Cosplay Photographer Reality Check

April 19, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

It's my first blog post! I know, you're totally stoked, right? Frankly, this is quite fearful for me. I mean, I know many of you have seen my "stream-of-consciousness-conversations," but a good chunk of you think of me as some sort of consummate professional. Ha! I have you fooled! Writing is where I get really real. Writing is where things tend to come out that I wouldn't normally let out. Writing, like many art forms, allows me to get deep within myself. And that's the part that scares me.

I allow people a peek in the window. Aside from a very, very, select few, foremost of whom is my wife, I don't ask people to pull up a chair within my soul and stay awhile. There's reasons for that, sure. It's also not healthy, I know. But, it's me. So...when you're done reading all this, PLEASE STILL LOVE ME AND SHOOT WITH ME! (Hahahaha...ha...ha...heh?)

Anyway, subject today is just going to be an update and, well, maybe an introduction of sorts. This past week has been an absolute struggle for me. Without super long details, for which I'm (in)famous, I was looking at possibly paying for a new roof, a crapton of money dropped to deal with the new termite problem discovered (YAY!), and...I thought I had lost ALL of my Saturday shoots from C2E2.

Oh, yeah, let's start with that last one first, right? I have a process of where I put my memory cards when I'm shooting on site. No sweat. It's so automatic, I don't even think about it, just pop one out, full one goes into the watch pocket in my jeans where it's securely held. I do not have a process, per se, what happens when I get home. Reality is, I was utterly exhausted when I got home Sunday night. Ex. Haust. ED. I unloaded things, dumped pockets, and tossed things in my beeline for my bed and my beloved's arms. (Don't think that way! I just needed a hug and a snuggle...dirty birds.) Anyway, wrapped up the LexCon photos, and set about my workflow for C2E2. Card #1 goes in the slot, dump, card #1 comes out. Card #2 in, dump, out. Done! Yay! Sort through, looking at LightRoom, and...wait. There's only 700 shots here. Something...is...amiss. Oh no. Oh NO. OH NO OHNONONONONONOOOOOHHHHHNOOOOO!! I frantically started throwing papers and the like around. I searched the van, pulled up seats, emptied everything from my Husky Box, reorganized my Husky Box, pulled out the pockets on jeans I didn't even take to Chicago with me! I was panicking. 

So look, the reality for me isn't the refunds I was looking at needing to give back. I was crushed by the failure on my part. Failure and I have a long, long relationship of strife. I fear Failure. Yet, the fear of Failure is not (usually) so strong that it cripples me from moving forward, though it has had it's wins in my life. There have been times where I stood my ground, afraid of what lay on the "other side" of chance. But if it were that strong, I'd have never picked up my camera. I'd have never taken classes to learn to use it. I'd have never pushed into cosplay photography. 

But I am forever haunted by the specter of  failing someone else. My drive to be better (some might say a drive to be perfect, but who knows) stem from a desire to succeed for someone else. I hate, hate, hate letting someone else down, or feeling like I'm letting someone else down. It crushes my spirit. It forces me and drives me to do better the next time. It compels me in such a way, I can't really describe. And to stare at that blank space where I imagined this memory card should have been, I saw all the upset faces of you, my clients, and in some cases, my friends, and I folded. I very nearly quit it all. No, it's not hyperbole. The thought that I could screw up something so fantastically as to lose more than 1/2 my work for the weekend was utterly debilitating. A weight lodged itself in my stomach and refused to move. This hit all at the same time as the roof and the aforementioned termite issue. I saw what little emergency savings I had rebuilt from the last emergency flitting away. But the harbinger of disappointing so many people...ugh.

I prayed. I prayed hard. And yes, it seems like such a silly thing to pray for. But my faith is a huge part of my life. I get that not all of you believe the same as I do, some of you believe completely antithetical to my beliefs, but this is me. Bare and open. I'm a Catholic Christian. And when our backs are to the wall, we pray. I strive to pray when things are going great too. But you'd better believe I double down when the chips are down. Anyway, I'm not saying what happened is miraculous. Miracles require no reasonable explanation. But I firmly believe the Holy Spirit kept my soul calm, and kept me from making very rash decisions in the depths of despair and depression. I formulated a plan to address the missing photos in a calm and professional manner. And then I slept.

The next day, I told Karen, my lovely bride my plan. I said I would check two more places I had already checked somewhat thoroughly, one last time, and if not there, I'd contact my clients with missing images, and offer recompense and a solution going forward. Piece by piece I straightened up my desk papers. And then, a glint of gold. A GLINT OF GOLD! Oh...oh...OH!!! I held this small, inch by inch and a half plastic and metal treasure trove aloft. Somewhere in the distance a choir of Methodists burst into Handel's "Messiah!" Sun streamed in from the heavens! I had found the missing memory card! 

And today I find out the roof is a simple repair, costing less than $1000. /whew! Termites? Well, those lil buggers are going to cost me a pretty penny to deal with. But hey, as Meatloaf taught me growing up, "Two outta Three Ain't Bad!"

Long story short, I'm not quitting. I am putting a process in place for memory cards for when I get home to avoid all this stuff in the future. And please, understand what drives me. And how much your satisfaction and excitement with your images means to me.

Have a good one, fam. Next blog is about another new and exciting change for MPHP!



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