If you’re running out of ideas for a documentary or street photography project, you might want to do a simple exercise: Photograph something you feel is too familiar or often overlooked. You might end up painting a pretty interesting picture of something typically seen as ordinary. Case in point are Ron Gessel‘s cheerful snaps of people enjoying cotton candy.
For his aptly named set called Cotton Candy World, Amsterdam-based Ron hit the amusement park and photographed visitors enjoying a bunch of cotton candy. Now, that’s pretty standard as far as amusement park photos go. But when you have a lot of them like in this case, you get a more focused view of what happens around the park. Here, we see people indulging in one of the simplest and sweetest joys of life: digging into some cotton candy!
I find Ron’s photos to have this straight-forward, light-hearted message. Whether we say it out loud, cotton candy is part of what makes the amusement park experience for both kids and kids at heart. It’s fun to browse through Cotton Candy World and seeing people just digging in, faces smooshed onto the wispy clouds of sugar. It’s one of those sets that remind us of the happy, carefree, and mostly sweets-filled days of our childhood.
Another thing about this set that I found interesting, or at least eye-catching, is the striking similarity of the cotton candy with the clouds in his photos. The color, the wispy texture, and even the fluffiness make it seem like Ron’s subjects plucked the cotton candy from the cloudy sky. In some shots, the framing has made the resemblance even more noticeable. I have no idea if it’s accidental or intentional, but this trick certainly adds a hint of surrealism this body of work.