Ah, Fanime… the only time of the year when you can walk around downtown San Jose wearing a lolita dress and
not have people suspect that you’re a hardcore weeaboo. But alas, Fanime was today and it brought out all of the
bay area’s nerdiest and most creative minds under one wet blanket. Being the cheap ass that I am, I just roamed
the halls and outskirts of the convention looking for cosplayers with some pizazz. Oddly enough, I actually wasn’t
too thrilled to be shooting there.
You see, ever since I transitioned into film/polaroid photography my shooting style has changed. So while nerd
1, 2 and 384 were all photographing the same girl, DSLRs click-clacking faster than Michael J. Fox in tap shoes,
I pretty much had one chance to get it right. Equipped with 1 pack of Fuji FP-100C color film, 1 pack of fp-3000b
black and white and one roll of Portra 400 in my Olympus Stylus Epic, I had to be very selective with who I
photographed and how. Take this shot for example:
First off, I thought her Catwoman was fantastic. The stitching looked legit and the expressions were
pretty damn spot on. She was even hanging out against the wall like one of those stray cats you might see
in an alley. However, due to the low speed of film (100 ISO) I was forced to really grip down on my camera
and stabilize it as much as possible. A bit blurry for my taste but the silver lining is that popping red against
the blue hazed tones. I also bleached the negative which has a very 80’s-ish vibe – no?
It totally reminds of those thin, outdated hairstyle booklets that almost every Vietnamese barber shop owns.
Gerri curl, anybody? Digressions aside, the con was a little disappointing to be honest. Everyone seemed to be
dressed as the same damn thing and no one really went there. It was all just a bunch of Lolitas, obscure
characters who look like they could be from any damn anime — I mean seriously, how original do you look wearing
an Asian schoolgirl outfit? — and even more annoying was the bukkake of Princess Zeldas and Links gossiping
around their makeshift deku tree.
This was one of the few Zeldas that I actually bought into. She totally stayed in character the whole time and had
demure hand gestures as if her hand were a dolphin skipping away.
See what I mean? This kinda shit is cool. Squatting over a bird shit-stained light post just to give your fans a
good shot? BALLIN! And the black chick has that confidence that bodes well with Black widow.
Being the only polaroid photographer that day, I got quite a few compliments and questions about my camera.
After taking a photo of miss Pochahontas over here, some dude popped out of the trees like Slenderman and
was like “cool camera!” We chatted for a bit about film photography, he told me about his film background
and he eventually gave me his business card. Check out their fantastic work!
One of the moments that truly stuck out to me was when I saw Zero Suit Samus. When I came up to take a
picture of her I noticed this Super-Cholo dude with his hood lookin’ buddy asking to have their photo taken
with her. Arms around her shoulder, they cheesed as the other brother snapped away on their camera phone.
Now, I’m not going to say they were out of place since who knows, those guys could be closeted weeboos,
but what I did take note of was her expression.
Her face was cringing when they were touching her; it was as if she were 5 years old again and her parents
were trying to feed her vegetables. Maybe other people didn’t see it, but I know I did. It was subtle, but it
was definitely there. I guess when you do street photography you end up training your eye to notice
microscopic moments: a bright red high heel on cold pavement, a little child dancing in a pocket of
sunlight or the forced smile of a woman trying to maintain her composure. Which brings me to my final
point of this drawn out post: IS Cosplay consent?
Oh, what the hell am I saying? Of course Cosplay isn’t consent! Yes, some of these women are dressed more
minimalistic than your average hooters girl, but the outfit a woman wears should never dictate whether a man
(or rather, a boy) has the right to touch her in any way. Come to think about it, most of the photographers that
were there seemed rather pervy. I kinda just took my shots and walked away while these other peeping toms
looked like they were completely getting off with their camera lenses. WHY DO YOU LADIES EVEN COME
HERE?! SAVE YOURSELVES! LEAVE, NOW!
I kid, I kid. But in all honesty it does make me wonder: during these types of conventions where you have
women dressed up as characters, is there something about the environment that makes guys feel like it’s
okay to touch women? Or should we just learn to expect this behavior from virgin boys who claim to have
reached first base when in reality, an elderly German lady simply patted down their jeans during a TSA
inspection. It really goes to show you that both nerds and jocks can be assholes.
Oh, and I also saw Ironman.