Darren Carroll grew up playing tennis on Long Island. As a kid, he lived 20 minutes from the National Tennis Center and used to scalp U.S. Open tickets for the nose-bleed seats in the old Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Returning to the stadium three decades later with photographer credentials and a slightly better view, he's able to create work that truly represents the spirit of the game as its played there, as opposed to Wimbledon or Roland-Garros. Unlike its British or French counterparts, the U.S. Open is unapologetically loud, crowded and energized, and it's that New York spirit that has held Darren's interest all this time.
He says, "...photos here are about grinding out a picture, about making something happen—about finding that 15-minute sliver of time when the sun plays with the rooftop on Ashe at around 1:30, or the 11 a.m. baseline shadow show on Armstrong, and working with it for what little time nature gives you. Its about finding higher, cleaner angles or shooting wide open at f1.4 to blur out background distractions. It’s about hammering out facial expressions and rippling muscles and the impact of a ball on strings as the baseliners pound away point after point, and about keying on reactions to tell your story, because here you can’t rely on the pretty stuff to pull you through. Like the players on the hard, unforgiving DecoTurf, you can’t try to be subtle to be successful here."