So this is a note that's going to take a more serious (and bitchy?) tone. The whole "Otakon-in-Review" journal will be full of my normal terrible wit and lame attempts at humor as I recall my Otakon, but I guess I wanted to make a journal for some of the undercurrent of what's been going on. Sort of a bit of some of my annoyances, and observations as of late. If that's not your cup of tea, cool beans by me, you can skip this entry and wait until the next one. Or, if you want to gripe/observe along with me, please, seriously, be my guest.
Before any of this begins, please note that I will be going through my shoots by the days that I shot them. We're part of the way through Friday now, so hang in there! If you want to check out stuff, I have a gallery up here titled "Otakon 2011", I also have previews up on my facebook page: facebook.com/mindfallmedia
If you worked with me, you will be receiving a link to a MobileMe gallery that will have edited, full sized pictures available for you to download. When the final edits are complete, I will also put all of the Otakon pictures into one gallery, so they can be viewed all at once versus picking through a DA or Facebook page. No worries!
Now then! To the observations and what not!
To begin, some notes on photography. To be honest (and at 4:30am, you're gonna get me being brutally honest because I have no filter), I went to Otakon with a serious something to prove. There is kind of an ongoing debate in some circles over whether or not cosplay photographers should be charging. Overall, I really don't care one way or the other. I, personally, like compensation in non-traditional format. I don't view it as reasonable that a cosplayer pay me money to take pictures of them. If they want to buy me food, or drinks, or a subscription to DA or something, then great! Awesome!
But I cannot justify placing a dollar amount per hour or half hour to my photoshoots. It's not like my equipment costs me the same way a cosplayer's costume does EVERY TIME. And, on top of that, beyond giving the cosplayer their photos, and using them in certain places, it's not like I can DO anything with that image. It's a copyrighted character from a copyrighted show. So, it's actually a very rare instances can I actually sell my work to any place. On top of that, while cosplay does look very cool, it's not all that useful, beyond a few of my absolute BEST shots, in a portfolio. It's not yet taken all that seriously by those photographers that don't do it. I speak from personal experience because I applied to multiple photo studios and videographers in my area when I got back from school a year ago.
Now that you've heard my long rambling, maybe it's time I introduce WHY I even got on this topic on this first place. Now, take this with a grain of salt that anything said on cosplay.com should not be taken seriously. At least, I don't take it seriously. That being said, a few threads popped up on there with this debate occurring. And one of the things that people charging what I view as rather expensive fees seemed to imply or come right out and say was that their work was "unique" and "special", and that cosplayers could "settle for free photography that is mediocre", or pay them for something "worth their time". I gotta be honest, I take serious offense to that, and wonder why these jackasses even bother with cosplay photography at all. For me, IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT. I don't care if you charge or you don't charge, in this hobby/profession/whatever, your service is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. But I also feel that regardless of where you stand on the issue, you don't have the right to trash someone else to promote yourself. So yeah, I went to Otakon, produced some of my best work ever FOR FREE, and walked away being able to dust my shoulders off.
Like I said previously, I don't mind photogs who charge money. Most of my good friends in this hobby do just that. I guess it's more of a respect thing? I dunno. 'Nuff said I guess, though I'd love to hear comments.
Oh, and another thing. When it comes to photography and conventions, people need to learn some fucking etiquette. Now, obviously, there's the whole PLEASE ASK MYSELF AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE COSPLAYER FOR PHOTOS DURING A SHOOT. Seriously, people, it's PRETTY easy to tell when we're doing more than taking a couple of shots. And I'm a really nice guy, I like to think. I will absolutely let you take some photos, provided the cosplayer acquiesces. But just running up to take pictures without a fucking word is just rude. The cosplayer takes all this time and puts all this effort into making a costume, getting into the right makeup, and getting into character, it would be nice if they could present their best side for a photo, not just some random sniper shot. Seriously. Plus, I get REALLY sick of rude assholes ruining a shot because they choose to ignore my presence. I'm not a small person, it's very hard to miss me.
Another thing that comes to my mind, because this happened to me MULTIPLE times at Otakon. If I'm not working with you, and/or don't know you, then Fuck Off when it comes to telling me about a room, or its lighting, or how to operate my equipment. IT'S MY EQUIPMENT. I PROMISE THAT I KNOW HOW TO USE IT. OR, I CAN FIGURE IT OUT. Seriously. It's one thing if I'm working with a fellow photog or cosplayer, and they're telling me what we're going for/what will look best. I do it all the time. But at Otakon, I had random schmucks come up to me while I'm working with a cosplayer/s and proceed to tell me what would best work for a shot. HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT I'M LOOKING TO DO WITH MY SHOT? AT ALL?! I don't care if you work for a photo studio (one particular jackass), or whatever, I don't want your advice. At all. You don't see me going around telling other people what to shoot. Even with people I know, I usually wait until I'm asked before giving input. UGH. I apologize for the profanity, but seriously, things like that make me go face.
I cooooould do all the typical griping about how I don't really attend convention functions anymore unless I'm there to support friends (and even then, you won't see me anywhere near a masquerade most times). I prefer hanging out with people, photo shoots and drinking. I could bitch about how annoying the younger generation that's starting to attend is, but honestly, most of my venting is done, and all that other typical whining and crying is booooooring.
SO, ladies and gents. I want to hear YOUR thoughts. I want to know what YOU think. Am I being a whiny little bitch? Have you had experiences similar to mine? Care to share? LET'S DISCUSS!!!!
As always, until next time:
...see you space cowboys...