Category Archives: Photo Essays

Playful Eyes


When the stars align and there’s a skillful set of playful eyes at the ready, play’s transitory essence can be distilled into a frame of now. This sequence of images – older sister shooting little brother – dates back nearly 10 years. I’m sharing it today in celebration of big sister’s birthday.


Can there possibly be a better toy than the humble plastic colander? Through discovery and experimentation, a commmonplace item is elevated to a magical stratosphere while still retaining its intrinsic simplicity. The pleasure goes beyond the laughing of it.


There is something elemental in the spontaneous belly rumbling giggles that burst out in a good session of play. I am happy to have rediscovered these images after a long absence. They embody so many narratives. There are the individual stories of my son and daughter (subject and shooter), the story of family and sibling relationships, the artful story of photography itself and of course the exuberant story of the moment, play for play’s sake.


There can never be an overabundance of photographs that portray authentic moments of spontaneous joy. Engaging images like this of kids anywhere are always a gift to behold. For a passing breath, I step more lightly buoyed by an ethereal current.


Rearranging the sequence of the images makes for new rememberings of linear events. Thanks for these shots Alexa and happy birthday my love.

To see Alexa’s more recent work, visit her on instagram @seriouslyalexa or visit the FB page for her photography business with her partner Luke – North by North Photography. This photographic duo based in Halifax, Nova Scotia are both graduates of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design – NSCAD University.

Play Faces

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.

Happy Face – Playing in the Fields; Photo credit – Joseph Andie R Lamug; Source; Creative Commons .

Child Play – Madagascar, child playing with a automobile made of carrot and other vegetables; Photo credit – Michele Molinari; Source; Creative Commons.


On the Run – Bangalore, India; Photo credit- Syed Nabil Aljunid; Source; Creative Commons.


Just having fun… – Guizhou, China; Photo credit – Sung Ming Whang; Source; Creative Commons


Superman and friends playing with bubbles – Seattle, USA; Photo credit – wonderlane; Source; Creative Commons


Boys Playing Stickball, Havana, Cuba, 1999; Photo credit – Cliff; Source; Creative Commons.


Playing; Photo credit – Michel Di Feliciantonio; Source; Creative Commons.


J.O.Y. B.O.Y.; Photo credit – Vinoth Chandar; Source; Creative Commons.


Woooo…; Photo credit – Mads Bødker; Source; Creative Commons.

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.

London’s Somerford Grove Adventure Playground Makes The New York Times Magazine

There are four stunning, brilliant images in the March 1 edition of the The New York Times Magazine offering glimpses of children at the Somerford Grove Adventure Playground in London, England.

Photographer: Mark Neville, The New York Times Magazine, March 1. Click image to enlarge.

The entire Here is London photo essay by photographer Mark Neville is well worth a look. Images 7 through 10 feature the kids at Somerford Grove.

From my perch on the other side of the pond in Halifax, Nova Scotia I find the adventure playground images particularly striking. There is nothing similar in my experience here with which I can compare these photos. The playgrounds I’m familiar with in the North American context are by and large so antiseptic and predictable. Adventure playgrounds for the most part did not take root in Canada and the US. What a shame for us who live here. There are exceptions such as in Berkley, California but they are few and far between.

It’s no mean feat to keep an adventure playground running, or for that matter to get one up and going in the UK. Somerford Grove was the first to be built in London in over 20 years.

Source: Haringey Play Association. Click image to enlarge

Bravo to all those community members who are supporting the Somerford Grove Adventure Playground, to the Scouts, the kids and benefactors far and wide.

Source: Haringey Play Association. Click image to enlarge

What kid wouldn’t want to play here?

Signing off this post with Part Two of a three part video looking at anti-social behaviour that features Somerford Grove Adventure Playground.