Ramencon 2012 and Cosplay Photography Talk

I attended Ramencon 2012.  It is an anime convention located in northern Indiana somewhat close to Chicago, Illinois.  You can learn more about their yearly convention here.

I already wrote about the convention on my photography website that includes a few details about what equipment and techniques I was using.  I also included a few of my favorite photos from the convention on there.  To keep things fresh, I'll select a few different I liked to display here.

The convention was small, yet fun overall.  This is one that everyone should consider attending if you are in the northern Indiana area. I personally prefer larger conventions most of the time due to things like a larger layout (I can only walk around a small convention so many times before getting board) and more people in cosplay, but that's just me and how I tend to go about convention photography. 

I like to talk about the social aspects of conventions on cvfta.blogspot.com, but this time I'm going to do a mixture of that with something related to convention photography.  Don't worry, I won't be talking about things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO!  I'll actually be writing somewhat of a rant on the subject...

In the case of a smaller convention like Ramencon (2012 is only the 2nd year), you can see I tended toward small photo sessions instead of a large number of unique cosplays, which really is not possible in this situation.  Luckily, I had some photographer friends around who were part of helping to set things up, or others who were part of the session as models that put in the time and effort to work with me.  I don't usually go out of my way to set up sessions like that, so what you see above is from mostly others putting in some motivation or effort to include me.  Thanks guys. :)

I had my first outright denial for a (group) picture as I, somewhat abruptly, asked for a hallway cosplay photo as I passed by a group of cosplayers.  Well, probably not the first, but it is so infrequent that I don't recall, off hand, any specific instances from the past that were so extreme. 

I'll state, as I have in the past, I and other photographers don't get that much out of this hobby, and most of what I or others do here is for the people in costume and also to help promote and document the convention.  I make the best images I can, given whatever the current circumstances are, for the person(s) in the photo.  I like getting acknowledgement or other benefits from this as I think anyone else would, but as of yet, it isn't nearly what the expense in time and other costs are.

The purpose of and goals of a convention photographer are often misunderstood as some type of fandom or a potentially selfish/negative thing.  While I or other photographers might have a fondness for a given character that can help motivate us, there is a good chance we won't even know who you are cosplaying (that won't stop us from asking and incorporating what we learn from you into the resulting photos).

Having the main focus on photography and documenting the convention for the sake of it doesn't make the request for a photo any less genuine or valid.  We might recognize the detail of your work, or some other aspect that makes it worth our effort and time to ask. The photographer really has no true use for the final work.  The images don't have any intrinsic value after it is taken, post-processed, and displayed.

Occurrences like this are rare and it isn't something to get worked up over (I laughed it off at the time and went about my business).  I generally have my own internal guidelines for who and when I ask for a hallway photo, and in this case, I think I probably was a bit off the mark and the result spoke for itself.  Live and learn.

If you have any to say on this, feel free to start a discussion in the comments section.

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