Steve McCurry is there when play erupts, is in full exuberant swing. These joyous images bear witness to play’s universal beat. By nature it shines a bright light wherever it is allowed to flourish.
Category Archives: photography
NORAD has the market on tracking Santa just about cornered. Kids all over the world follow St. Nick’s Christmas Eve progress online.
In just over a week, the jolly old guy will launch his sled and Christmas 2012 will be here. Kids will be dreaming of a white Christmas where climate makes it a possibility and wondering perhaps what the white stuff is really like if they live outside of the snow zones. Here in Canada’s far east we’re buffeted by Arctic and Atlantic winds at this time of year. So far they’ve only brought us a few dancing flakes that haven’t amounted to anything lasting.
Tisdall Elementary School playground, Vancouver, Canada. Photo Credit – gillicious. License – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
The ‘It’s Starting to Feel a lot like Christmas – Snow Playgrounds’ gallery is a selection of 18 photos created by looking through 1000s of images of snowy playground posted by flickr members. Each one of these 18 tickled my fancy in some way. I hope you will get some enjoyment out of them too.
Occasionally, intrepid photographers comb the planet looking for playgrounds to immortalize digitally for PlayGroundology readers. Truth is, that’s me in my Walter Mitty moments, dreaming wildly of a posse of professional playground shooters on assignment and sharing their best shots here.
In fact, what’s happening is that I am sometimes able to cajole traveling friends and family to take a few snaps for me of interesting playgrounds they happen across. These folks become my proxies taking me, and by extension those of you who tune in here, to playgrounds I have never visited before.
Thanks to my septuagenarian parents, PlayGroundology has snagged some photos of Scottish, Swedish and Dutch playgrounds. The Scottish shots are in the vicinities of Loch Lomond, Strone and Inverkip, familiar places full of memories reaching back nearly 60 years for them.
I don’t remember much in the way of playgrounds when I first went Clydeside as a 5-year-old. I was a kindergarten kid at Larkfield School in Greenock for a couple of months and remember playing in the schoolyard but don’t recall any equipment.
On another visit in the late ’60s, I remember a playground up behind the shops close by my granma’s place on Auchmead Rd. I also recall the most grueling ‘game’ I ever played. In the backyard of the Council houses, I had to run a gauntlet between two lines of 15 kids per line who whaled away at me with their feet, fists and knees as I ran through as quickly as I could. Following this medieval-like ordeal I did get a grudging acceptance from the local kids. It was the rite of passage for the Canadian boy on the block.
For more Loch Lomond playground photos from my parents’ excellent playground adventure, check PlayGroundology FB. Addiitonal photos will be posted to PlayGroundology FaceBook over the coming days.
Before you go, take a wee listen to Runrig’s rendition of a song long associated with Scotland, Loch Lomond. It’s a tune, a place and a playground.
You may also like these posts with photos provided by friends.
Kids look awesome when they’re playing, having fun. The movements, gestures and sounds are a universal language. Here are a few photos to share through the generosity of flickr members who use Creative Commons licenses for their work. I hope you’ll enjoy these faces of play.
Click images to enlarge.
Share a play face or two, or three within your social networks. Grab one from here – they all have creative commons licenses – or take one of your own images and share it around. Play faces are infectious, they make people smile.
On occasion friends, family and colleagues traveling abroad indulge my playground proclivities. When I hear of an impending trip, I ask the traveler if they would consider keeping an eye out for interesting playgrounds and bringing back a few photos to share with readers of PlayGroundology.
Colleagues sometimes look at me a little bemusedly smiling all the while – they’re usually not aware of my playground blogging but are game to grab a few digital images once I give them the elevator pitch. To date, PlayGroundology‘s intrepid freelance photographers have provided great pics from small town Italy, Paris, Hong Kong, Scotland, Vienna and most recently, Atlanta.
Shortly after I heard my co-worker Chris was Atlanta bound I popped the question. Any chance of taking a few snaps of the Isamu Noguchi designed Playscapes? Turns out he was staying close by Piedmont Park and thought he’d be able to swing it.
When an artist stops being a child, he stops being an artist.
- Isamu Noguchi
Inscription on the rededication plaque for Playscapes, the Noguchi-designed playspace in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park
Play aficionados revere Noguchi. Even though he was a visionary at creating space for kid’s play, only two of his designs, Atlanta’s Playscapes and the Kodomo No Kuni Playground near Tokyo, were realized during his lifetime. The sculptor, artist and landscape architect has a museum dedicated to his life work in Long Island, New York.
Playscapes model. Source: The Noguchi Museum
During some down time, Chris strolled through the gates of stately Piedmont Park and made his way over to the Playscapes playground. On arrival he read a sign with the following message. “This playground is an area for children’s recreation. Adults unaccompanied by children are respectfully requested to use another part of the park.” As unobtrusively as possible, before receiving a tap on the shoulder from a parent or member of the local constabulary, he snapped the pics in the slideshow below and hightailed it to ‘another part of the park’. Thank you Chris for your steely determination in the face of opprobrium.
Playscapes slideshow. Photo Credits: Chris Brooks. Click through here or on image above for flickr slideshow.
Atlanta’s Playscapes is elegant in its simplicity, functional and fun with the added benefit of lending itself as a tool to explore geometry and shapes.
For more on Noguchi’s playground designs check these fine write ups in LandscapeOnline.com and Sweet Juniper. To view some interesting models for Noguchi playspaces click through on Remiss 63′s photostream on flickr. Finally, here is a brief story with photos on the Playscapes restoration from the Atlanta Task Force on Play.
My fine arts photography major daughter Alexa will set aside some time on her trip to New York City later this week to grab shots of NYC playgrounds. I can’t wait to see what her keen eye captures for PlayGroundology readers.
If you have playground photos you’d like to share in PlayGroundology, we’d love to see them. Just send them to email@example.com and we’ll get back in touch with you.
Earlier this month, PlayGroundology posted a video of Hungarian youth refurbishing a neglected and unloved playground. If you haven’t read the post or watched the short video, take a peek here. It’s uplifting to see this playspace come alive again through the efforts of a group of young people.
Playgrounds in such a derelict state are few and far between. Click here for a Hungarian Playgrounds flickr gallery – slides, sculptures and handcrafted wood.
Thanks again to flickr photographers who allow their work to be shared in galleries.
PlayGroundology allows me the opportunity to speak with many fine people from a variety of countries and backgrounds – artists, designers, advocates and activists, theorists and educators, photographers and psychologists, researchers, nostalgists, parents and beautiful dreamers. All are united in a fervent love of children, playgrounds and play and are mostly in it for the long haul.
I love it when we’re able to keep connected over time and PlayGroundology gets updates of new projects. That happened just today when photographer Brenda Biondo sent me a note about her new book, Once Upon A Playground.
Brenda’s photos were featured in PlayGroundology just after it got out the gates in February 2010. This is what was written back then.
Brenda Biondo is a woman on a mission. Over the last six years she’s clocked thousands of miles on the roads of the southwestern United States. Each time she finds a treasure on one of her expeditions of discovery, she parks her car, takes out her camera and proceeds to shoot frame after frame of America’s disappearing vintage playgrounds. Her eyes and sensibilities are recording the zeitgeist of American public play primarily from the 1950s through the 1970s – the pre-plastic era.
Endangered Species – Vanishing Playscapes
That mission now includes the book noted above. Brenda is offering us a sneak peek before Once Upon A Playground is finally put to bed and released to a broader public.
I went through the more than 100 images this evening and they are a real testament to Brenda’s vision and love of the subject matter. Some photos are breathtaking, stunning and deceptive in their simplicity. But don’t take my word for it, go flip through the digital pages yourself at the companion website, Once Upon A Playground. It won’t be hard to select some favourites. I’ve already discovered quite a few.
Brenda is also interested in gathering old photgraphs and stories from readers about their play and playground memories to post on the site which is where you’ll also find her contact information.
Don’t wait, click through to Once Upon A Playground and get your sneak peek of this beautiful book that takes us on a photographic journey from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Brenda, thanks for thinking of us.
What a pleasant surprise last night when I discovered that the Flickr blog had featured some photos curated by PlayGroundology in a flickr gallery entitled Swedish Aesthetic.
The appearance of PlayGroundology‘s curated photos in the Flickr blog was absolutely effortless on my part. Given that I was oblivious to it all, it was actually less than effortless. It all came to pass through standard social media sharing. Florida blogger and friend, Meg Rosker – Let Children Play, simply tweeted the link to the Swedish Aesthetic gallery to @flickr and the flickr folks took care of the rest. Thanks Meg and thanks too to flickr’s Kay Kremerskothen for making these photos available to a wider audience.
I never tire of thanking the photographers who post their images to flickr. Curating photos using the gallery function is nothing short of a gift.
There has been a surge, a large uptick of visitors to this particular gallery. Some have sent kind words offering to take playground photos in their countries to share with the readers of PlayGroundology. I’ll be taking them up on this great offer.
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m infatuated with flickr. There are just so many great photographers posting striking photos for the world to see. I visit on a regular basis to see how people are capturing and documenting play.
Kids at Play will be an occasional PlayGroundology feature of images from around the world presented in flickr photo galleries. My thanks to Tammy Maitland whose photo of kids at play in Ahmedabad, India (below) is the inspiration for this gallery series.
This particular photo makes me think of a book I enjoyed more than 20 years ago, Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees. The young baron would have loved this set up.
Check the gallery and be prepared to smile at photos from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Many thanks to the photographers.