Chapter 1, Task 1
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Task 14 – Play yourself colourful

Task 14

Play colorfully

The Camera Cure - Task 14
Taking photographs is actually a game for adults, something that we mostly do for the joy of it. The value of its utility is often minimal. Like a carousel or slide can ignite the playfulness of children, ours is awakened when we get to handle a camera. We can play with our subjects, the lines and the color while we hunt for the right moments. For the most part we miss the target we are aiming at, but that doesn’t matter. Time flies while we are doing it. It is through play that we best learn how to take photos.
How would this picture have looked if it were cloudy?
Paxos, Greece, 2009. Photo: Torkil Færø



As humans we are born to play. Play is evolutions way to ensure that mammals practice sur- vival skills voluntarily. The fun of it is the driving force. Unfortunately, in most schooling sys- tems this force is suppressed. The most playful suffer a lot and most of us leave highschool with a severely damaged playfulness. School often teaches us to tolerate boredom. As adults this lack of play makes our lives dull ond colourless.

Many patients that I have met live monotonous lives, so it is perfectly understandable if they have become depressed. Each day resembles the next one and the years just pass by. They neither play nor live. They exist. Life is monochromatic for them, or it’s colorless. In fact, this is the saddest thing I see as a doctor. And the clearest symptom of this affliction is that their playfulness is gone. There is little that they do just for the fun of it. They stopped learning anything new long ago. The same thoughts and routines are repeated ad nauseum. People are designed to learn through play. Playfulness has been taken away from us, but can we find it again?

Do you know someone who apparently never plays? What does affect does this have on them?

How relevant is this issue for you on a scale of 1 to 6?:



Play with colors

People who play live healthier and longer lives. By ‘play’ we mean participating in a voluntary activity that offers hardly any other benefit other than we enjoy doing it, such as dancing, sports, knitting, singing in a choir, video games, bridge or photography. With our cameras as our toy, we can become like children again, pointing it towards what sparks our curiosity and away from what is boring.

Photographers don’t turn around a corner and think, It is boring here, so I’ll stay here for little while longer. Instinctively we would instead move on driven by the chase for something new, beautiful or exciting. Playing is our inborn instinct for learning. It contributes to new learning taking hold and gives us the power to do more. In hunter/gatherer societies, people play until they get old, and in our workshops we see how playing with a camera liberates peo- ple’s ability to learn long into retirement age. So, let’s play seriously! Do you know someone who is good at playing?


Decide on a color you want to be on the lookout for. Take photos of objects that have this color – and play!

On a scale of 1 to 6, how useful was this task for you?

BOOK SUGGESTION: Free To Learn by Peter Gray


Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.


The opposite of play is not work. It is depression.

Brian Sutton-Smith

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.

Carl Jung

Life is not as serious as the mind makes it out to be.

Eckhart Tolle

This is the secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

Alan Watts