Malaysia-born and Singapore-raised renowned photographer Stefen Chow, in collaboration with a local company called Avetics, flew drones all over Singapore to capture these fascinating images of urban playgrounds across the city. Chow shot more than two hundred playgrounds out of which he selected one hundred for The Play Project, an interactive website where he showcases these photographs and locates them on a subway map of the city.
“As an adventurer, playgrounds played a huge part in my development,” he says. “As you grow up you realize that playgrounds becomes more invisible, and the things in front of you are what you can buy or enjoy. Playgrounds are a place where fun is simple and straightforward, and I wanted to showcase them in a way that makes people say, ‘Huh, I never thought about it in that way before.’”
To make these images possible, Chow hired aerial photography company Avetics to fly drones over playgrounds in Singapore. He scouted locations from an online street directory, then visited more than 200 playgrounds and made more than 300 flights to get the hundred images. Avetics specializes in industrial and advertising photography, and for this project they customized a drone to carry Chow’s Nikon Coolpix A compact camera. An Avetics employee would pilot the drone, and Chow would either take the photos while looking at an LCD-type screen, or act as art director while another Avetics employee took the photos.
Most people are not aware that this little island country of 718 square km has nearly 1,500 playgrounds. If one were to rank countries by the order of most playgrounds per square km, Singapore would probably come first. But many people in Singapore assume that playgrounds have disappeared. They appear so because many of us looking at playgrounds tend to be adults.
“I realize things like these become invisible once we are past that stage,” says Stefen Chow. “The children all know where they are, but as adults, you can’t see them.”
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