James Mollison


James Mollison’s exhibition, Playground, influenced by his own experiences being bullied in the schoolyard, gives us an international look at children at play. These photographs are from rich and poor schools with vastly different resource levels in countries including Bhutan, Bolivia, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. The photographs are accompanied by extended captions that tell of the conditions specific to each school. Where some children are in classrooms so crowded that they need to climb over desks to move, others play in palace gardens. The comparison invites us to think about the lives of our world’s children and the obstacles and privileges that influence their growth and ability to succeed. It also reminds us of our similarities as children play in similar ways throughout the world. While serious issues are raised, a fun and interactive element in the exhibition is a Where’s Waldo?-like game where the viewer searches the frame for a particular student illustrated on the image caption. There’s also an immersive (optional) sound component with field recordings of children at play. Playground is a wonderful platform for educational programming, prompting viewers of all ages to discus global diversity, inequality, and bullying.

James Mollison’s (born in Kenya, 1973) work has been featured widely in such publications as Colors, the New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review, among many others. He has also published several books, among them James and Other Apes (2004), The Disciples (2008), and Where Children Sleep (2010).


The Guardian, 2014
PBS, 2015
The Morning News, 2015
The Wall Street Journal, 2015


Includes twenty-three 23 x 30-inch prints and seven 34.5 x 50-inch prints.

Running Feet:
165 linear feet

Teacher resource available for download:
Teacher Resource for Playground by James Mollison
This free teacher resource is intended to inform educators about the exhibition Playground, so they are better able to lead students of all ages in meaningful discussions surrounding its content. For more information about Aperture’s educational resources contact education@aperture.org.

Photographs by James Mollison
Foreword by Jon Ronson
9 2/5 x 11 3/5 in. (23.8 x 29.4 cm)
136 pages
59 four-color images
ISBN 978-1-59711-307-6
April 2015

Participation Fee:
$7,000 for an eight-week showing. The host venue is responsible for pro-rated shipping.

This exhibition is available through 2019.


Current Venue List: