This September, the black and white photography of the children of St Paul’s Adventure Playground collaborating with local artists will brighten up the corners of Bristol.
St Paul's Adventure Playground: Friday 4 - 6 September
and Bristol-wide throughout September
‘SCRAPBOOK’ is a citywide photographic exhibition, and a stunning photo-book, constructed by Bristol based artist Esther May Campbell and many of the children who came to a weekly photo-club at St Paul’s legendary Adventure Playground. Over a year the photo-club explored how play-spirit, craft and heaps of improvisation can evolve into an inspiration for living.
The wonderful photos and playful artwork produced by the club will be exhibited on poster boards all around Bristol, as well at the Playground itself, in an enlightening and inspiring immersive exhibition.
Emerging from the depths of collaboration, the ‘SCRAPBOOK’ photographs captures the risks and joys of throwing oneself into play, discovery and imagination.
The show starts on Friday 4th September and runs until 6th September at the playground itself, and images will continue to be seen throughout the city over the month of September.
After Covid-19, an arson attack and all kinds of restrictions and obstacles, St Paul's Adventure Playground, Bristol, is planning on opening its doors to young people, families and play-workers, and this September the colourful site will be temporarily revolutionised, showcasing a new black-and-white photographic exhibition and book created by Esther and a team of children that attend the playground.
The book can be bought at apeproject.co.uk/scrapbook
Pictures from the project will be shown big and beautiful, in large-scale black-and-white, throughout the playground and the city centre, bringing images of play and joy back to our streets. The exhibition at the playground will be open for a limited time for you to see the work, buy the book, play and fool about.
‘SCRAPBOOK is a testament to the infinite qualities of mucking around,’ Esther says, ‘It is a portal into the telling world of child's play, upside/downing, risk, creation, kinship, destruction, art, and story as the world keeps on spinning.’
“The photo club became a diary of changing times. Our first session coincided with Strike for Climate Justice (led by school children). Over the autumn the children and I made photos, jumped through the air and fooled around with analogue cameras. Winter arrived and, losing the light, we took a break. Brexit became official. In 2020 the club returned and we continued our photo experiments until the Corona virus took hold and 'Ventures' was shut. Over the months of lockdown there was an arson attack on the playground, Black Lives Matter brought people into the centre and the statue of Edward Colston came down. During these times we made the book and curated the exhibition.”
Esther and the SCRAPBOOK club have co-authored exciting, zestful images, once that contain learnings and memories from the photo-club, recalling a myriad of adventures in the photographic playground. It also attests to the crucial work of St Paul's Adventure Playground and others who support the hugely vital need for us to muck around and make things up. Universally, the book is an inspirational guide to see what happens when 'play is the place' and 'each one teaches one'.
‘SCRAPBOOK is a portal into the telling world of child's play, upside/downing, risk, creation, kinship, destruction, art, and story as the world keeps on spinning.’
‘I love this book.’ says Rob Hopkins, writer and founder of the Transition Movement, ‘It captures exquisitely why play matters, and why imagination matters in 2020. And even better, it gives the camera to the kids to allow them to capture it, to show the bits they love, the aspects they treasure. This book is as much a treat for the reader's imagination as the St Pauls Adventure Playground is for the imagination of the kids who attend it.’
Artist and musician Lonnie Holley said, "I’ve traveled to a lot of places around the world and worked with a lot of students at a lot of growth levels. Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve noticed that the environment where I was working with the kids and the people who we were working with was very important. Objects and materials can really inspire young minds. When I entered the facility at St. Paul’s Adventure Playground, it felt like environment had been especially created for the developing brain. I’ve never seen a place so wonderfully created to inspire further creation. Not only for the children, but for the adults, as well. It was picture perfect place. Their little hands being involved with the materials that were available and seeing their faces express the joy of the experience made my day. I wish we were more focused on those types of work and play spaces for children, adults, and elders. Seeing these pictures takes me right back to the day I spent there and makes me so thankful for the opportunity I had to visit and makes me excited to want to come back. These photographs will make it possible to share the St. Paul’s Adventure Playground experience with people who will never be able to visit this Bristol wonderland in real life or maybe didn’t even know it was in their own backyard."
‘Mind bogglingly amazingly brilliant… utterly overwhelmed by the beauty and energy in this. I'm speechless’ - Guy Dobson Co Executive Director & Co Founder of APE and St Paul’s Adventure Playground
“This book is an absolute delight! The combination of photographic techniques, children’s imaginations and a DIY zine-style presentation produces images that leap off the page and speak volumes about friendships, the playground, the city and all that matters to these children. Treat yourself.” - Wendy Russell, Senior Playwork Academic