Yearning to Play

Yearning to Play

a story of play by Xanthe Berkeley

I’d been longing for a change, some event to shake up how I see the world through my lens. Wonderfully my wish came true as recently I was blessed with a trip of a life time. Four weeks away with my family, exploring faraway places, escaping from the routine of life. Time away to focus on playing with my camera.  How grateful I was.

Constrains of luggage allowance meant I needed to keep my gear simple. So, one camera body, one lens, and one iPhone with LifeProof case came with me. These would be my tools and the adventure, my playground.  My only goal was to shoot just for me, just through play and experimentation. To disrupt my usual pattern of shooting, as more often than not I shoot with a purpose with a n end result – either a client, a blog post, a family time capsule of a moment I want to remember or promotion for my classes. I wanted to see how my story of our adventure could be created through play.

I was yearning to play. Play with how I see things, play with the settings on my camera, play with light, colour and shadow, play in new locations, play with stills and video.  Play with all the things I love to shoot.We often hear about stepping out of our comfort zone to push ourselves, but actually there is much to be gained by shooting subjects you truly love and really exploring that, defining it and totally indulging in it.  You see, I love photographing my children a lot, so here is a subject that is easy for me. So I played with seeing them differently in relation to this new environment and how could I create portraits of them that I didn’t already have. How could I see them in a new way? I usually fill my frames with lots of light and colour, on this trip I explored and played with silhouettes against the beautiful sunsets and landscapes we found. This was a whole new playground for me.

I played with shooting video of us. I had time to experiment with new angles, in new locations. We had so much fun shooting underwater for instance! Together we created footage that I’ve never shot before (and may never get to do again), but it has given me ideas for future projects, should ever find myself in the right locations. By making time to play with no routine pulling me or no time constraints, I created an opportunity to truly explore my art.  So now not only do I have a wonderful collection of images and films that tell the wonderful story of our adventure, I also have the gift of play, as an approach to discovering new ways of creating work even with familiar subjects. And for this I’m very grateful.

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