The larpers guide to getting photographed

OR: WE DON’T WANT TO BREAK YOUR IMMERSION

Time and time again: ‘People never take photographs of me, how do I get in photographs at LRP?’ Obviously now I can only speak for myself, but here’s what you need to do to get into my photographs at Empire or Odyssey.

Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions Ltd

Be in the same place as me.

Obviously, you can’t really control this because you never know where I’ll be. It’s made considerably easier at Odyssey because I hang out in the arena most of the time. However out on the battlefield at Empire, when there are potentially 1000 or so players and monsters at each others throats, where will I be?

I’ll be where it looks cool. That means I’ll primarily be looking for shots that will firstly look great for PD’s marketing material and secondly I’ll be looking for shots that will make it into my portfolio. Over the course of six Empire events I’ve learnt who will consistently give me great shots. Highguard for example in their matching uniforms and shield walls never fail to look cool when they’re on the open field. Those neat lines? They’re just so satisfying to my OCD. On the other hand the scrappy Orcs always look awesome in the woodland.

Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions LtdHave great kit.

Costume is a huge part of what makes me decide to take a picture. It doesn’t have to be the most ‘on brief’ kit in the world for your nation, but it does have to be of a reasonable standard. And a reasonable standard can be just a simple tunic and belt, as long as it’s worn well with no distractions. What do I mean by distractions? Well starting with the costume itself it has to be well made and have vision with the combinations you’re wearing. If you wear a bright pink tunic with neon green trousers, I’m most likely going to pass over you.

Badly made costume can also be a real problem. If your seam has come undone between events, then just fix it. An unravelled seam still retaining it’s pristinely ironed crease is just… ugly. It doesn’t even matter if you fix it badly – do you reckon that all medieval warriors knew how to sew? Or do you think they just fixed their kit to the best of their ability so that it didn’t get any worse while they were out fighting?

On the other hand, brand new and pristine costume doesn’t look great. We know that you love your brand new costume that you spent hours making or that you commissioned from an awesome costumer. You know what you need to do before your first event? Wear it. Wear it round the house as often as you can. Take it to the woods and run around for a few hours rubbing it on trees and falling over and then wash it several times. In fact, chuck tunics and other basics in every wash you do between now and your first event with it. Fight in it, practice with the rest of your group. Make it look lived in and not like you took it out the packet that morning. In fact, if you do take it out the packet that morning, at least iron the packing creases out of it. (Of course, disregard this paragraph if you have the kind of character who throws their clothes away after wearing them just once.)

Other bugbears include bits of costume that just aren’t in keeping with the setting. That includes belt pouches with coke cans in, water bottles that are plastic, and – I’m sorry – glasses. I mean that’s not true, I do photograph people who are wearing glasses. But man, I really hate the way that glasses look in pictures. Sometimes it can look cool, there’s a lady who wears lenses tinted really dark grey and she has a black and white costume and they look pretty cool. But everyday reading glasses really don’t do it for me. Before you moan about this point – I wear glasses too. I know it’s not very pleasant to put your fingers in your eyes and put contact lenses in but actually it’s not that bad when you get used to it. In fact I recently discovered five day extended wear contacts, so you can put them in on the first day of an event and not have to take them out until you get home. Wonderful stuff. Or reenactment glasses, they’re cool too. Expensive, but hardly as expensive as the custom armour you most likely bought. As aways, we’re talking about being aspirational here.

Edited to add: You know what my main problem with glasses in photographs is? They reflect light. And that means that actually, many, many shots with glasses in get chucked on the cutting room floor, even if they’re the best shot in the world otherwise with the most fabulous kit and the most emotive roleplayers. They’re just not things that are very compatible with taking photographs – or possibly that just applies to photographers with my level of skill.

Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions LtdRoleplay.

Ok, here’s the biggie. You might be wondering what I’m doing talking about roleplaying in a post about LRP. I mean, people don’t actually go to LRP to roleplay, do they? Certainly it feels that way on the field sometimes.

What all the pictures so far in this post have in common is that I photographed people roleplaying. From the minotaur surveying his territory to the Highguard soldier watching a ritual being prevented to the two medics nervously watching their families fight. They’re all roleplaying.

And if they’re roleplaying, then they’re not posing.

I’m not at Empire or Odyssey to shoot posed portraits or carefully crafted scenes. Well I am, but I do that before time in or while in the OC field. During time in for me it’s strictly documentary and we have written rules at PD to enforce this policy across all crew photographers.

There’s a really good reason for this. I was always taught that if something is worth doing then it’s worth doing properly. If I’m going to shoot staged shots of LRP then I want to take the time and effort to crack out all the gear I need to make the image in my head, and I want to direct the models in the shot to exactly how I want them to look. The same result will not be achieved by you striking what you think is an awesome pose, when actually it probably looks a bit rubbish.Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions Ltd

Don’t pose.

No really. Don’t.

When you pose, you do three things. You look silly, you break the immersion of the people around you and you break my immersion.

Ok so you probably understand you look a bit silly posing in the middle of a battlefield and you probably even get that you’re breaking the immersion of people around you (why would you do that to your fellow players? It’s as bad as swigging from a Strongbow can in the end stands of Odyssey… oh wait…) but you’re probably wondering how you break my immersion.

Photographers don’t have immersion at LRP, right? They have hulking white lenses, massive black digital cameras that light up, and ugly modern harnesses to carry their gear about, right? Wrong.

I get into the zone, as it were. For the period that I’m photographing during time in, I’m also living the game with you. I might not be playing the game (although actually, some of my friends now roleplay with me as if I was my character and just ignore the fact I have cameras) but I’m there in the story with you. I feel the highs and the lows and I feel the pain when well loved characters die (Jude – damn you, I nearly cried).

When I’m in the headspace I take photographs that I love. Look at the shot above – the heady mix of ceremony, the dusk, the acrid smoke and the bubbling noise of the rest of the camp – I like to think that I got all that across in the shot I took. You know what would have ruined my headspace and caused me to get out of my little photographer zone? The dude in the horns looking over at me and pulling a dramatic pose. I mean not only would it have looked shit, but it would have ruined my own immersion into the ritual and it would have knocked me off my stride.

On top of that, if you pose for me then I walk away. And I ask other photographers to do this same. It’s not a rule, but I’d like to try and culture this behaviour or ‘posing and expecting a photo to be taken’ out of Empire. It happens less to me now than it did at the start of Empire. And to be fair, occasionally I have to give kudos to some players who very creatively tell me that they want me to take their picture. In particularly the Orcs at I think the last event of 2013 made some comment about how convenient it was that they had their new kit on when reporters were about. Loud enough for me to hear but not too loud for other players to hear. Letting me know that you don’t mind me invading your roleplaying space while staying in character is ok, but if I choose not to accept the invitation just don’t get pissed or feel it’s anything personal. I probably noticed something that you didn’t, where my presence would actually be breaking someone else’s immersion. Or the shot just wouldn’t have looked good – and not taking the shot in the first place means that I have less post-processing to do afterwards and you can see the pictures that little bit quicker after an event.

Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions LtdIn summary:

  1. Be cool.
  2. Look cool.
  3. Roleplay.
  4. Don’t break the immersion of other players or me.

Empire 2014 E2 - Profound Decisions Ltd

If all else fails…

You can totally book me for a shoot. Here in Banbury. Cause I’m nice like that. 😉

  • Anon

    Way to give a group of people, many of whom are already insecure and have spent their formative years being bullied, even more reasons to feel crap about themselves.

    • Charlotte

      I’m generally not willing to engage with people who post anonymously (because I think it’s a bit cowardly not to stand behind your views) but I’d be wiling to have it pointed out where I am making someone feel crap about themselves.

      • Anon

        I don’t like giving out my details online is all. You’ve left at least one person I know in tears and quite a number of others, myself included, upset by this post. Everyone is welcome at LRP, not just those you deem good enough. Some people have no choice about wearing glasses / can’t afford the best kit. I am aware that you’re talking about photography specifically and I understand the points you’re attempting to make. But it’s not reenactment. It’s about the game first and foremost and PD directly or indirectly saying glasses wearers (as an example) are not welcome at their games is not fantastic PR.

        • Charlotte

          Unfortunately people will always read the things that they want to hear rather than the things that are actually said when on the internet.

          That wasn’t what I said at all, so please don’t twist my words. And I *do* photograph people with glasses. It’s just that the picture generally has to be of a higher overall standard in order to make the final cut for me personally. Other photographers may or may not feel the same.

          I am also a glasses wearer.

          • Anon

            If you’d read what I said I told you you’d upset people. The first thing most people would do in this instance is apologise. I’m going to stop here as there’s no point arguing – you are entitled to your opinion I just feel the need to defend people who’ve been made to feel crap.

          • Charlotte

            I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in apologising for something that I’ve not done. If someone chooses to take offence because they believe something that I didn’t say then honestly, that’s up to them. Wasn’t it Stephen Fry that said you have to choose to take offence at something?

            But anyway. I’m a reasonably controversial blogger, on virtually every post I apparently make people cry or upset them because of something that I apparently said (although, generally I didn’t say what they think I said). I’d never stop apologising if I apologised to everyone that I apparently upset with my blog (especially all the men who took offence when I wrote recently about inappropriate behaviour at LRP).

            I’m sorry your friends were bullied for wearing glasses when they were teenagers. But honestly, I just asked multiple glasses-wearing-and-lrping friends to check how they felt and none of them were offended or upset by what I said.

            Additionally, this blog is *not* representative of PD’s policies or views. I frequently express things that are at odds with *all* of my clients views here. In fact I specifically say on my ‘about me’ page that this blog is the view of me only, and NOT those of my clients. I am a huge proponent of freedom of speech and companies not allowing (or expecting) you to be their mouthpiece while on social media in your own personal time. I think that’s perfectly reasonable and that it’s a shame people expect employees/freelancers views to be tied to their employees/clients policies during their own free time.

    • Rachel

      Don’t be a victim. Charlotte is not trying to make you feel bad, don’t take it so personally! Some people are just not in the right place at the right time. Number 2 may not relate to anyone you know, or the rest tbh.

  • anon2

    Seriously, i agree with the other anon here.
    What you are doing is discrimination, you arent going to take a photo of someone because of how they look? Or because you dislike the kit they have? You’re also probably very unlikely to do pictures of those in minority’s arent you.

    • Charlotte

      Woah. Let’s not accuse me of being a racist because I said that modern day glasses and coke cans didn’t quite fit in a medieval fantasy setting.

    • Charlotte

      In addition you might want to read this blog post of mine where I talk about photographers potentially having a duty to the social contract of raising standards.

      Although I’m entirely sure that you will misinterpret something that I said. And possibly accuse me of being racist again.

      • steve

        These people are crazy. Charlotte, you made a great case. You have your obligations, and they are to the organisers and not the players, but you’re still trying to get good pics for the players too. All without spoiling anyone’s fun or immersion. Good on you.

        Some people will always twist other’s words for a bit of self-aggrandizement/ a cheap laugh arguing. Keep up the good work!

  • wayne bates

    I wear glasses and i did not take offence . This blog is a photogropher saying her opinion . She is not trying to upset people or discriminating . What is wrong with people . Who is crying because they might not get photographed. ? Really ? I was bullied and wear glasses and NOTHING in this blog is upsetting or remotely bullying and you people who post anon are the real bullies because you are attacking some one while hiding who you are . Typical internet bully trolls

    Wayne

  • Lyn

    I see the cowardly meatheads are out in force again. I’m surprised you weren’t accused of being sizeist and ageist as well. Still, there’s probably time yet.

    Me, I’ll never be in one of your pics because I live in our camp all the time cooking and feeding people beer and quite frankly, I’m a middle aged woman wearing homely kit that isn’t even bling by Wintermark standards. Am I bothered? No. If I pay a photographer to take pics of our events, I expect them to take shots of stuff that looks really really cool, the most IC and the highest standard kit, because it will represent our club online and I want people to think we’re great. You stick to your standards. Oh and PS as a former specs wearer (lasered now) who used to wear lenses for LARP but rarely otherwise, I agree – specs are jarring in what looks like a medieval setting, unless they are somehow tailored to look cool.

    • Charlotte

      I really, really, really must get round to the camps more. I think the problem is that whenever people gather in their camps – like for lunch after a battle – my stomach is also rumbling and I’m foraging for food myself!

      The other problem, which I’ve written about before, is that I feel very invasive in the camps. It’s sort of like peering in through someones lounge window with a camera.

      • Esther

        I’d love to see more camp photos and while i can’t comment on everyone I’ve rarely notice photographers, perhaps because I’m to busy actually roleplaying or feeding people or dealing with kids and so on 🙂

        I also wear glasses and totally understand your points, it will not stop me wearing my glasses as for me contact lens are a faff too far and well as a expense I can’t justify but I get why it makes it harder to get a good photo of me and accept that. I will also not stop wearing walking boots rather than more awesome IC footwear at most events as I need the ankle support and dry feet and at the end of the day it’s a game and comfortable is more important for me The rest of my costume I try to keep improving though.

        I have a much bigger problem than glasses about not being in photos which is I’m horrably none photogenic, if I judged myself by the photos taken of me I’d have a very bad image of myself !

      • Lyn

        Come over to Wintermark and ask for Sherard Hall, we’re usually on the main square opposite either the 3 Rings or the Artisans Arms taverns, we usually have hot food available for visitors around mealtimes and I will happily feed you a sandwich or snack food at other times. It’s IC too as we are an open hospitality hall and feed anyone who wanders in.

  • Daniel Neill

    I personally feel there is nothing wrong with this post. It basically says if you want cool professional photos then try to do these things to improve your chances. It doesn’t say if you are or do these other things then you will NEVER be photographed.

    I don’t get a chance for photo ops in cool kit very often as the majority of the time I am bumblebeeing about fixing stuff or blowing stuff up or making other people look/act cool. Knowing that when I do get to put some kit on that if I do x, y and z, will improve my chances of photos actually helps massively.

    Thank you.

    • Charlotte

      Makes note to photograph the refs more often.

      • Daniel Neill

        Let me get a night off, with some cool kit on, and I’ll come find you and then roleplay near you 🙂

        I’ve already got some cool pics of me reffing it up (my fb profile pic for example (still with the watermark to advertise your leet skillz)).

        Need to get my hands on some cool Empire kit now…

        • Charlotte

          I am going fabric shopping on Sunday for all the fabric in the world to make more kit. Fuck it, maybe I’ll just shrug off my jacket and come and roleplay with you. 😛

  • Jamie Hall

    Wow, that escalated fast!

    Charlotte, thankyou for the insight into the challenges of doing pro photography at a pro live roleplay event. Larp is less strict than reenactment, but still has to look good for marketing images.

    Anyway, you’ve never taken a photo of me, you monster 😉

  • Jamie Hall

    Also, I don’t fight, so the camps are my battlefield. Please intrude.

  • Nathanael Rouillard

    Other than your glasses thing, the main problem I have with the article is that it’s not actually helpful, because (misnomer aside, since it’s about *your* specific tastes rather than actually getting photographed at events) I’ve noticed that it’s a very certain aesthetic that gets a disproportionate amount of your focus, and the article in no way addresses how to achieve that look. I’m not sure it’s even a conscious bias.

    • Charlotte

      Well, yes. Your points are all true.

      However this is *my* blog. Not the blog of all photographers who shoot LRP. It is reasonable to assume that absolutely everything I write on my personal blog is written from my own point of view and no one else’s.

      • Nathanael Rouillard

        Yeah, but there’s no guidence on the aesthetic (which goes beyond the kit quality) which makes it read really weirdly, and unsurprisingly triggers hurt feelings from people who feel like they are meeting most, if not all your requirements, but who now feel like you’re saying their kit is not good enough for you to bother photographing.

  • Al MacLeod

    Thanks for this post, Charlotte. 🙂 You will probably never photograph me at Empire, because my kit is home made, I wear my glasses all the time, and I spend most of the event with the kids (and therefore not doing anything very epic).
    If I want a shot of “me and my group, kids, kit, etc” then I’ll ask a friend to take a surreptitious shot or two; this shouldn’t be discouraged because the memories of “us around camp” are very important to me.

    • Charlotte

      Home made kit is awesome. I love home made kit.

      Don’t equate ‘home made’ with being ‘bad’. I like to think that the kit I have made for myself has a finish that is at least as good as soft kit you can buy from ‘proper’ shots.

  • Neil Prior

    Glasses cause problems for photography. It’s not the fault of the people wearing them and we shouldn’t take it personally if a photographer prefers to take less shots of people wearing them. Mirror polished armour can also be a problem too. Charlotte is working to a brief of get shots that make the system look cool so I can understand avoiding shots that however cool they might look may end up getting deleted because of the problems described

  • A really interesting blog; thank you. It chimes with the reasons that I like shooting burlesque performances/ film stills- the people involved are utterly absorbed by what they are doing and are not in the least bit self conscious, therefore you get great pictures of them looking natural. In the same way, the pictures of weddings which people tend to comment on are the reportage type shots of people enjoying themselves.

    I also feel that as photography is creative, you are likely to take pictures of what fits the image/ feel that you want to create. That may not fit with other people’s image of it, or for that matter the pictures that another photographer would take.

    I always enjoy looking at your pictures. The couple you have taken of me have been when I was utterly unaware of your presence and therefore much better because of that! I like both of them (unusually; I’m normally much happier hiding behind the lens).

  • Bernard

    I think there is a crucial difference between what makes a good larper and what makes a good photograph that people are missing here.

    Professional photography is an art – what makes it so is the careful selection and ‘filtering’ of scenes by the photographer. Anyone can indiscriminately photograph everything, but IMO that is not what makes a good photograph – for that you need a connection and understanding between the photographer and the subject. It is natural for Charlotte to have particular tastes where her photos are concerned.

    Correct me if I’m wrong Charlotte, but I believe you are not trying to say anything at all about what makes good larp etc. In fact, many good larp moments can’t really be recorded very well in photographs, which tends to lend itself to fighting and other events with great visual impact (and this is also more readable and understandable to the viewer). As regards glasses and for instance lower standards of kits, I wonder (again correct me if I’m wrong) how far this is an issue simply because in photographs these things stand out more, as the other things which undoubtedly make these people excellent larpers are absent. For instance – I would probably not notice these things in play, but in a photograph your perspective is shifted somewhat.

    Anyway. In summary – absence of photography should not be taken as a personal slight. Not all things look good in photos!

    • Charlotte

      You are absolutely right on the money with your observations.

  • Stephen Lunn

    Great blog with some interesting points.

    I’ve got to agree with the ‘don’t pose’ point. I very stupidly posed for a shot and realised when I saw it I looked wrong somehow and I appeared to be leaning backwards. Obviously that one didn’t make the cut 🙂

    For 2 events I’ve been hoping to get caught on camera when in all my soft kit. I know it looks nice in the mirror, folks have commented on how good it looks, and a few pics have been taken at the events but on critical inspection the pictures have not been thought as good enough and that’s fine since it’s about the photographer showing their skill at it’s best. I am still hopeful though as it would be nice to see the kit I made in context with the game. I do get caught on the battles a lot though, which is cool, but for me personally I don’t think i’m at my best 🙂

    The role of the photographer is a hard one and the pictures they take will be to personal tastes. I know a very good photographer who does re-enactment photography and he takes over 2000 pictures per event (on a small event, 5000+ for big ones) and maybe 50 make it past his critical eye. In 20 years I haven’t made it to his portfolio even though he’s admitted to taking over 1000 pictures of me – or maybe i’m just not photogenic lol

    • Charlotte

      It’s really hard. Mostly I ditch photographs because of things like, being out of focus or the shutter speed was too slow or I just flat out fucked up the composition. That probably accounts for about 80% of the photos I ditch. The rest are for things like stupid expressions (yeah, we ALL pull them) and in the minority – jarring kit.

  • Tony P

    Leaving aside the Hilarious Larper Wingeing, I had a comment:

    I’ve noticed in your published photo sets that you tend to have multiple shots of the same person, same scene. These tend to be really good shots, but I’ve also noticed that the target is nearly never me. I’m left wondering if one less photo of them might mean I have more chance to have my glorious face recorded for posterity.

    How important do you consider it to try and get a shot of each person, even if it comes at the expense of overall quality? (bearing in mind the difficulty of remembering all 800 people you’ve photographed so far)

    • Charlotte

      I categorically don’t make any attempt to photograph every single person. Not least of which because I would be absolutely exhausted after running up and down the lines that much on the battlefield. Quite frankly, I’m not that fit.

      I don’t have a set number of photographs that I will produce. If I was only happy with 50 photographs from an event, then I would only put 50 photographs on Facebook. Over a three day event it usually averages out at about 250-300 that I’m nominally happy with. On my own website I might only use two or three photographs from an event – they’re the ones I truly love.

  • L.C.

    I think the post is helpful in explaining what Charlotte is looking for in a subject. I think whit it points out is fairly obvious. Any amazing picture you see online of a larp follows similar guides. A photographer is an artist. They make *Their* art, not yours.

    I am a photographer, a larper, and a part time plus size alternative model. I have been on both sides of the camera. And know what it’s like to have a set of photos turn out useless.
    I have been full time unemployed for 3 years , thus make my own kit. (with varying degrees of success)
    I *sometimes* wear glasses, but usually contacts during larp. However we all know the pain of sore eyes during hay fever season.
    I spend a lot of time in camp as I enjoy the immersion of rp with friends.

    As a photographer I agree 100% with Charlotte. A photographer wants the best pictures, with best composition. I have been photographed by her a few times, and each time I had no idea she was there. I don’t know her personally, we have never met.
    I have a feeling Larp photos are a bit like pot luck.
    You can’t expect a photographer to be lurking behind every tent you walk past.

    The idea that she was being a meanie pants who is mean b/c she wants to be, is at best childish. At worse it reeks of underlying depression, an illness that I have suffered from for years. When a sideways look on a bus makes you break down, it isn’t about the look. It’s something deeper, and that is what this sounds like to me. I would advise the people who have been so deeply effected by this post to talk to someone.
    This isn’t about a fb album where you share every blurry picture taken on a drunk weekend. This is her art form, and an artists portfolio of work is made up of the best. She clearly isn’t speaking for PD who has always made it quite clear that everyone is welcome to play their games.

    I don’t know one larper who doesn’t have some sort of social anxiety, or issue in their past of bullying. We use this hobby for rehabilitation and escapism as much as we use it for fun. As a female gamer, and plus size woman I deal with bullying daily. But I don’t for once think that b/c someone wants a decent picture they are bullying or alienating me. Ridiculous.

    • Charlotte

      I don’t know who you are! You should introduce yourself at the next Empire and we can geek out!

  • Paul

    As a very ametur photographer I find inspiration in the works of other shutterbugs and in terms of LRP photography then Charlotte you are one of the best on the field, furthermore it’s posts like this and you previous regarding the ‘contract’ of photographing LRP that have helped me rethink how and what I take. So thank you.

    As a separate note, I’ve found the Marchers don’t seem to mind camp photography as long as you not firing flash after dark or stood ‘in their face’ with a lens. I suspect the other camps are similar.

  • Gavin

    I honestly don’t get your immersion as a photographer. However I am not one and that’s fine. I tend to shun lenses, because A, I am actually shy about being in pictures. B, people pointing things at me (that I do not know) gets me nervous.

    To get a picture of me in the first place is a miracle. To get one that I like is also a miracle. I could post up a list of things to get me in your pictures but feel that would be a tad egotistical.

    While I do understand this is your blog and you can be as brash and dry in your sense of humour as you like, I’d point out it’s text without context. Raging about people reading things is their problem is perhaps not a diplomatic way forward. I do not read often people’s blogs and feel even less like posting on them. however I have felt the need to post on yours. I do not know why but you seem to have courted a dislike towards you and the text without context and tone used seems to be firing that up.

    I just liek pictures myself and take quite a lot. I can see you wish to remain a professional and have your best work only shown.. but perhaps it is possible to put out in facebook land (perhaps a fake account or something) all of the images that are clear but don’t make your grade. While I can understand you are looking for that image that shows a bit of magic, so you have your likes a “fit” as it were to the hole that is a picture. Perhaps showing people having fun at a game and allowing folks to be happy they have an image of them there.

    I don’t know I could be very very wrong. However it’s something that players have enjoyed when I have run games and taken images on the sly.

    • Charlotte

      I pretty much put out every ‘clear’ photograph that I take at events on Facebook.

      I then pick a small handful for my own portfolio. 🙂

    • PodVon

      Charlotte just tells it how it is and that will always court dislike from those who camp out on the wrong side of reason; her previously mentioned ‘inappropriate behaviour at LRP’ post is a classic. It wasn’t that she said reading her blog was their problem but that what they claimed to have ‘read’ wasn’t what she had written. Them then demanding she apologise was just pathetic.

      There are always plenty of amateur photos on-line after events for those who just want to be able to point and say “Hey look, that blur is my back/left foot!” or whatever. I have plenty of those of myself at various larps and some actual pretty good time-out photos of my chari. If I ever appear in a pro photo I will be ecstatic precisely because I feel no inherent ‘entitlement’ to be there.

  • Mick

    I really like your post here, I stopped Larping years ago and I live vicariously through photographs of friends who still attand events, and your photos tend to pop up a lot (hence checking the blog every so often) your style is great and really captures something about those people lucky enough to be in them, the standards you set yourself are obviously part of that and it helps me to see how you select them. On the glasses note- I spent most of my early Larp career as a rancid tusk, but only have one photo of myself as that character, it was on a day I woke up with eyes full of green snazz and thought ‘sod the contacts…’ one photo- no mask and flashy lenses… typical really…;)

  • Charley D

    Thanks for a really interesting article. It’s weird for me in that I’m a player who (for one current character) actually wears glasses IC whilst not being a glasses wearer OOC. They’re an old World War 1 pewter wire-framed set I got for a couple of quid at a tat shop. I smashed the glass out as a) I couldn’t see with it in as they’re a really strong prescription; b) Safety – they won’t have been modern safety glass, so not a good thing to be wearing in combat and c) To avoid the glare from the lenses, which must be hell on a camera shot, judging by how much it caused me to squint in the glare so, as someone who can’t take a decent photograph if my life depended on it, I can see why this would be such an issue.

    Maybe those who really find glasses an issue with costuming but can’t wear contacts for whatever reason could do what I did in reverse? Find a cheap set of vintage frames that suit the setting of the game, then ask a local optician if they would be able to add some modern safety-glass lenses to the wearer’s prescription? Whilst this doesn’t do away with the glare issue, it might make a big difference to how a costume looks and, as the frames are the most expensive element of glasses, might not cost that much to do?

    A quick warning on this, though: My frames are pewter, and burn my skin at contact points when they get hot – I think it’s a reaction to the lead in the metal. I got round this by painting clear nail polish on the bridge of the nose and the bits that wrap around the back of your ears, as the antique frames don’t have the modern-type ‘arms’ or the little plastic bits that sit the frames on your nose – they’re just bare metal.

    Despite not being a PD player, I do love looking at your work – the candid shots are really outstanding and really give a setting ‘life’. I think it’s unfortunate that people feel the need to be rude and abusive, especially from a position of anonimity, but I’m quite impressed by how quickly it degenerated to accusations of (quite bafflingly) racism – it’s like a new edition of Godwin’s Law!

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