“Learning through play”.
It’s a phrase that we hear all the time when talking about children and as adults we know how well play works as a learning mechanism. So why do we stop? When do we go through some form of transition that stops us playing, that makes everything we do need a reason or purpose? Or even more constraining, a client?
Once everything needs a reason or a client we stop to grow as a creative. We become restricted by invisible, often self imposed rules, we try to fit in with whatever everyone else is doing. But if we can let go of all expectations and truly play, without caring about the end result, without thinking about whether we can share it on Instagram, we can re-connect with our creativity.
And then we can learn through play again.
Colour, light, composition, we can learn more about all of them by letting go and playing. And maybe we will be happy to share that end result and use it to feed the social media monster, if so that’s a bonus. But it’s just as likely that we won’t want to share the end results, that they will feel pointless. And that’s OK too because we are sure to have learned something, even if it’s only the tiniest lesson, even if we only learned that we didn’t like a particular style or approach.
When did you last play?
Whether your creative outlet is photography or something else, when did you last let go of expectations and create purely for the fun of creating?
I played recently but I must confess that I can’t actually remember when else I’ve played in a very long time. I’ll admit that I didn’t initially set out to play. My only intention was to photograph some eggs in response to a prompt in a photography group.
Once I’d got the shots I needed I started to pack everything away and then I thought “What else can I do with these things I have out” and I remembered a little wooden man I’d bought on impulse. And then I thought how pointless it would be to photograph a wooden figure and some eggs, and no way would I ever let anyone see those pictures.
BUT I did it, and I had fun. And I experimented with narrative, played with positioning a lot and then played around with the editing and created a new preset that I rather like. So, new things learned and fun was had, it wasn’t pointless after all.
Now it’s your turn. When did you last play? And I mean really play, not do something with half a mind that it might have some sort purpose.
I’d love to hear how you played, what you learned through it and even see what you created if you feel like sharing. Why not leave a comment and tell me, include a link if you like, but if you want to share privately send me an email.
And if you can’t remember when then it’s time you booked a play date with yourself!