Children take photos to celebrate St Pauls Adventure Playground

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image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image captionThe artist says: "This was taken on a 5x4 100-year-old camera, and the subject has to be still while we set the exposure and put the dark slide in. It's a real challenge for kids to be that still, and we were lucky enough to get this shot."

Photos taken by children at an adventure playground damaged in an arson attack are to go on show.

Artist Esther May Campbell and children at St Pauls Adventure Playground wanted to highlight "the hugely vital need for us to muck around and make things up".

The weekly photo-club began a year before the fire in April which destroyed parts of the playground.

Avon and Somerset Police appealed for witnesses to come forward but said "no arrests have been made at this time".

Ms Campbell said she was asked by the managers of the playground to set up the photo-club after the success of a similar project she ran from her kitchen table in nearby Easton.

She said as well as the exhibition, a book had also been created to raise funds to help rebuild the playground.

image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image captionMs Campbell said she loved "the timelessness of analogue black and white photography, lenses and cameras. They are tangible, mechanical objects that one can take apart, look into, out of, rebuild".

Ms Campbell worked with many local children aged from six to 13 and said they "took cameras apart, collaged, photographed and thought and played like artists".

"The project is a chance for kids to engage, play, experiment as artists, and build deeper connections with the community, land, one another," she said.

image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image captionThe artist said: “Over the autumn the children and I made photos, jumped through the air and fooled around with analogue cameras."
image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image caption"We were messing around with torches in the winter to see how we could bring light to things, and our attention came to this message on his shoes."

She said the playground, known as Ventures, had been closed after "coronavirus took hold" and then large parts of it were destroyed in a deliberate fire on 11 April.

"Over the months of lockdown there was an arson attack on the playground, Black Lives Matter brought people into the centre and the statue of Edward Colston came down.

"During these times we made the book and curated the exhibition," Ms Campbell said.

Playground manager Guy Dobson described the project as "mind-bogglingly, amazingly brilliant".

"I'm utterly overwhelmed by the beauty and energy in this. I'm speechless," he said.

image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image caption"Here we were learning about framing, using a camera with a set exposure. He wanted to take a picture of me taking a picture of him."
image copyrightEM Campbell/St Pauls Adventure Playground
image caption"This girl made a light reflector into a headdress, and another child later collaged over the top of the image, reading 'welcome to Ventures', which is their nickname for the playground."

The photos will be displayed on poster boards throughout the city this month and there is also an on-site show at the playground from 4 until 6 September.

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