This project made me feel quite nervous at first, as I was trying to consider how to photograph somebody I am a stranger to, without being overly intrusive or simply getting a very angry stranger chasing me. I eventually decided on what path to take, though it all happened quite last minute.

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These were taken at a LARP event were I take a lot of photographs. Live action role playing is a fascinating hobby when you look at the social structure of it.

The image on the left is of the person I know. There is no nervousness in front of the camera, no forced smile or looking away. The image on the right is of the person I do not know. She isn’t looking at the camera, and I am a fair distance away, because I do not want to intrude on her comfort zone.

Both of these photographs were unplanned, and taken very much in the moment. By not warning them of the camera I left it up to both people to react in the way they felt most comfortable and I feel this gives a more truthful observation of the relationship I have with both of them.

However, one of the reasons I thought these photographs were interesting, is because of the social structure of LARPs. I don’t know the girl on the right. But the man on the left I have known for years, yet in a way he is a complete stranger to me.

We never meet outside of the bubble that is our shared hobby, and so often you are playing a character, so really, I know him about at well as I do the girl on the right. Yet I consider him a good friend, and he is in no way uncomfortable with me suddenly shoving a camera in his face. While the girl on the right is purposely avoiding eye contact and seems far less comfortable in front of the camera. Though obviously the personality of the subject should be taken into consideration, I think it’s perceptions of how well we know someone than how well we actually do that is often more important.

This is a common thing I find with this hobby, and I think that the psychology between these confined social structures is fascinating, and can create a lot of interesting background for photographs that otherwise could be considered relatively mundane.

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