Thursday, 23 October 2014

Photography at (My) events

I take photographs. There weren’t many so photos taken of events when I started playing and I turned up with my first waterproof digital camera and took a lot, mostly portraits, from a CP event in 2004. People liked them and I got a bit of a kick out of watching people using them as avatars and looking at them. They were hosted on an old pc in my parents dining room for a while and when I returned from an event we would eat to the noise of it whirring away as people looked at the photos I had taken. Now there are a lot more people competing to take photos and mine weren’t professional quality and I got distracted doing other things, so while I often bring a camera I rarely actually use it.

There aren’t many photos of our events. We got a few of Alone 2, but I don’t think I’ve seen any of Alone 4, and there’s very few of Alone 1 and 3 around. THere were 3-4 of Dark Hearts. There are more of the old Mandala/CP events when either Iain or I turned up with a camera. 

Jhereg spring event 2005

Then there’s Zap fest. There’re lots of photos of zapfest.  They’re lots of very good photos as well, and the players are using them to produce the follow up material from the event.

The photographers were a fundamental part of the game. They were the press, the studio photographers and the photographers from the awards people. They were the camera men. As such we gave them free reign. With Alone and Dark Hearts we stuck to WYSYWYG (What you see is what you get). We fundamentally believed that ooc photographers would damage the game, and it’s hard to get good photos ic. Also, we were using light effects all the way through and there could be no flash without damaging that.

Most of the photos that do exist from the Alone games are from outside. The problem here is the players were only outside wearing masks and helmets with coloured gels etc. We couldn’t change the entire world outside so we changed the way the players  looked at it. This only works so far, and tbh the site just looks like a scout site.

The game always comes before photography. Especially when we only have space for 12 crew and we need the crew to be being aliens for most of the day. We sometimes have queues for beds and have been known to ration our crew to 4 hours sleep each night.
A bunk for a photographer limits the number of crew we can have.

I will acknowledge that the event with photography has caused a far greater stir in its immediate aftermath than any of the Alone events. Without good quality photos Alone never went as far as the photos of ZapFest appear to have. People talked about Alone and people still hear about it and wish they had been part of it, but it was less fed by images they had seen and more by what they had heard, and I actually prefer that. An image is vastly less representative of an event than the conversation of the players, and the only true measure is having been there.

I would like there to be a photographer at Jurassic LRP, some photos would be nice. However, they’ll need to talk to us first and they’ll probably have to be aware that enthusiastic dinosaurs might eat their kit.


NB. (I was only crew for Alone 1, and pretty rubbish crew at that. My major contribution was passing out in the middle of take down. Alone 2 and 3 were good, but they weren’t groundbreaking. I feel Alone 4 was the first of the ones I was more directly involved in to be significantly special).