Spent all of last week in Brooklyn, NY shooting for a client. That shooting involved a lot of exploration around the borough with a focus on one particular subject (more on that to come), but I’ve always got my eye out for other things as well. And basketball hoops are definitely high on the list. Have never done much city shooting for the Hoops Project, but really enjoyed it. Brooklyn is magical place. Wouldn’t mind spending a lot more time there.
Just a reminder that I'm having a show at Fathom Gallery tonight after the Kobe jersey retirement ceremony at Staples Center. I'll have a bunch of limited edition prints on display, along with some 1/1 signed Kobe game jerseys by a group of really talented street artists. Hope to see you all there!
Fathom Gallery: 110 East 9th St. Suite CL002, Los Angeles, CA 90079
On 12/18/17 the Los Angeles Lakers will be retiring Kobe Bryant's jersey at the Staples Center. If you're around for it, or just live in LA, come by Fathom Gallery afterward. I'll be showing some signed limited edition hoops prints. Alongside my prints will be a bunch of signed one of a kind Kobe jerseys that have been made in art pieces by a number of extremely talented street artists. Hope to see you there!!
Fathom Gallery. 12/18/17. 9pm-12am. - 110 E 9th St, Suite CL002, Los Angeles, CA 90079
These images were made a few weeks ago during a trip to Indonesia, and won't be in the show, but wanted to post some updated images anyway. For more, check out my HOOPS gallery.
I always think to myself that any photographer who really gives a shit will invest heavily in personal projects. That's not to say you have to spend a lot of money, but invest yourself. Shoot something that's just for you and let that project develop a life of it's own. You'll be glad you did. I also think that a photographers personal project begins without even knowing it. In your own time you shoot what you're randomly and naturally drawn to. Then over time, a small collection or series of images comes together that you didn't even realize you were creating. The even greater part is over the same period of time, that body of work naturally grows followers of people with similar interests. Those people can be totally random, but they can also be commercial clients who want to buy your images or pay you to make something similar. That's a win on all levels. No longer are you searching for the right clients. Now the right clients are looking for you.
I don't care who you are, things can get slow from time to time. And what happens during those lows, is that you take assignments you're not right for. Maybe it's not your speciality, or maybe you just don't give a shit? Either way, you shouldn't have taken it because it always shows up in the work. Everyone who views an image can tell if it's right or not. When a photographer wants to make a great image he'll do whatever he can to make it. But when the interest isn't there, or they just took the job for the money, you can see it. I decided a long time ago that I'd rather be broke than take assignments that aren't right for me. I use to take them all the time, and it just led to bad relationships and bad images. Definitely not the kind of thing you want out in the world as a freelance photographer. So I started investing heavily in my own projects while also shooting commercially. And after years of building up different portfolios, all that work is starting to pay off. One of them in particular is starting to get really fun, The Basketball Hoops Project. Last February the project had it's first exhibition in New Orleans for NBA All-Star Weekend. And just recently I signed on with Fathom Gallery in Los Angeles. They will not only be sourcing shows for the project and selling prints, but also seeking commercial licensing. I'm really excited about this partnership, and look forward to seeing where it goes.
Creating images for the right clients is always fun. For a company to choose you out of all the other photographers in the world is a great compliment. When your personal projects start to take flight though, that's the real reward. Hugh Hefner died yesterday. Calling him a legend would be an understatement. Among the many great things he's ever said, my favorite has to be "Life is too short to be living someone else's dream".
Go out and create for yourself.
I made this image back in April of 2011 during a road trip with my mother. At the time the Hoops Project wasn't even a thought. Yesterday though, after stumbling on this, it made me wonder if it was?
During my time on the road one thing I've always got my eye out for is hoops. I don't really see an end to this project. It will probably be something I continue to shoot for the rest of my life. That being said, it's getting harder and harder to find hoops that I actually like. Over the past 4+ years, I've come across some amazing hoop scenes, which means the bar is now set pretty high. So unless I find something at least as good or better than the previous ones, then I'm not shooting it. These three are (in order) from Nebraska, Colorado, and India.
For those of you who follow what I do, you know what a huge advocate I am for personal projects. So seeing this one start coming alive is immensely gratifying. I'm so excited to announce that my Hoops Project will be premiering at the Boyd Satellite Gallery in New Orleans this coming February to coincide with NBA All-Star Weekend. There is still a long way to go until it goes down, and has already been a long road. About 8 months ago, I had a show set up in Charlotte, back when All-Star was supposed to hosted there. After lots of controversy , the NBA pulled out of Charlotte due to North Carolina's bathroom law. Not gonna get into that, but needless to say, it was a huge hit. I went back and forth about what to do, given that there wasn't much time to start over with trying to find a venue in New Orleans, the new host city. For a while, my enthusiasm about a show fell way off. Then the project got picked up on Sports illustrated and another popular site overseas. Which gave me the necessary kick in the ass to not let this thing die. The next day, I booked a flight to New Orleans to start knocking on doors. Immediately after getting to my hotel, I walked outside, and was hit with a heavy feeling of "where the hell do I start". One by one, I walked into every art gallery in New Orleans with an iPad to share the project. Surprisingly, most people were very open to the idea, but nothing real concrete was put in place. Then a few days went by, and offers from different galleries started coming in. Given the lead time and scheduling that most galleries keep, this was amazing. Was hoping for just one half assed "yes", so having three solid offers was unreal. After a lot of debate, I decided on the gallery that I had the best feeling about, and thought I had developed the best relationship with. Now here I am trying to throw this thing together. Having all the printing/framing down, but more importantly, trying to get people into the gallery. I'm incredibly lucky to have support from SLAM Magazine. I've been a fan of theirs for a long time, so having them be fans enough of the project to support it, is a huge gift. Will be sharing more info on this in the future, but put February 17, 2017 on your calendar if you're in New Orleans for All-Star.
“The Basketball Hoops Project” Premieres at Boyd Satellite Gallery in New Orleans during 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend
The photography series captures basketball hoops from strange and remote areas of America.
Rob Hammer and SLAM Magazine have announced a partnership to exhibit the artist’s photography series “The Basketball Hoops Project” at the Boyd Satellite Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 4 – March 1, 2017. There will be a special All-Star Weekend Party on Friday, February 17 from 5-9 p.m.
The inspiration for the project came from the Larry Bird biography, “Drive,” which Hammer read as a kid. Inside was a photograph of Bird’s childhood hoop—nothing more than a wood backboard and rim hanging on a dilapidated old barn. That image made him think, “How could the greatest shooter of all time come from such humble beginnings?” As time went on, and Hammer crisscrossed the country on assignments, he noticed hundreds of other hoops just like Bird’s, and wondered, “What stories do those hoops have to tell?”
Over the course of three years, Hammer traveled over 60,000 miles by car, accompanied by his husky, Mojo, to the most remote parts of America in search of abandoned basketball hoops. He soon realized that basketball is everywhere. In every urban city, every rural town of every state in the USA, basketball lives, in some form or another. While some courts have been deserted, one can’t help but wonder how many hoop dreams began with shooting, practicing, playing and staring up at every one of those rims. This dedication to the game can be felt in Hammer’s images.
This February, SLAM Magazine will bring this gallery exhibition to the basketball event of the year: All-Star Weekend. “Rob Hammer’s photos are about passion—his passion for the road, his passion for basketball and the parts of the game that are hidden from the bright lights of the NBA,” says Adam Figman, Editor-in-Chief of SLAM. “We’re incredibly excited to be a part of this gallery opening.”
About Rob Hammer Photography
Rob Hammer is a commercial photographer based in San Diego, California known for his dynamic images of professional athletes, fitness, and adventure. His client list includes Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Foot Locker, and Fox Sports. To view Rob’s work, go to www.robhammerphotography.com.
About SLAM Magazine
SLAM was founded in 1994 as the "in-your-face basketball magazine," covering all things hoop-related, from NBA, college ball and high school hoops to old-school stories, kicks, streetball and the fashion of the game.
Over 20 years later, SLAM is the No. 1 brand for all things that matter in the world of basketball. From Kobe and LeBron to Iverson and Durant, SLAM brings the reader face-to-face with their favorite players, and slamonline.com brings breaking news and rumors in real time. SLAM was launched as "the basketball bible," and is still the only place for the true basketball fan.
Boyd Satellite Gallery: 440 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Tim Mantoani passed away last week. He has been a huge inspiration of mine for a long time, and I regret not getting to know him better. Aside from being an incredible photographer who worked on huge campaign's with legendary athletes, he was a great person. Any time I ever had a question about photography, Tim was always willing to help. Which is a rare thing in our industry, let alone a small market like San Diego. A lot of photographers out there would (and do) view me as the competition, and in turn, blow me off. Not Tim though. Id approach him with questions about big ad jobs that I was lucky enough to have come my way (and any photographer would love to have come their way). And tim would take the time to tell me as much as he could about what I could do to land that "job". What do you say about someone willing to do that? Another thing Tim and I shared in common was our love for personal projects. He and I have always been big advocates for not just shooting, but promoting them as well. Shooting commercial campaigns are great, and I love it. But nothing is more rewarding than shooting for yourself. In my experience, they are also the thing that leads to more commercial work down the road. So it's an amazing win win. If you follow what I do, you know about the personal projects I've worked on in the past. The most recent, and ongoing, being The Basketball Hoops Project. Been shooting this for about three years now, and it's finally gaining steam. It was published this morning on Sports Illustrated's The Cauldron. Which has resulted in another news outlet approaching me about also publishing the story. You might be thinking that these things don't matter, but this is how it starts. A series of small steps that lead to a much bigger payoff. Ive got big goals for this project and it's commercial usage, so these things are great little pieces of a much bigger puzzle. Not sure where I'm going with this, but most importantly, want to encourage any photographer who reads this, to put more time into their personal projects. Anyone proud enough to call themselves a photographer probably has 20 different projects in their head at any given time. The problem is actually doing something about it. So if you are reading this, get off your ass and start one of your projects. Doesn't have to be huge, but go at it 100%.
Link to the article: HERE.
Link to my Hoops Project: HERE.
Of the many things I learned while shooting for the barbershop book, is that the longer you shoot one project, the harder it gets. And for only one reason, that the bar continues to rise. Which by all arguments is good. When this project first started, it was fairly easy to find unique hoops. Now I can drive to the east coast and back with only actually shooting 4 or 5 hoops. And as long as they are quality, then it doesn't matter. But I can drive thousands of miles without finding anything that works, and it makes you wonder how much farther you can take the project. Then right around the corner you find a gem, and all the sudden you're back on track. Love that.
Among other things that I haven't been posting about, is my Hoops Project. The past 6 months has been filled with road trips, which means I've been busy sniffing out hoops along the way. Not only that, but last month I had a small printed book filled with these images sent out to companies/agencies all across America. Hope to get some feedback on that soon.
Over the past year+, I've been doing a lot of traveling/shooting for my hoops project. And think it has developed into a pretty cool body of work. Yesterday the gallery got a nice update, so head over there and check it out. Also decided to try and get these images out there, and currently working on a nice promotional booklet that will be sent nationwide to a large handful of magazines, companies, and ad agencies. Hopefully they will dig it.....