Once Upon a Playground
Ten years ago, I began photographing remnants of childhood that are quickly disappearing from the American landscape. Classic playground equipment enjoyed by generations of Americans is now rarely found in parks and schoolyards.
Playgrounds first became popular in the U.S. in the early 1900s as part of the Reform Movement's efforts to keep city kids from playing in dangerous streets. Eventually, they evolved into a new type of community gathering place. But the structures that defined those spaces -- towering metal slides, spine-jarring seesaws, expansive climbing gyms -- are now being hauled off to the scrap yard as schools and towns renovate their playgrounds. When I took my own kids to local playgrounds and realized the loss, I decided to document as many of these remaining icons of childhood as I could.
My book of photographs, "Once Upon a Playground: Classic American Playgrounds, 1920-1975," is due in bookstores in early May 2014. Published by the University Press of New England, the book includes 170 of my contemporary photographs, more than 65 historical images, and a foreword by a playground historian that discusses the significance of playgrounds in American society.