Paying to shoot Cosplays. Right or Wrong?
Personally, I'm not taking any sides. Though I do feel a little sorry to the 2 cosplayers involved for getting so much slat over this. But at the same time, I don't feel like I should offer any encouragement to them because , well, its a decision they made. They ought to have foreseen the consequences and be prepared to face it bravely.
Now to the big question, what do I feel about this? Honestly speaking , its definitely not something I admire. But at the same time, I can't find any reasons to disapprove it.
I think most cosplayer who are against it don't like it because of the negative image it is imposing on our beloved hobby. And many feel that it's wrong to make money out of this hobby because it taints the purity of one's passion for the hobby.
Well, this is not a new fight. Once again, there are those who fight to protect their vision of cosplay and others who act on their beliefs of cosplay (which happen to be different from the first bunch). In no way am I implying that they are wrong. I think it just means they have a very strong passion for cosplay and would like to preserve the hobby in its most primitive form.
Everyone has the rights to their opinion, right?.
I'll push the moral card to the end of this entry and focus on factual talk first. Here’s the usual disclaimer, I am in no way slamming any parties or any opinions but just sharing my views on some areas we might have overlooked.
1.Urgh so commercialised!
Many think it is wrong for a cosplayer to charge photographers to take photographs of them. In another word, they think it's wrong to get paid for taking photos in cosplay costumes. If that's the case then I'm guilty as charged. For I too got paid to cosplay for the CosPa booth. And of course, the job includes letting people take pictures of me in the costume.
And I know I’m not alone. Many other cosplayers in the community have been offered various part time jobs related to Cosplays too.
Like the example someone illustrated, if a make up artist who loves to make up charges others to do their make up for them. Is it wrong too?
I seem to observed that 'Cosplay' is the only hobby that reacts so vehemently towards commercialization. It's almost like saying a boy who is obsessed with soccer should never aspire to become a full time soccer player. Because if a hobby becomes a job it taints your passion for it and gives the mass public a wrong image.
Which randomly brings me to this point. Somehow those in this community tend to segregate those who are NOT. Kinda like harry potter and the muggles world, get what I mean? I don't know if its an intentional intent or a subconscious action. But we tend to not want to let people outside know more about us. . . me included. *shrug* Well, this is just my loose observation with no statistics backing so . . . . take it with a pinch of salt.
Anyway, back to the issue. Do I feel its ok?
Well, I don't think its a ”Hey cool, let's do it okay?” sort of okay but rather a “Hey, we can't stop the big flow okay?“ sort of okay.
And why do I say so?
Because for ANY sort of activity to gain popularity and be longstanding in our current times. Commercial backing IS NECESSARY. Do you think our local circle would have expanded this much if we had stuck to just “ For fans by fans” ?
As much as I missed the old days where the community was so small everyone knew each other by name. We have to face the fact that no, staying fan-based wouldn't see the magnitude it is now. Which means no May'n , no ShokoTan, no Ichiro, no Yui Makino and definitely no Kaname.
I can still remember those days where all the anime fans in Singapore felt so despondent and hopeless about ever meeting their favourite Seiyuu or becoming a Mangaka. Now the opportunities suddenly seemed endless and we are given a chance to participate.
Also, if a Photographer were to earn money by shooting photographs of Cosplayers, would we or other photographers penalize them as much? Apparently that is the case here, from what one of the Cosplayer commented, it seems like this photo shoot was organised by a photographer with an entrepreneur’s brainwork. And the cosplayers were engaged as a ‘model’ for a photo shoot with the ‘Cosplay’ theme.
Having individuals earn from this hobby is nothing new. Before we go all high and mighty about letting this hobby stay ‘un-commercialized’ look at those around us who are selling all sorts of Cosplay costumes, apparels, merchandises, beauty products and services. Even you or I might have benefitted in a way or two by selling our old costumes or wigs.
If we went back to how Cosplay was like in the old days. We wouldn’t have access to cheap china costumes, we wouldn’t have as much costume making tailors, we wouldn’t have access to cheap wigs that we can style and throw. Not to mention no access to cheap and gorgeous Geo contact lenses everyone loves.
Such incidents are by-products of this evolution, just some individuals banking in on the novelty. If we want the rainbows, we have to bear with the rain. It’s a changing of times and if you can keep up, you can get a share of the pie. Get what I mean?
So let us ask ourselves again, Is commercialization really bad?
2.Who are they to charge?
Then, there are those who knit their brows not over the '’shooting fee’ but over the fact that the quality of the cosplayers don’t measure up to their standards and are not qualified to expect payment.
Now, this is one debating point I find most interesting and crudely humane xD One of the most honest opinion imho. I can’t be bothered to comment more on this point so I’ll leave the judging to you guys but my stand is simple.
I am but a nobody, I don’t like being judged (even though there’s no escaping it) so I don’t judge others either.
3.It’s unfair to the Photographers!
Is it really?
Well I guess it would be, if the Photo shoot was held at a Cosplay Event like Cosfest, Eoy or AFA. But it seems like it will be a normal private Photoshoot held at some secluded place. Meaning to say, the photographers will get the 2 cosplayers all to themselves.
So, instead of looking upon this as payment for Cosplaying. Why don’t we look upon it as a payment for the 2 cosplayer’s time and effort?
Back to the unfair point. Well, if a photographer has tonnes of connections with Cosplayers and get invited to a Cosplay Photoshoot every other week, then of course he or she won’t want to fork out money for this. But we’re now talking about a bunch of photographers who probably has only shot still life, models and cosplayers at events and are looking forward to something different. In another words, they are paying for the novelty experience and dedicated time of the cosplayers.
Paying isn’t totally bad either. Because now the photographers own every rights to the picture =) So no complains from random cosplayer on the alley about rude photographers posting un-glam pictures of them online and the Photographers can use the photos on their portfolio as they wish xD
4.It brings a negative image to cosplay
Yeah it probably does. But only to the Cosplay Community members. Those outside don’t give a damn and have no basis for judgment.
Why do I say “no basis for judgment” ? Because those who have no prior experience or knowledge of the hobby won’t be able to judge or critic it, get what I mean? To them, it just meant, if you want dedicated photoshoot/time with those people in fancy costumes(Cosplayers), you need to pay. They are spoon fed this idea and won’t make as much noise as we presumed they would.
The only ones complaining are those within this community because we know more about the hobby. And I can’t blame them either as my butt is also on the fence for this point. We’ve all become so attached to this highly ‘specialised’ hobby and its hard not to let our feelings interfere.
Smoking and snot digging = bad image for cosplay
I can’t believe I wasted so much time on this entry! Totally got carried away *palms forehead*. I’m getting tired of this entry so I’m going to go ahead and conclude myself.
I think it’s pretty unfortunate for the cosplayers involved but no tissue paper from me because well, like what I’ve mentioned above. Its a decision they made themselves so they have to face the consequences themselves too.
Even though getting paid to Cosplay is not a capitol crime but the format of it wasn’t tactful enough and angered many.
One thing though, thumbs up from me to the Cosplayers involved for continuing with the project despite all this shit. They might have moved a morally arguable step but at least they kept their promise to the photographer. It’s so much easier to back down and retract their words but they didn’t =)