The Photographic Journal

Parks and No Recreation

Essay 449 • Jun 18th 2020

As we approached 90 days of enforced lockdown, the coronavirus continued to transform our landscape in new and obscure ways. The ripple effect in our economy, our shared spaces, and our own lives continued without us truly knowing the outcome.

I attempted to capture the ongoing effect on British playgrounds, with eerie effect.

As April and May brought unseasonably sunny weather, our council parks and playgrounds should’ve been teeming with children, but were left instead, strangely desolate.

As a result, lockdown’s de-population of playing children has created the opportunity for a more knowing play, of photographic art, capturing these ambiguous melancholic forms without life.

Untended and scattered with natural debris and emerging weeds, outdated and tired recreation grounds look even more forlorn.
Taken by drone in mostly flat light, they read as flat painterly Mondrian style designs, but with an atmosphere of forlorn forgottonness.
Apart from the original CAD-using designers, who created these playful environments, they will not have been seen from this perspective before.

Whether newly built and awaiting their first summer of play or shabby but still treasured by local children - they remain suspended, waiting to welcome families once again.


Ciaran McCrickard
I am a double national award-winning photographer specialising in architectural, portrait and corporate photography and have been shooting for just over 24 years. I started as a studio assistant working with 5×4 and 10×8 negatives, then went into local journalism as everything turned to digital, progressed to working for the national press, and now have my own photographic business. I am based on the South Coast of England but working internationally, my photographs have appeared on the front cover of every national newspaper in the UK.
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