Visual Supplement: James Mollison


Hull, UK

playground2Tokyo, Japan
playground3Kathmandu, Nepal
playground5Chuquisaca, Bolivia

playground6Bethlehem, West Bank

playground7Hidalgo, Mexicoplayground8Gujarat, India

A while back, I wrote a post that may be one of the ones I hold most dearest to my heart to this day – The Overprotected Child – which highlighted the change in how children have come to play and interact with their environment over the years. You can read the original post by clicking here. In any event, play has always been a subject that interests me and whenever I travel, I always try to make my way to the schoolyards… I’ve photographed kids from Thailand, Belize, Cuba, and India, to name a few.

Photographer James Mollison recently published a series of photographs in a book called Playground, “inspired by memories of his own childhood and his interest in how children learn to negotiate relationships and their place in the world through play. For each picture, Mollison sets up his camera during school break time, making multiple frames and then composing each final photograph from several scenes, in which he finds revealing ‘play’ narratives. With photographs from rich and poor schools, in countries including Argentina, Bhutan, Bolivia, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, Sierra Leone, The United Kingdom, and the U.S., Mollison also provides access for readers of all ages to issues of global diversity and inequality”.

You can learn more abut his work by clicking here.

4 Responses

  • Really interesting images. Both in a conceptual and visual way.
    For me, the most interesting aspect is that the playground were they are suppose to play and have free time looks like a jail. It is refreshing to see the open playground in Bolivia.
    Their space to take a break look really unpleasant. A space that have almost no posibilites to develop some imaginative game. However, it doesn’t look different from my own primary school. I remember clearly that I felt how going to school made me sad and feeling in jailed.

  • What a neat photography series. So interesting. Amazing how they all have a distinct similarity, yet are so different. They are all pretty enclosed and uniformed looking, not that that is the worst thing in the world. The problem isn’t necessarily what play time looks like at school recess time, but what it looks like outside of school.

  • Thanks for the link to the articles. I shared them with a friend and we’re now determined to figure out how to get a park like the Land in East Vancouver! It’s so true that kids can play with nothing but dirt and logs on a beach or in the woods for so much longer than in a standard playground. The playgrounds we go back to are ones that have a stream, a climbing tree or mini forest in them b/c that is where the kids play where they can dig, play in water and get muddy.


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