lafon to depict the scenes of tennis that unfold on a daily basis in the French capital.
“I wanted to focus on the viewers around the tennis courts. The Jardin du Luxembourg is a historical place for tennis; people have played here since year 1900. I went to the courts for four days to understand the life there. I liked the casual way that people came to watch others play tennis. Some are university students, others are readers, painters or lovers. Some spend the whole day there, others just come for a quick break. The details of it all attracted me — the shadows of the wire on the player’s bodies at sunset; their gestures when putting the balls inside the pockets of their shorts; the butterfly on the tennis courts.
My main inspiration was the scene at the end of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, “Blow-Up”, when the photographer is watching the mimes play. At the beginning, we don’t really believe it, just as the main character doesn’t, but slowly, Antonioni makes the invisible ball exist. By capturing the shadows of the players and looking for a way to capture the thread between viewers and players, I wanted to look for that limit of visibility.
I was also inspired by William Klein’s documentary, “The French”, with all of its colors, compositions and details of the body. I shot the essay on Cinestill 800t film to really bring out the colors and give the narrative the feeling of film. In essence, the series acts as a sequence, with its start at the tennis ball and its end on the outside of the court, as well as from childhood to adulthood."
Thank you Gilles Pinhède, Emilia Bezzo, Antoine Bouveron and Amaury Queroix.