Chris Milliman‘s latest project, Hickory, finds the prolific sporting photographer following his childhood passion of basketball. His is the vision of rural New England ballers, local high school students playing for the photographers camera and reflecting the root glory of the game.

More images and Milliman’s words about Hickory after the jump.

The background on the project. It started when I was talking with Matt Stein (weights&pulleys) about continuing to push forward with my personal projects and what I should, or could, shoot. Basketball was a big part of my adolescence. Between the ages of 13 and 18 I was all about playing as much as I could and learning as much as I could, just drinking in all aspects of the sport and the life. And while the sport itself has come and gone in my life, it’s still there for me in how I look at and think about things. So, this all came out when I was talking to Matt and he suggested I pull together some kind of local basketball shoot.

But, I live in rural New England, not exactly the hot bed of basketball. So I had to find an angle and that angle was keeping it local, not trying to shoot something that wasn’t authentic. Embrace where I live and what I see.

I was meeting with Jeff Steep at Converse and mentioned this idea and he said he’d support the shoot, that it sounded interesting and could potentially fit in well with some ideas they had. So I went about casting it, scouting it, and shooting it. I got a couple local high school kids as the players, went to a big local diary farm with a great looking beat up hoop, and just did it. Keeping with the authenticity and wanting it to look raw, I shot it all on 120 Ilford print film with Pentax 67s.  So some of the shots aren’t tack sharp (shooting action sports with manual focus medium format isn’t the easiest thing in the world). I also picked an overcast morning so it was effectively without shadow, super clean, super simple.

Once we saw the images it was clear we could riff off the ideas of local hoops and for me, and Matt, the epitome of that is the movie Hoosiers. So when Matt and his partner, James Selman, helped me design the printed piece they went heavy on the Hoosiers references.

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