The word “school” can be a powerfully nostalgic one. Memories of nurturing, of safety, of care and concern may come to mind.
The school is every child’s first step out of the womb of home – a first step to in the development of personhood, and of community beyond that of the family.
But are schools really a safe haven?
Beyond connotations of the safe and sound, below the surface of the equanimity of easy community are the tensions of power play, of social control, of the forces of conformity. The stress over grades, the mild taunts of other children, the bullying, the hectoring of misanthropic teachers, the long march through the endless years and the inexorability of approaching adulthood with its dark and relentless challenges. Beneath every smiling face in playground, is the grimace of an inculcated child, a grim adult in the making.
In this series, Haunted School, the photographer examines the tension of the school and crawls beneath our naïve first impressions. Dark, cold... his images ask the question: are schools merely a reflection of the strictures of adult world – not at all a nurturing womb, more like a tainted Eden?