Photo of man in medieval costume Utah
Photo of man in medieval costume Utah

A selection of images from my Modern Medieval project are featured on the entertainment section of Time Magazine’s website to coincide with New York Comic Con. The project is about a (still somewhat underground) phenomenon based around Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) started in 1974. I learned of this world through a documentary film called The Dungeon Masters that briefly mentioned LARP (Live-Action Role Play) and found active groups based in Utah. LARP takes the fantasy based games of D&D into the real world where players (or LARPers) act out scenes and story-lines with a character they’ve created. Photographed here are members of Palanthar (a Medieval LARP group), Belegarth (a Medieval Combat group), as well as Steampunk-inspired LARPers. Each person creates their own character whom they develop and play over lengthy period of time. Eventually, a LARPer will ‘retire’ their character, i.e. their character will die or be killed. To those who belong to this world, Medieval combat and LARPing are not the same thing. LARP is more narrative based (often following rules and story lines created from D&D) with more extravagant costumes. Medieval Combat, on the other hand, attempts to stay true to actual Medieval dress and sword-play. But both employ Medieval European customs and mythology. LARP is a fantastical, mythology-based creative outlet and the players become very passionate about their unconventional pastime for years and sometimes decades.