Why do we play?

Why do we play games? That is the question Belgian photographer Hannelore Vandenbussche decided to explore, traveling to numerous countries to roam the world of sports, passion, athletic competition, transition, and emancipation. The athletes she portrays keep old traditions alive or carve out new territory, perform rituals, and celebrate with boisterous parties centered around their games.

Meet Buzkashi players astride their horses in Central Asia, Donga stick fighters in Ethiopia, Tarahumara runners in Mexico, big wave surfers in Nazaré, and many other athletes in these unusual sports. These unique photographs capture athletes from both indigenous cultures in remote parts of the globe and from familiar, Western cultures. They poignantly convey how old traditions are kept alive and new ones are carved out, how rites of passage, ritual, and celebration are all part of the culture of play.

This coffee table book showcases a hugely diverse range of sports from places as far-flung as Mongolia and Ethiopia, from jockeys in Dubai to kite fighters in Rio de Janeiro. This extraordinary book of photographs is dedicated to a subject that is being presented in an entirely new way.

Human Playground focuses on specific, universal themes within a collection of the most intriguing, extreme and primal ways humans use play to express themselves. Historically, sport has been a form of entertainment, celebration and honour, but it has also been used to resolve conflicts within communities.
Our stories creatively explore the many fascinating ways humans experience play in the form of ancient rituals, rites of passage, business, pain, perfection, and sacredness. It gives a glimpse into the most phenomenal playgrounds on the planet, the people who engage in the games, and the extremes they’re willing to go to.

Human Playground is not 
just about sports; it’s about 
what makes us human.

Coffee table book

- Why We Play


This coffee table book showcases a hugely diverse range of sports from places as far-flung as Mongolia and Ethiopia, from jockeys in Dubai to kite fighters in Rio de Janeiro. This extraordinary book of photographs is dedicated to a subject that is being presented in an entirely new way.
€ 67,95