Childhood recollections: fantasies disguised as memories, for time alters remembrance. These photos depict such a fantasy — a visual equivalent to what I imagine experiencing these playgrounds as a child might have felt like, or, at least, what the recollection of that experience might look like today. The lighting technique employed mirrors this creationary process, with the resulting images never having existed in reality, being entirely the fabrication of a digital sensor. A shared fantasy of place, then, disguised as recollection — magical, brightly colored, candy–sweet phantasms.

For viewers not content on taking things at surface value, an invitation to play — or ponder — awaits. Past the glossy images, captions lurk as does the darkness in the scenes depicted. These texts derive inspiration from the games, campfire stories, fables, fairy tales, and tall tales of childhood — which are meant to entertain, but occasionally also to instruct about humanity’s darker side. This photographic series operates within that same duality: beyond the vibrant hues, the nighttime setting and the absence of children might be construed as unsettling, just like beyond many an innocent–seeming story (or title) oftentimes lies a cautionary tale. Humanity’s foibles are as endless as our imagination.

This series was a Portfolio Award winner in the 2018 San Francisco Bay International Photography Exhibition.

- Sylvia Paret

Sylvia Paret studied photography at the Corcoran School of Art, the International Center for Photography, and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she was offered a merit scholarship and from where she holds an AA degree. She also holds a Johns Hopkins University honors BA in natural sciences and French language and literature, and undertook doctoral studies in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Science Foundation scholar. All of her artistic work is an exploration of connection and the lack thereof, and her approach is most often playful — winking at the viewer, hoping for complicity.

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