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Estates like candyfloss

Ward Roberts's "Courts" transforms the housing project into a pastel-colored candyland

One photographer pushing the boundaries of taste and tech gloriously adorns the pages of Tunica magazine’s Second Issue: Ward Roberts. A young Australian-born photographer who spent some years in Hong Kong, before moving to New York, Roberts shoots pictures on film that you want to eat, wear and live inside at the same time.

In his series ‘Courts’ deserted communal sports courts in urban environments are depicted in ice-creamy pastel colours. Roberts transforms the typically gritty greys of estate housing into a kind of deliciously sexy candyland. Robert’s is a master at this, creating magical visions of the urban ordinary; in ‘Billions’, another series shot on film, layers of skyscapers at night conjure the feeling of an inner city wonderland.

Roberts taps into the visual language that meets art with fashion, composed of a lickable palates, backdrops of palm trees and super clean minimal lines. There are no sun-bleached locks, OBEY 5-panel caps or dungarees; but Roberts dresses these bland outdoor spaces and makes them as appealing as ASOS to a teenager with their parent’s credit card.

The thorn is in the inanimate view we get of these depopulated urban sports areas; Ward’s sweet-tooth pictures of our mass inactivity belie the fact we’ll all be inside, playing video games, shopping online, taking selfies and getting fat. The dreamy colours become a self-parody, since, for all their beauty and pose, these defunct spaces no longer have any purpose beyond the photographer’s camera.