‘Dreamlands’ is a new collection of work by British photographer Rob Ball, comprising of a series of tintypes created on the site of Dreamland, an old disused amusement arcade in Margate, Kent.
The exhibition presents over twenty tintypes and silver gelatin prints
alongside original Dreamland memorabilia including old signs, tickets, pool balls, remnants of arcade machines, an original Victorian tintype taken in Margate and colour photographs taken when Dreamland was first shut down in 2003.
The site of the park was first used for amusement rides as early as 1880 but established itself as Dreamland in 1920. It became a much-loved tourist attraction but after years of a steady decline in visitors and a slow dismantling of iconic rides, the park eventually closed in 2003. A decade long campaign to restore it back to a fully operational amusement park will see it reopen to the public this June.
Continuing his long-standing interest in the interaction and habitation of landscapes and spaces of leisure, Ball began this project in 2013, deciding to use tintypes
to document the restoration process of the park as a way of emphasising the physicality of the landscape and its imperfections. Every time he visited the site Ball constructed a temporary darkroom in which the tintype was coated, sensitised, exposed, developed and fixed in-situ. Each plate carries the evidence of the environment in which it was made; dust, debris, fingerprints and even the quality of daylight are all recorded on its surface. The result is a unique object. Silently haunting images are devoid of human presence, revealing the passage of time and decay alongside the process of rebuilding.