What is this project all about?
This picture book is of corse about photography, stories are also told, but this represents by far the smaller fraction of the work. It is more of a classical picture book. But it is also much more.
It is about people, passion, games, creativity and fantasy; it’s about the freedom to be just as you are, to be as you wish you were or to be someone entirely different than you are. It’s about LARP (Live Action Role Play).
LARP developed out of Fantasy Board Games (Pen&Paper), inspired by films, literature and computer games. At what exact point in time LARP came into existence is not documented. In fact, the Community is largely unknown to this day. There were a few reports on TV on the subject, but most of them didn’t quite capture its magnitude and just put it aside as yet another curiosity of the modern era. There were also one or two documentaries on the subject. That’s it.
And we’re talking about a community in Germany some sixty thousand strong! In addition, the community extends beyond national borders. There are large communities in Scandinavia, England, the US and Russia. But who are these people, who seemingly put so much of themselves into this “game”?
The answer: Everyone and no one. No single social, economic, professional, cultural or ethnic background seems to account for membership. I have met lawyers, doctors, teachers, mechanics, public employees, freelancers, dropouts, company bosses, managers, artists, Englishmen, Danes, Germans, Spaniards, black people, white people, men, women and transgenders. But all that is of no importance. Only the game counts.
Which leads me to the next question: How does the game work? There are a lot of events and even more genres. Fantasy, Apocalyptic, Horror, Western, Science Fiction, etc. There’s always a frame story which can be more or less detailed as far as scenery and time are concerned. The players create a character who typically joins one of the existing groups, e.g. the hoards of chaos? Den Horden des Chaos, den Pilgern the pilgrims?, dem Kartell the cartel?, dem Clan der Lasombra the clan of Lasombra? or start off as mavericks. The severity of the rules and their implementation varies from event to event but in essence there are no rules. The guiding principle is: “You are and can do whatever you may perform”.
Some of the characters accompany the players throughout the course of many years and thus develop and grow up with them. If a character dies, common practice dictates that that character cannot be played any longer, so most of the more experienced players have more than one character.
It would certainly go beyond the scope of this paper to explain the whole world of LARP. However, in conclusion, I’d like to state that my journey through time and space, which has lasted for four years and counting, has thoroughly impressed me, and that I have never encountered so many social, amicable, interesting, competent, creative and imaginative people elsewhere. Therefore, I’d like to extend my thanks to the players and organizers who have invested their trust in me and to all other people who are part of this Community.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
“LARP - The Photobook” fascinates and inspires. It shows
that people are imaginative beings who are powerful, passionate,
creative and capable of developing themselves and achieving great
things when properly motivated.
Ideally, the book will follow the footsteps of the players and reflect it upon the real world, being able to look at it from various perspectives, with curiosity and enthusiasm, and shape it on behalf of diversity.
Why would you support this project?
Because he himself or she herself plays and loves LARP. Or
because LARP is an excellent example for the peaceful gathering of
people of all kinds, nations and colors. Or because it proposes an
alternative to the virtual entertainment offers that are out there
nowadays. Because LARP has enriched the lives of many people, mine
included. Even outside the game, LARP nurtures an atmosphere of
open-mindedness, mutual understanding and interest towards life.
The achievements of the Community deserve to be payed attention to
and that is what I am trying to do with the photobook. It is
intended to enrich the lives of each and any of us, whether we have
been playing LARP for years or never even heard of it. It’s
supposed to show us what we’re capable of, inspire and delight
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
The sum of 30.000 € will go into the production and marketing of the photobook. Included are all contractual obligations including print and design of the pages within the catalogue for new publications, translations, editing, graphic work, etc. Most of it will go into the printing of the books and the logistics to get the books to the bookstores. The first edition will include 3,000 copies. If there’s a positive resonance to the new publications catalogue and the more successful the startnext campaign goes, there will be far more in the future. The additional cost for further copies would then be covered by the publishing house.
In case that I manage to raise an excess of 30,000 Euros, I will proceed like that :
Until 2000 € above the target, the additional money would go into the producing and shipping of the "Rewards"
From 2000 until 8000 € above the target, half of the additional money would go into the producing and shipping of the "Rewards" and half would go back into the LARP Community.
From 9000 € and more (above the target), one third of the additional money would go into the producing and shipping of the "Rewards" , one third would go back into the LARP Community and one third I put a into a photobook related exhibition.
The latter would be done via the organizations that I have already worked with within the genesis of the photobook. They’re all nonprofit organizations that have only the love of the game in mind. The money will be used to help the organizers keep up the good work, implement new ideas and to support players who can’t afford tickets or garbs. I know that 30,000 Euro is already a lot of money, but I do hope that I can raise more.
Who are the people behind the project?
My name is Boris Leist, I’m 38 years old, photographer and homo sapiens. During my studies of German Philology and Social Sciences, I discovered photography through a subscription of GEO magazine. Since then I’ve been focusing on the things that move me and tried to express them. This project is by far the most comprehensive and significant of my career as an artist. I am very happy that I have the Kehrer-Verlag (www.kehrerverlag.com) as my publisher on my side. If you want to know more about me and my work, please visit my website at www.borisleist.de or contact me personally. I will do my best to answer all your questions.