Entry Title: "Once Upon A Playground"
Name: Brenda Biondo , United States
Category and Expertise: Photo Essay and Feature Story|Other_ED|Other_FA|Deeper Perspective, Non-Professional


Entry Description: These images are from my series, “Once Upon A Playground,” which focuses on vintage playground equipment that is quickly disappearing from the American landscape. Because these vanishing artifacts of childhood represent a tangible piece of our country’s cultural heritage, I’ve spent the past seven years creating a visual document of remaining structures in their original environment.

Story: These images are from my ongoing series, “Once Upon A Playground,” which focuses on vintage playground equipment that is quickly disappearing from the American landscape. The equipment that generations of Americans grew up with is becoming more scarce each year as communities renovate their parks and schoolyards. Because these vanishing artifacts of childhood represent a tangible piece of our country’s cultural heritage, I’ve spent the past seven years creating a visual document of remaining structures in their original environment throughout the Southwest and other parts of the country. I am particularly drawn to capturing the abstract, sculptural aspects of the pieces and the viewpoints from above and below that are likely to have been experienced by children at play. The saturated colors and twirling shapes in many of the images evoke the exuberance of children playing, while the absence of people suggests a sense of abandonment and foreshadows the structures’ impending removal. (Many pieces of equipment featured in this series have been torn down in the few years since I photographed them.) In an era when more and more children spend their free time indoors in front of electronic devices, I am working to capture the essence of what youthful play looked like in past decades and on referencing the emotional memory of childhood touchstones. More than 100 additional images can be found on my website, www.oldplaygrounds.com.

About the Artist:

Born in New York City in 1963, Brenda Biondo has been writing and taking photographs since graduating with a B.A. degree in communication arts from James Madison University in 1985. As a freelance writer, she’s had her work published in The Washington Post, The Denver Post, USA Weekend magazine and many other publications. In 2004, she decided to discontinue writing in order to concentrate on fine art photography. Her photography has been shown at galleries and art centers around Colorado, as well as in presentations at the 2009 Palm Springs Photo Festival and other venues. In addition to working on other photographic projects, Brenda has spent the last seven years shooting vintage playground equipment that is quickly disappearing from the American landscape. She’s been a resident of Colorado since 1999, and currently lives in the small town of Manitou Springs.