Introduction to GUP #54 - Playful


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We of the photo world often find ourselves existing simultaneously at different points on the spectrum between work and play. Whether speaking of the practice of photo making, or about the photos themselves, we can find ourselves asking: Is this playfully serious or seriously playful? When it comes to producing something new, it tends to be birthed from the wellspring of both.

In his 1938 book Homo Ludens – a species of playful man – Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga suggests that play is a primary and necessary condition to generate culture. We play to learn, to know ourselves and others, to train an idea, to experiment within our minds, to create the as yet unimagined. Play is serious stuff.

But let’s not be so serious about it. We’re motivated to play not for its functions but because it’s fun.

With that in mind, join us in our joy as we look at work that makes us smile. Toy, together with us, in the game of art photography. Get to work. Come play.

Katherine Oktober Matthews, Chief Editor


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