How Children Play

Using a manual camera without a motor drive and traditional silver gelatin film, I try to capture the spirit, ingenuity, hope and imagination of children turning dire situations into opportunities for play. I am intrigued with how children play. Having a natural tendency to explore, combined with a spontaneous curiosity about learning, they are inquisitive, creative, open and trusting. Children are constantly alert for the smallest opportunity to turn the most dismal environment into play. Their achievements are a joy to see, often activating or calling into mind my own memories of innocence.

Play is essential to children—an important part of their emotional and social development—where they learn to integrate the complexities of achievement, disappointment and loss. While relating to their peers, and the world around them, youngsters are forming their internal image—images of who they are and will become. Self-images are powerful and remain intact throughout one's life. Anyone who has tried to change a negative emotional landscape, knows the tenacity of words and actions experienced while growing up. Often it takes a lifetime of searching and healing to retrieve one's own voice—to break open the doors of damage, crumble the cage and release those early dreams and fantasies. To turn a garden of ashes back into a spring of life is a monumental task—a celebration to feed the spirit and innocence that was intact at birth—a gift—a given to each child.