Obsessions start with seeming innocuous beginnings. You buy a Jack Skellington cookie jar at a fundraiser and the next thing you know you’ve got cookie jars all over the house, and every trip to a swap meet turns into a hunt for more of them. They multiple like tribbles in a storage hold of Quadrotriticale and your life, and living space, is no longer your own. This is kind of how it’s going with my growing obsession with Cosplay photography.
A spur-of-the-moment trip to WonderCon in 2011, and a few photos of Klingons and assorted comic book characters has turned into an ever-growing portfolio of cosplay photography, including more trips to different cons, in different cities. WonderCon 2011 was my first cosplay cookie jar, so-to-speak. I love the passion the cosplayers, who are usually the designers and makers of their costumes, to the craft. The time, and attention to detail, that many of the more serious practitioners bring to their cosplay is amazing, and inspiring, and I love documenting it in pictures.
Last year some folks at work were talking about this thing call the NorCal Pirate Festival…A weekend of pirate-themed entertainment, food, and crafts, held on the waterfront in Vallejo, CA. It sounded interesting, and a chance to photograph and entirely different variety of cosplayers than the SciFi/Fantasy con folks, so I put it in calendar, and made it up there this past weekend for the 2013 edition of the festival.
The Pirate Festival didn’t disappoint. There is a lot of cosplay involved, and even some LARPing…But there’s a lot more. High-end crafts merchants selling everything from hand-tooled tricorn hats to hand-blown glass and sculptures. In spirit, it’s a bit like a Ren Faire, but seems more like the Summer counterpart of the San Francisco Great Dickens Christmas Fair, a 21st interpretation of what Victorian London would be like…In fact a number of the food vendors were folks I recognized from the Dickens Fair (some of the best hot meat pies you will ever enjoy, for example.)
Entertainment spanned a pretty wide range from musical acts, craft demonstrations, and a variety of kid-friendly activities including a ‘Pirate School’ teaching kids essential life skills like how to steer a ship, the difference between port and starboard, and hands-on lessons in deck swabbing (which I’m thinkin’ was not the high point for most kids.)
The big show attraction was a real ‘pirate ship’ off the shore that made period runs at the festival, with simulated cannon fire. The festival was defended by a group of worthy seaman on shore, firing back with a group of cannons and cannonettes. It was smokey and loud, and a lot of fun.
More photos from the NorCal Pirate Festival can be found over on my Flickr site.