James Mollison’s photo projects are based on smart, original concepts applied to serious social and environmental themes. For his latest book, Playground, Mollison has photographed children at play in 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 at a young age 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 USA, Mollison also provides lively access for readers of all ages to issues of global diversity and inequality.
Number of pages: 136
Publication date: 05-26-2015
Measurements: 12.8 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches
The photos recall the scenes of fun, embarrassment, relaxation, disappointment and anxiety that plague the playground for a growing brain. Although, in retrospect, the notion of playtime tends to acquire a rose-colored glow, Mollison reminds us of the intensity and calamity that often occurred between classes. The photographer set up his camera during school breaks, capturing multiple frames and then collapsing them into a single composite image, in which a constructed –Huffington Post
play narrative is created.
The images are stunning in their color and size, and use socio-economic, cultural and political elements as backdrops. – Wired
His images capture the similarities of youthful play across social boundaries and national borders, but also the deep divides of class and privilege that are often put in place long before we’re old enough to understand their implications. – Hyperallergic
While on assignment, Mollison expanded the project to include schools in Kenya and eventually trekked around the world, photographing playgrounds in more than a dozen countries. He found an incredible diversity in the schools but, also, a universality in the children’s play—particularly with boys. –Metropolis Magazine
James Mollison was born in Kenya. His photographs have been featured widely in such publications as Colors, the New York Times Magazine, and Paris Review. He has also published several books, among them James and Other Apes (2004), The Disciples (2008), and Where Children Sleep (2010).
Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many bestselling books, including The Men Who Stare at Goats (2005). He also cowrote the screenplay for the film Frank (2014).