If you’ve heard me talk about my process at all, I’ve probably said foremost that I play. I believe, assertively and profoundly, in play. When we play, we fall right into the present moment, no meditation required. Play is where tensions smooth, where time distends, where possibilities open. In the purest play, the rules reveal themselves through the game.
Play’s mostly forgotten in our culture. When we bring it up at all, we deride it. “We’re not playing.” “I’m not messing around.” “No more games.”
I learned to write my “warmup” poems by experimenting. Though it was a few years before I could name the game’s rules, they’re simple, and they can lead me almost anywhere.
It’s interesting I didn’t see the power of play in my work until I was in my 20s, and I’d already mastered a lot of my technical craft. I’d been playing most of the time I’d been writing, but by drawing a box for my play, I protected and elevated it.
Jump forward 12 years, I’ve learned to shoot architecture by trusting my sense of play. I can’t name the rules yet, but I’m getting closer. I know certain angles will bend, certain tones will work better in black and white. I know to shoot around the thing I see, to give myself extra canvas.
Portraits are no different. Every sitter gets a variation of the same speech: “Today we’re here to play. Trust me, trust yourself, trust the ineffable thing that happens when you forget what you’re doing.”
It’s with this in mind I’m thinking about adding a tagline to my business.
In Ludens Veritas
Most of us are familiar with the truism “in vino veritas.” Insert wine, receive truth. Loosely, “in ludens veritas” means truth in play.
I think play is just as powerful as wine. Both take us by surprise, make us bold and intimate, reveal us to ourselves unexpectedly. (It’s even more interesting to note to that “veritas” means both truth and reality.) And as the North Star of my work is always a nugget of Truth, something equally unnamable and undeniable, Truth in Play seems apt.
Or it could be really pretentious.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.