In the past day or so, the well-trod red clay of Roland Garros has been transformed from mere surface to spectacular staging ground, with red-hot semifinal matchups on the women’s side ensuring a lively finish to this year’s installment of the French Open. (As has been the case for the entirety of the clay-court season—with this tournament no exception—Rafael Nadal is still the odds-on favorite to take the men’s title.)
émilie?Régnier, though, hasn’t been chasing the high seeds, the marquee matchups, or the upsets-in-the-making. Instead, the?Senegal-based photographer?spent her time looking at the players, spectators, media, and behind-the-scenes crew at the French Open with an eye to document diversity.
Not so long ago, there wouldn’t have been much of anything approaching actual diversity to be found—at the French or at many other tennis tournaments. With a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Serena Williams, however, having dominated the scene for—well, much of her lifetime—along with a host of other players, that notion is disappearing, though not fast enough for Régnier. “Unfortunately—despite my desire to show an equal representation of people from different ethnicities, tennis in France is still pretty homogeneous,” she says.
That said,?Régnier doesn’t see her work as either photojournalism per se, or as any kind of corrective or strident polemic. “This is not a photo essay about white privilege,” she says, “but a tentative attempt to bring people closer.”