Visual Supplement: James Mollison

playground1

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.

Childhood Unplugged

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An evening spent digging, chasing, climbing, and – in true kid fashion – ripping flowers out of the ground, roots n’ all.
Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Toys

338A4084-2I’d like to think that every parent falls into the toy trap at some point in time. It may be accumulating toys while you’re pregnant and in frantic nesting mode. I know I picked up one too many vintage toys during this time all built around this lovely image of my soon-to-be child playing with them. Or maybe it hit later, like during the toddler years, when you’re willing to fling just about anything in your kid’s direction to buy yourself a treasured moment of peace. And by moment, let’s not kid, I mean minute.
Hooper never had a lot of toys when he was a baby, aside from the vintage toys I mentioned that I ended up using more for decoration than anything else. He was always happy with real-life objects; water bottles, keys, junk mail. He’s still into junk mail, actually. So industrious, that one. When he did start showing interest in toys, it was in little toy cars which he would feverishly line up on one side of the sofa and then rearrange – again – on the other side of the sofa. Willy and I would huff and puff when trying to find a place to actually sit on the sofa, but it never stopped us from surprising him with a new toy car and, overtime, his collection of toy cars grew to okay-now-we-have-a-problem proportions.
And then, of course, there were birthdays and Christmas’ and visits from family  and toys started invading every crevice of our home. At one time we had a bike, a scooter, a tricycle, the little tykes cozy coupe, a plasma car, a balance bike, a vintage playskool wooden giraffe ride on, a wagon, and those are just what I can remember off the top of my head.
By the time Van started showing interests in toys, it was non-stop fighting. I remember Christmas of 2013 vividly; Hooper and Van were at each other constantly. As soon as things calmed down (and the new toys lost their “newness”), the fighting dissipated. It was in hindsight that we connected the two – new toys and non-stop fighting.
When we moved last year, we donated a lot of their toys. The select few that we decided to keep got tucked away in the coat closet downstairs. Ninety percent of the time we are at home, you can find Hooper and Van in the garage; Van on his bike and Hooper organizing the random inhabitants of the garage (Note the picture above: a neighbor gave us that 4 wheeler thing, which has since been donated, but check out everything he has stashed on there: traffic cones, a bike helmet, an empty Stella carton for heaven’s sake, a broom, dirty dish rags that were by the washer, his halloween bucket, part of the vacuum, a vintage suitcase, scraps of wood, his school backpack…). These kids clearly don’t need actual toys. And so, the other day when they were napping, I loaded the car with another round of toy donations.
Currently we have a few toy trucks and tractors that they play with often, a toy kitchen with toy food in their room, wooden blocks, heaps of books, and, of course, their bikes in the garage.
And it’s been more peaceful than ever. They’ve been playing together in all sorts of new ways; their bed has become a pirate ship, they have picnics, they use the tractors to dig the rocks out of our potted plants (grrrr, but whatever), they build “homes” with their blocks, and they ride bikes together… all in peace.
Not that they don’t fight anymore. They do. They’re kids. But I’ve definitely noticed a change.
We’re due for another purge. I know friends and grandparents and other family members enjoy surprising them with gifts – namely toys because let’s not kid, kids could give an f’ about clothes – and I would never be the kind of parent to ask that they not buy our kid’s toys. But when the newness wears off and pieces go missing, I donate or throw out.
And they never notice and never ask. In fact, Hooper has a better sense of when I’ve taken his junk mail (also known as his “work stuff” than when entire toys go missing — I kid you not).
How do you deal with the invasion of toys? What are your kid’s favorite toys?
And my apologies for the virus that infected my site and sent everyone to a viagra site… So frustrating. I believe it’s been taken care of. 

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