The summer season is here: watch out for harassing photographers at conventions!

The beginning of summer has brought with it considerable weather uncertainty and the prospect of the next comic book fairs to be held on Italian soil: Riminicomix in July, followed by the Festa dell'Unicorno in Vinci and Sigurtà in Cosplay during the first days of September - not to mention all the less famous events that will take place during this period. Accompanying the plans for these events, however, concerns often arise regarding the safety of participants.

In order to be able to illustrate this properly, it is necessary to first provide a kind of explanatory preface. Anyone who has ever set foot in a comic book fair will have had occasion to notice the different types of visitors present: cosplayers, photographers, stallholders and the merely interested - the environment lends itself perfectly to the coming together of people from different walks of life, who nevertheless share a passion for certain specific topics. It is not unusual, therefore, to come across families taking their children for a ride, young cosplayers gathering with the intention of making friends, enthusiasts picking up their cameras and going to the fair to shoot anyone representing their favourite characters. Generally, the convention environment is considered safe, potential threats are limited and the locations where events are held are always overseen by the police.

Nevertheless, it is not possible to know or predict the intentions of every single visitor, especially within large-scale events. Which means that, unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have unpleasant experiences caused by malicious individuals whose only interest is their own - disrespect seems to be their bread and butter. This kind of behaviour can be seen more and more often recently in some individuals presenting themselves as 'photographers'. Certain self-proclaimed photography professionals have started to intrude on private sets in place during trade fairs - thus bypassing both photographer (whether paid or not) and model at a time that requires commitment and effort from both. They pass themselves off as experts in the field, an image often supported by backpacks full of apparently high-calibre equipment, and then wander around the fair alone, looking for cosplayers already busy shooting with others. It often happens, nowadays, that either the model or the photographer has to interrupt the shoot to address the intruder directly, reminding him or her that it is necessary to have the consent of all participants before being allowed to shoot. 

Interrupting other people's photo shoots is not a particularly wise idea, but if one acts knowledgeably there is a chance of getting some kind of cordial response - shooting at the same time as the photographer present, invading someone else's field of work, on the other hand, is a declaration of war. In order to fully understand both positions, it is necessary to have been behind the camera at least once, and in front of it once, possibly in cosplay. It is no coincidence, in fact, that many young cosplayers nowadays are trying their hand at the art of photography - to get around the unpleasant situations that often occur at fairs.

Giving these individuals the benefit of the doubt, one might think they behave this way out of shyness or social anxiety, and far be it from us to judge anyone for such a reason. This does not detract, however, from the fact that their behaviour is not justifiable - if you want to shoot at a con, the least you can do is to follow common sense: always ask those involved if it is possible to shoot, do not interrupt other people already in the creative process, and avoid behaving like a pervert. Cosplay events are not an opportunity to illegally steal uncovered shots from unsuspecting cosplayers.

But why are we talking about this subject now? Because the summer season is this kind of people's favourite time. The event most plagued by this herd of self-proclaimed photographers is, unfortunately, the Rimini Comics in July. It seems to be the event of choice when it comes to this situation: the cosplayers present often wear uncovered and skimpy outfits, the atmosphere at the event is very happy and lively, so people are likely to pay less attention to their surroundings. As mentioned earlier, they are often driven by less than noble intentions and find the perfect hunting ground in Rimini Comics. It happens more and more often, unfortunately, that we learn of unpleasant experiences by those present, some of which would merit a full-fledged denunciation. It is no longer possible to shoot among friends (or in private sets with professionals) that, punctually, these individuals turn up and take advantage of the situation to make a profit, or to commit disgusting acts.

There is no way to eradicate the problem at the root, unfortunately, which means that it is up to cosplayers to find ways to protect themselves in the face of these unpleasant situations. The golden rule is to never be alone, being in a group makes it much easier - the more eyes there are, the more likely you are to realise the situation before it escalates. Being a con held next to the beach, it is normal to wear cosplay more like swimming costumes than actual clothes: if you have a way to wear a protective layer underneath, do so, be it shorts, tops, or whatever makes you feel safer. The event is usually supervised by law enforcement and rescue personnel, so in case you feel uncomfortable, it is always wise to approach the authorities and possibly call for help. In the unfortunate possibility that something really does happen, remember that phones are your best friend: take pictures of whoever is bothering you so that you have a visual record of what happened.

Conventions are a time for leisure and fun, an opportunity to experience new things and create memories that will stay with you for life: you have the right to relax and enjoy the event without living in anxiety about any unpleasant situations.


We thank you for reading and hope you found this glimpse into the environment useful. We will be present at Riminicomics and the Festa dell'Unicorno in Vinci, in case you have any questions for the Rights Chain team!
Good luck for the upcoming conventions!



About the Author



Columnist, (He/Them)

Content Creator for cosplay, gaming and animation. With a degree in foreign languages and a great passion for Oriental culture, he writes about copyright to protect the work of artists and young minds. A cosplayer since 2015, Yako is an advocate of gender identity and the development of one's creativity through personal attitudes: be it role-playing, cosplay or writing.