INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For more than 120 years, basketball has been one of Indiana’s favorite pastimes.
All across the state there are gymnasiums filled with history, and a pair of photographers are helping to tell that history.
Their names are Michael Keating and Chris Smith, and for the past several years they’ve been traveling the state taking photographs of each gymnasium.
“For us, it’s not about the play of the moment,” Keating said.
The project is called Hoosier Hardwood.
“We photograph these places and we’ve seen what value they have in their communities.” Smith explained.
They’ve logged over 10,000 miles and photographed more than 100 gyms.
24-Hour News 8 met them at Jasper High School where South Spencer was taking on Forest Park in sectionals.
“Every shot I do is kind of thought out; what’s going to show off the gym and what’s going to occur in this kind of framework?” Smith said of his photos.
Keating is a retired newspaper photographer with a passion for basketball.
“If there’s a religion in Indiana it’s basketball, and if there’s a place where that religion is practiced it’s in the gymnasiums.” Keating Said.
And each gym has its own story.
Smith came up with the project idea after finding an old picture of his father in high school.
“I could see the gym around it, and I started wondering, ‘I wonder where that gym was, what happened to these guys,’ and so I thought maybe it would be fun to go ahead and photograph some old gyms.” Smith said.
And just like that the Hoosier Hardwood project was born.
“Even in the newest places history is made every night; history is made because people are making memories” Smith added.
“I think the biggest pay off or biggest responsibility I feel is telling these people’s story.” He said.
The stories are live and told through a snapshot of time.
“It’s got a happy ending, a sad ending, a beginning, a middle and end — [like] every good story,” Keating said.
Some of their work is on display at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, but you can see the finished project this fall.
Their work will be featured in an exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society.