Roleplayers

This chapter, dedicated to the live action role-playing game, is the first I shot chronologically and probably the one in which I focused the most effort. This is a form of role-playing game, where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. I shot these pictures in South Italy, near my hometown, but it is noted that the most significant of these events are normally held in Germany and the UK. I spent five days and four nights in the forest with the role-players, taking pictures of the whole event. Normally these are no-stop performances with the intent of recreating the sense of fantasy and imagination in which the participants all seem to be immersed.
The players of live action role-playing games pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of the player’s actions may be mediated by game rulers, or determined by a consensus among players. Event arrangers, called masters, determine the rules and the setting. Nothing seems to be left to chance with meticulous attention to details.
The real world is represented by character actions in an imaginary setting. Game rules, physical symbols and theatrical improvisation are used to bridge differences between the real world and the setting. Live action role games can have different genre, although many utilize themes and settings derived from genre fiction. In this case the setting was inspired to fantasy movie “The Lord of the Ring”.
My attempt for this part of the project was to recreate the feeling of a collective dream in which they play and to show their interactions. It is important to underline that in this particular event I was a true observer. I couldn’t, for any reason, get in contact or talk to the participants while they were playing. In order to blend in with the surroundings and the players I was photographing, except for my camera, I was also required to dress up, removing any items of “modernity” such as my sneakers and watch.
I chose to close my project with the live action role-playing game chapter, even though it was the first that I shot. As stated earlier, this is because I believe that it epitomizes the essence of the project, and more generally the life and cultures in which we are all characters with roles to play (i.e. the only reason that we exist). The chapter that I chose to shoot are just three examples, but the list is potentially endless. In fact, I suspect that my inquiry into the identity, the role of the mask, and the experimentation of form, will continue into the future.