Anime Los Angeles 2010 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
February 2, 2010 by Nergene Arquelada
Last month, I attended Anime Los Angeles 6, which was held at the LAX Marriott. It was the second consecutive year that this convention has been held at this location. I’ve attended all six editions of this convention. It’s quite impressive that this convention has grown from about 600 attendees in it’s first year to this year’s total of slightly over 3,2oo attendees. This event is no longer simply a convention attended by Southern California residents. People come from all over the US and a few foreign countries to attend this convention. Honestly, I think a lot of its success has to do with the nonstop efforts of its staff to promote the convention. They attend many events to get the word out about their convention. They also try hard to improve the convention every year and are very open to suggestions from its attendees. If there’s a problem, it gets addressed and it usually gets fixed. Fans take notice of that and decide that this is an event worth going to.
For me, I’ve seen so many changes at this convention. It used to be a pretty laid back convention for me. It was mostly a convention for relaxing and socializing. This year, with the larger attendance and a lot of friends coming in from out of town to get here, this convention has become really crowded and hectic. A lot of people seem to be really busy. Honestly, it’s not as relaxing as it used to be. I still try to get to the cosplay photography aspect of things. People expect that of me, so I do it. However, anybody that knows me and knows what my style of working is knows that I hate cramped quarters and conventions that are “zoos”. If it’s too crowded, I get very unmotivated and that’s one reason why I tend to avoid conventions like Comic Con International and Anime Expo. Anime Los Angeles is rapidly becoming one of those “zoos” that I really don’t like. People were taking photographs everywhere including the parking garage, neighboring buildings, the small green spaces in front of the hotel. Cosplay photography at conventions has become a big rat race and honestly, it isn’t very fun anymore.
Since I felt that I needed to do some photography to justify spending three days at this convention, I was really thankful that they have a photo studio that’s open for all attendees to use. Anime Los Angeles is the only convention that I go to that has this kind of facility. I’ve never been too much of a fan of indoor cosplay photography, particularly at conventions were it becomes a really big hassle. Indoor photography usually involves blocking a hallway which is a huge inconvenience for people who just want to pass through. So I made the choice to simply spend most of my time in the photo studio, tell a few friends, and see who shows up. It felt a little awkward especially since I’m used to using things like trees, rocks, stairs, and whatever else I can find when I’m doing my cosplay photography out and about. In this studio, I basically had nothing except a backdrop and a few lights. On occasion, I’d throw a chair into the studio, but that was pretty much all that I had. I learned quite a few things about how to get some good results and I actually enjoyed shooting in the studio all weekend. Honestly, my flash was probably the most rarely used piece of photography equipment that I had. I used it mainly for interviews news articles, but not for a whole lot of other things. I liked studio shooting so much that in the weeks after the convention, I bought two more flashes and a lot of other lighting accessories–light stands, umbrellas, snoots, filters, straw grids, etc. It’s something new to learn and I’m ready for the challenge.
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