Since I've been a little girl, the swing set has always been my favorite backyard activity. Growing up in a working class neighborhood in Detroit, our toys weren't always fancy or flashy, but they were functional. My very first scar happened when I tried to jump off the swing of my neighbors, and the exposed, rickety metal chain gouged an inch long gash into my left arm. I still remember the shock and awe as I looked at the blood gushing from the wound. The scar is still there as a testament to my "Tom Boy" tendencies, as are the numerous scrapes given to both my knees. There were no video games, and I really didn’t like watching television all day, so I was free to invent, play and be a kid.
We had an empty lot next to us, and a peach tree in the back yard. For days on end I would beg my mom to let me have a cloths line, a sheet and some old cardboard boxes, until she relented, and with those amenities I built myself quite a fort. When I wasn’t in the fort, I would climb the peach tree and spend my time precariously testing the tolerance of my weight on spindly branches looking for ripe fruit to eat.
I learned to ride on a bike, which had no seat, and that was a great incentive to not fall, yet fall I did. From that experience I remember the largest scraped knees of my life. Plus, there was the disappointment in my father's face when he said that a young lady should not walk around with scabs all over her legs. Kids are kids and learn they do, although sometimes a bruise, bump or scrape brings the message home, and sometimes it doesn’t.
My childhood was relatively pain free, although breaking my right femur at 5 years old was no picnic, and the subsequent extended hospital stay with my leg in a splint was excruciating for a rambunctious 1st grader. The triangular bar perched over my head on the hospital bed was used more for play then for the staff when they came to change the sheets or examine me. As it turned out, I had a rare, but not uncommon condition that weakened the bone in my leg and it fractured. Thankfully, it healed quite nicely and has never posed a problem since.
I applaud my neighbors for letting their children be kids. It is delightful to photograph them and to watch them have fun. This simple swing set has given these little human beings countless hours of fresh air and playtime. When I made this image, I knew I had captured the emotion and the reality of what it is like to be a child, and even though I am an adult, that spirit of adventure and astonishment still thrives in my soul.
It is always time to play...... with or without my camera!
© 2104 Santa Fabio
Image taken with a Nikon D800 and a 70-300mm lens, converted to black and white using Photoshop, Lightroom and Silver Effects Pro 2 software.
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer