David Freund. Playground Once.
Photographs by David Freund.
Steidl, Gottingen, Germany, 2019. 168 pp., 134 illustrations, 11¾x9".

Publisher's Description

In 2003, as David Freund (born 1937) was driving to Missouri to see a 102-year-old friend, she died. Reflecting on their meeting when he was a child, he stopped in Illinois to photograph an old playground. Besides swings, teeter-totters and slides, there were war memorials, a picnic area, a cornfield and a baseball field. The moment launched a two-year odyssey to find and photograph such places. Freund soon realized playgrounds were an endangered species. In cities, because of safety and liability concerns, their apparatus, familiar to many childhoods, had largely been supplanted by bright structures of multicolored plastic and enameled steel. Freund focused on small towns where tradition, inertia and budget often permitted early playgrounds to survive. These were usually unoccupied, so children rarely appear in Freund's photographs, although alluded to in footprints, worn paint, and ruts under swings.


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