People normally see boredom as something bad, but is it really like that? With his latest project, German photographer Jan von Holleben (previously) shows us that it’s not necessarily the case. When you allow yourself to be bored, great ideas can pop to your head. And perhaps creating mind-bending portraits like this is just the right thing to do. You won’t only end up with photos that people will have to look twice (at least), but you’ll have a lot of fun in the process, too.
“Legendary psychoanalyst Adam Phillips has written beautifully about why the capacity for boredom is essential for a full life and Susan Sontag contemplated the creative purpose of boredom, Jan writes in the description of his series.
“Perhaps we understand this intellectually, but we — now more than ever, it seems — have a profound civilizational anxiety about being alone. And the seed for it is increasingly planted in childhood — in an age when play is increasingly equated with screens and interfaces, being alone with a screen is not quite being alone at all, so the art of taking joy in one’s own company slips further and further out of reach.”
It’s important to note that Jan didn’t break social distancing to shoot these goofy portraits. He took them a while ago while he was working on his book ALWAYS EVERYTHING with Tarzipan Books. He would go and meet his friends at their home for the shoots. Usually he would have a few ideas in mind, but as the afternoon would roll out, he would have developed and tested a lot of ideas that popped up along the way. “The legs of those kids are either their elder siblings and mostly, actually, their parents,” Jan tells DIYP. “It was always a big laugh for all of us.”
Only one of the pictures made it into the book, but of course, he kept the rest. They were waiting for the right time to be published, and it turned out that the coronavirus pandemic was the perfect time to dig them out. They could inspire people to take some creative photos at home, all while goofing around with their family. Isn’t that great? Jan even had a contest for his followers on Instagram, and three hilarious shots won the prize.
I encourage you to try taking something like this yourself and have some fun in isolation. I know I will! Jan is running a new contest soon, and scroll down to see the details, I’m sure you’ll love it!
Join the Dreams of Flying competition
Jan’s contest is aimed at folks working with kids, students that are locked into home-schooling, but even the kids trapped in adults’ bodies can join. Yes, DIYP readers, I’m looking at you! :) The theme of the contest is: Dreams of Flying.
Think of something amazing, beautiful, and impossible that you’d like to do. Ask your siblings, parents, friend, dolls or pets and take them onto an incredible journey. Of course, use household objects: blankets, bags and suitcases, sports equipment, delivery boxes, chairs, dirty brooms or clean buckets. Anything really! Use a smartphone, a tablet, a DSLR, or any camera you have, and snap away!
You have time to shoot and submit your work until 5 May 2020, 23.59 pm (MESZ). There will be two categories: photo and video and you can submit as many as you like. If you want to take part, you need the Word document form filled out completely and signed (if you are under 18, then by your legal guardian). Send it along with your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winners will get ten big packages full of books, postcards, pins and card games from Jan’s shop. There are also ten exclusive golden Dreams of Flying Special Medals! :) The Word document a PDF with technical and conceptual support can both be downloaded here.