Photography: The faces of Essen

A photographic project celebrating the diversity of people that gather each year to the Essen board game convention Spiel. From game inventors and publishers to masqued promoters and colourful players. Read more about the experience and see the pictures.


The gathering of a big group of people is likely to be full of opportunities for good photography but interestingly at places like markets and busy train stations I have never been able to find what I am looking for.
When I bought the ticket for Essen in Germany to take part in the biggest annual board gaming convention I knew the people gathering there will be interesting. Most would have made an effort to travel. A conscious financial and time commitment, dedicated to the shared passion of boardgames. In four days thousands of people would go trough the halls of the Essen Messe to play, buy, promote and sell boardgames. A diverse crowd, from hardcore geeks to totally unaware family days out.
I didn’t look for judgement or the peculiar nor for a group or a type. I was interested the cross section. In the people and their eyes: tired, trilled amazed, bored or happy. Just as they have made their move or maybe right after three days of sampling, buying or selling. We all have seen, at least, a Monopoly game fully set up on a table and we have all been to a large hall full of people unified by one reason or another. So it’s only the faces that we are looking at and the eyes momentarily distracted by the lens. Rarely were people too self aware. They were pulled out from their fictional world of choice like a sleeper who suddenly opened their eyes between two dreams. Most keeping the expression carrying the emotions from their imaginative journey.