05 June, 2013

A Note on Cosplay Photography

So, as you know I had an amazing time at the Denver Comic Con. If you've looked at my photos, I tended away from the cosplay photography. That was a conscience choice, partly because focusing on it could easily overwhelm you with the sheer number of amazing and well executed costumes, and partly because as a documentary event photographer, that isn't the sole focus of the con. I did try to include them as I saw it as an interaction with everyone and everything at the convention, taking it as a piece of the whole. That's just me, big picture kinda guy and yeah I do need to work on narrowing my vision a bit and seeing the details that make up the whole, but I'm digressing on a little too much backstory.

What I really wanted to talk about was that among the costumes and the fantasy, there are whole genres that include costume weapons, from comically oversized swords and hammers, to the very real representation of guns. Now, to complete a themed costume these elements are certainly necessary and the attention to detail is much appreciated and respected, I mean what would my favorite zombie hunters be without their trusty side arms?

Well, my point is, as the abundance of the cosplay photography is now hitting the web, the amount of images of the characters aiming said sidearms directly at camera, has me a little on the fence on what is appropriate. Certainly, this is fantasy, a chance to act our your favorite character and aiming the gun at the camera makes for a very evocative image. But following on the heels of tragedies such as Sandy Hook and especially the Aurora theatre shooting, is this something that we need to encourage? Aurora Rise, a non-profit charity organization was at Denver Comic Con raising support for the families of that tragedy and here we are trying to fold our image of guns into the fantasy we so passionately gathered to celebrate.

I'll admit, I have never been that big a fan of guns, of a weapon that so easily grants power without necessarily the respect nor the responsibility that comes with them. So maybe I'm a little biased when it comes to making them the showcase of costume photography and how I don't want them to be star of the image when it's the costume as a whole that I find fascinating. This can certainly be applied to all costume weaponry, but all of this leads us down a rabbit hole of how our fantasies and fictions revolve around the idea that violence is the core value of the hero. I don't really want to open that can of worms, because yes, I do believe that a gun is a necessary tool, and the tool itself cannot be defined as good or evil, but who uses it does.

What I can say, especially as a whole picture kind of guy, I don't want to make the weapon the star of the image, especially at an event that focuses on children, an event that wants them to be brave, to follow their passions, and to not let others stop them from loving the things they love.

I know its a small point to get caught on, this is all fantasy after all, but I think that the images we make are the stories we tell, and well, I just want to tell a different story.

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