James Mollison came back 5 years later with another photo essay documenting schools playgrounds from around the world. Again, his images are very powerful. Not only do they witness the differences in children's environment from all over the world, they also bring back our very own playground's memories from our own childhood.
And I'll admit that my memories really aren't fantastic. I went to a private catholic school from kindergarten 'til I was 15 in my home town, in France. Playgrounds were a scary unsafe place for me. I was one of those bullied child. Big long teeth, too skinny, not fashionable (denim jeans where not allowed in our closet for the longest time!), struggling at home with a sick mom, and not only bullied in the playground by other kids but also by my very own sister. It was quite awful. I would do my best for people not to notice me. I remember that girl, her name was Alix, she was my sister's friend in high school. My sister was waiting for me on the curb outside of school, my mom had passed away not long before. The girl looks at me as I am walking towards them and screams in front of all the older kids "Oh you're right, your sister is so ugly". I froze. Ever since my childhood I have been a fierce defender of bullied people. But then playgrounds also showed me the way to true beautiful friendship. My two best girlfriends growing up were the opposite, they were the pretty girls, the ones boys would want to hang out with. They were the cool ones. And never, not once, have they let me down. They would protect me no matter what. If the boys didn't want to play with me, then they'd stay with me. Those two were my safe place and my everyday dose of love and affection. Julie and Laure.
I have always thought of school's playground as a place where you had to be either pretty or tough. I was not pretty and I was not tough. I cried a lot. This is something I do not want to pass on to my children. No matter what they may look like, I want them to grow in an environment where they can feel safe and strong enough to stand up for themselves. I want them to be respectful of others, no matter our differences. There will be no compromise on that last point.
That's how far James Mollison's photography work has taken me. while inspiring me to dig further in my own photography journey.
Interesting to think that the first thing I noticed on the photos were the kids being made fun of or even hit while some other people may focus on the kids laughing and having a blast in their freedom kingdom.
1 child = 1 childhood = 1 chance to make the world a better place