In conjunction with the publication of the book Playground, with photographs by James Mollison, and the subsequent exhibition of this work opening on April 16th at Aperture Gallery, Aperture Foundation is pleased to present this very special James Mollison limited-edition photograph. Mollison’s projects are defined by smart, original concepts applied to serious social and environmental themes. For Playground, Mollison photographed children at play in their school playgrounds, inspired by memories of his own childhood and interested in how we all learn to negotiate relationships and our place in the world through play.


Scenes of laughter, tears, and games demonstrate the intense experiences that happen in the playground. For each picture, Mollison set up his camera during school break time, making multiple frames and then composing each final photograph from several scenes, in which he found revealing “play” narratives.


For this photograph, Mollison photographed a school situated on a dramatic ridge overlooking Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The ancient Dechen Phodrang ("Palace of Great Bliss") monastery has 450 students and fifteen teachers. Students wake up at 5:00 a.m., and start the day with one hour of prayer before their classes begin. At 8:00 a.m. students have breakfast and a short break before resuming classes at noon. Here, Mollison captured the young boys at play, who usually come to the school at age seven and stay for eight years before transferring to the Monastic College.


With photographs from rich and poor schools, numerous middle schools, and some high schools—in countries including Argentina, Bhutan, Bolivia, China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.—Mollison also provides access for viewers of all ages to issues of global diversity and inequality.


In addition to this limited edition, photographs from the exhibition and publication will be available through Aperture Foundation. Proceeds from the print sales support the Foundation’s public and book-publishing programs. Please contact prints@aperture.org for more information.


James Mollison’s (born in Kenya, 1973) work has been featured widely in such publications as Colors, the New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review, among many others. He has also published several books, among them James and Other Apes (2004), The Disciples (2008), and Where Children Sleep (2010).

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