Data + Design Project

America At Play, From the Air Above

Wednesday 05.21.2014 , Posted by
Alex S MacLean Playing 10

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With summer quickly approaching the northern hemisphere, and with the very best activities obviously outside under the hot sun, let’s get an overview of the situation. Alex S. MacLean, the much loved aerial photographer has been doing just that for the last decade or so. His ongoing series of photographs called Playing capture a top-down view of America’s outdoor playgrounds. From azure blue swimming pools dotted with splashing kids, to baseball diamonds maintaining “America’s favorite pastime.”

(Above: Universal Studios, Pedestrian Walks & Amusement Rides – Orlando, Florida)

Schoolyard Baseball Diamond – Anthem, AZ 2004
Alex S MacLean Playing 3

But MacLean’s images don’t simply document routine amusement, they also capture many of the more unusual perspectives of our playful terrain. Here we see a baseball game being played in the arid Arizona desert on brown grass and brown dirt. Below we see a clean blue swimming pool next to the Charles River, a body of water which was only clean enough to be swimmable in recent years. In a way, MacLean’s series is a testament to the earth changing efforts we are willing to do in order to have fun.

For a further look at Alex S. MacLean’s work in this area, see The Playbook.

Pool Next to the Charles River – Cambridge, MA 2012
Alex S MacLean Playing 6

Ocean City Amusment Park – Ocean City, MD 2011
Alex S MacLean Playing 1

Mini Golf and Shuffle Board on Parking Roof Deck – Atlantic City, NJ 2010
Alex S MacLean Playing 2

Go Kart and Mini Truck Racing – Ocean City, MD 2011
Alex S MacLean Playing 4

Sandbar Volleyball – Hawaii, 2006
Alex S MacLean Playing 5

Desert Hoops – Anthem, AZ 2004
Alex S MacLean Playing 7

Unmarked Tennis Courts – Manchester, New Hampshire
Alex S MacLean Playing 8

Surfers Behind Breaking Waves at Sunset Beach – Oahu, HI
Alex S MacLean Playing 9

via designwreck

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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