In our second issue 11 feature focusing on young athletes, we cast our gaze to the dunkers of America. With crafted tactics and an innate connection with the ground beneath their feet, these boys reach celestial heights in the pursuit of glory.
Waves of hectic roars fade away as they leap through the air, captivating all those who observe. When the strict rules of calculation are in place, all that’s left is you and your ball. Dunking is not just a sport, it’s a lesson in the secrets of levitation. Instead of capturing them as champions of the court, photographer Sophie Ebrard chose to peer into their private spaces in this stunning documentary series. Who are they when they’re no longer mirages of athletic triumph, but simply just boys hanging out?
Dunking is essentially about individuality. Competing against each other, pushing each other towards new challenges. It’s all about making your leap higher than the last and with more complexity - but here, the camaraderie is very real. Honey-glazed light fills the room, exposing little golden specs of dust in the air. There are no deadlines and no particular thoughts at all, just sheer tranquility. It’s bare feet and aching muscles reminding you of your humanity, and the importance of doing nothing at all, even for just a little while.
With its rippling of heavy breaths and a circulation of dreams, there is vulnerability in these hushed afternoons. Masculinity is warped into something softer. It is in the little indentations of your pillow across your cheek and in the pleasant echo of husky words. You find little fragments of your mind in each crease of your crumpled sheets, in that private spot that allows honesty and restoration. Friendship crystallised, as you put a pause on that inevitable hourglass of manhood.