Ring*Con rocks & something I have been wanting to say for years
Due to loading times only a few of the total 340 photographs I took at the Ring*Con 2004 are shown below. Chose from the sub galleries below to see more photographs. Clicking on any of the shown thumbs gets you to the respective subgallery.
Bonn (Germany), October 29th - 31st, 2004
Eve and the Breeze
I had quite a chaotic start at this year's Ring*Con. I forgot to pack the memory cards for my camera and thus had to drive back home to get them. So I missed almost all that was going on on Friday afternoon. I caught the last minutes of Paul Norell's panel and could have kicked myself for my stupidity. Another problem was to find the right location to get half-way decent pictures. The press was on the balcony, which is very good for overviewing anything and everything but very bad for photography unless you have a tele zoom lense that is bigger than my 35-350. Thus I decided to move down and use my three-day-ticket instead, which brought me to the row no 12. Not very close but also not that far away.
It was my third time at Ring*Con and although there were a lot more people than the previous years I had a feeling that a lot of things went a lot smoother organisation-wise. I don't know if the guest stars see it like that as well. After writing autographs for several hours (they got to 1,000 on the first day alone - massive improvement compared to last year), Billy Boyd, Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson had to run up to the photo-sessions where huge queues had been forming for quite a while. The sessions themselves went fairly quickly but it must be an exhausting process for the actors, who afterwards had directly panels, auctions or other stuff going on again. Nonetheless they all kept their friendliness and had a nice word for every single fan. A highlight was those wonderful costumes and organised processions. There are very talented fans out there doing their own costume over months, edit their own videos, do artwork. Glendalough's performance of "Into the West" at the Closing Ceremony had me almost in tears - hey Aquarians are entitled to live close to the waters. ;-)
What I don't get is that fans cannot accept a no flashlight order. I'm a photographer myself and the constant flashing is not only annoying but it is also not very good for the eyes, especially when shot directly in front of a person. So here comes the tip of the day, if you cannot switch your flash off, point it towards the ceiling or turn it by 90 degrees, either don't take a picture when such an order is out or bring a white postcard, hold it diagonally pointing upwards to the ceiling directly in front of the flash, ask if you can take a picture like this and if yes you'd have enough light for a decent picture without blinding people, also no more red eyes. ;-)
All of the panels, at least the ones I managed (kicking myself again) to attend were a lot of fun, many laughs, thankfully not too many embarrassing questions. Thank you to all who were brave enough to go up on that stage to give us a great time. You are such a friendly bunch one might come up with the idea to adopt you into your own family. I for sure had a real fun weekend and already registered for the next year.
I often read the articles following such an event or see the reports on television always featuring with big emphasis the mass consumer market and how horrible this all is including those "freaks" in costumes. They show in length the dealer's room and have a split second a fan and then they edit it that way the fan comes across really freakish (A German TV station did something like this last year. Bothering an entire day a group of fans, splitting them up - the ones without costumes weren't wished in the picture. It went even that far that scenes were filmed according to their script - Hello?? In what kind of media world do we live here? Is it all lies? Makes one wonder in what other areas this kind of stuff happens aside of the showbiz. Update: that very same television station aired a 30 second report on "Women seeking Hero" about this year's Ring*Con. Not only the one costume they said were 3,000 Euros was wrong but also the impression they gave of Ring*Con being a single-seeks-single event. By the way that costume was below 300 Euros.).
Well, without the dealers and sponsors such an event is impossible to finance so much for that. Then, there are actually fans who like to buy this kind of stuff and I did even meet fans in the US who go to such type of con because they don't get the memorabilia in other places. So, what's wrong with buying a really good book or a poster or even a key chain? Nobody is forced to buy anything at such events.
Fans in costumes are not a new phenomenon and they are not freakish at all. You can indeed talk to them quite normally. It's a way to escape the daily routine once in a while (people in the German carnival areas do this every year, don't they.). It's also no less than any football, ice hockey, Formula One or other sports fan gearing up for a match/race in their favourite team's colours - this doesn't make them all hooligans. I often have the feeling that the media is especially looking for that real one freak, ignoring the 1,200 normal fans around. Sorry but that's no reporting in my point of view - this is judging something that is not understood and mostly delivering a wrong picture to the rest of the world. In case you may wonder, no I don't wear costumes but that's me. My own skin is the one I feel most comfortable with but it doesn't hinder me to admire those beautiful costumes others wear without judging their motives.
Sure, there are "freaks" out there but you cannot define that by outer looks. Those "freaks" stalk other people, especially the stars of their affection, not realising they suffocate their so "beloved" one. It's about possession and being selfish up to the point where "nobody else can have what I cannot" thing going on. Those people are sick people that need actually help because they don't seem to be able to find their own identity. Those are the real "freaks" here and you cannot tell whether a person is like that or not because of a costume.
Lately I also have a problem with the oh so popular "But it's my right" or "but that girl over there did it, too". Everyone claims the rights but what's with the obligations? People deserve to be treated with dignity! Anything else is unethical.
Having got that off my chest we come now to more pleasant things. I hope the small selection of pics I could take will bring a smile to your face. Some of them are not so clear or have whitish parts in it. That's because I was in row No 12 trying to take many pictures without the flash and especially at Billy's panels I had 11 rows of moving heads in front of me, meaning those brighter parts is the hair from the front row. Unfortunately it was not in my genes to come to an appropriate overtowering height - more to the contrary. ;-)
Here are some links you may want to check out:
Official Billy Boyd Facebook Page | Schelmish | Glendalough | Battlelore | Kriegerherzen
Lord of the Rings Concert
Ocean's Twelve Premiere