LARP, Taking a Holiday From Everydayness
LARP? Yes, sometimes we need our friend Wiki to help us out! LARP is short for live action role-playing game, a form of role-playing where the participants physically act out their characters' actions. Inspired by tabletop role-playing games, online fantasy gaming and genre fiction; the action spread internationally during the 1980's. Don't worry, we're not going to talk about the game rules, instead we're admiring the intimate portraits photographer Charlotte Lybeer took from the Belgian and Dutch LARP community.
Instead of going to a LARP battlefield, Charlotte decided to photograph the players in their own environment. This didn't only avoid demeaning pictures of dressed up, battling fantasy charters but it also made the LARPers at ease. They didn't need to act, battle or protect an enchanted forest with spells. A kitchen chair or the edge of their own bed made sure that the portraits were as rich and intimate as they would ever get.
"In the beginning I found it very strange" explains Charlotte "I was surprised by the difference between the person and character, but I started to get it. It wasn't that much different from theatre. It was like a hobby to them, not a way to escape from reality". Thanks to this approach the LARPers preserved their dignity. There's even an admiration for the craziness and love with which the LARPers make their costumes. Let's not forget their courage! Instead of hiding behind the veil of virtuality, their portraits reveal an "Out of the closet" moment. Being brave enough to be a proud LARPer!