I particularly like the way Cullen/Dr Wheel manages to make skirts look manly.
More pics and links to tutorials can be found here
You wouldn't know it, but one of the photos above was taken at Parliament. Parliament in Wellington has large stone buildings with impressive stairways and ostentatious statuary - in other words, parts of it resemble Kirkwall. The statues are of pompous white guys instead of chained Tevinter slaves, but other than that it's pretty similar. I thought it would make a fantastic location to give the backgrounds some authenticity. And it did.
There was a group of politicians there and they were really nice, they thought what we were doing was cool, and we were about to offer a photo-op with them because they were getting a kick out of our fun. But then, along came a security guard.
Apparently, you aren't allowed to take commercial pictures at Parliament. "That's ok," we said, "This isn't a commercial thing, we're doing it for fun."
"Well you can't do it. It's not for personal use."
To which we were a bit taken aback, because if having an amateur photographer who is also your friend, taking pictures of an amateur costume you made yourself, being modelled by your partner who's in it for the laughs, so you can show your friends on the internet what you made and go "Aren't I clever?" is not personal use then I'm not sure what is.
Anyway, the guy talked over the top of us and then shouted over the top of us, and did not listen when we tried to explain what we were doing. He gave us the impression that it was ok to do it if we moved away from the buildings, so we did. But then he brought another guy over and told us we couldn't do it there either and we had to leave. The new guard, who appeared to be a supervisor, took three goes of me asking him if he knew what cosplay was before he'd even acknowledge that I was trying to have a dialogue with him.
Things escalated - I am not at my best in those situations because I get adrenaline from being yelled at, and when someone asks me questions and then interrupts me while I'm trying to answer I get angry. Never mind that they had made incorrect assumptions about what we were doing and were treating us badly based on that without giving us a chance to explain ourselves. Actually, I think they didn't believe us.
Eventually we left because it was obvious they weren't listening, and they had completely ruined our fun anyway. When I got home, I checked the parliamentary website, and sure enough it says "Personal filming or photography within the parliamentary grounds does not generally require permission. Filming or photography within the parliamentary grounds for business/commercial purposes does require prior approval by, or under the authority, of the Speaker."
You also have to get permission for weddings. Now, that makes sense to me because wedding parties are large and invasive, and there's usually someone making money out of it. But for us, we were three people quietly taking a few pics for personal use, and these goons came and kicked us out for no good reason, and were extremely rude about it. I have made a complaint about this because if security is going to be kicking the public out of public places in this country, they should a) have a very good reason and b) be non-confrontational about it. These guys were wrong, and they were rude. So yeah, I complained.
In hindsight, I think that what happened is they'd already made up their minds about what we were doing before talking to us, so they approached us with a "You can't do that here" attitude. And then because they'd come on so strong to start with, they didn't want to lose face by backing down. Which is useful to understand but it doesn't make their behaviour right. I asked in my complaint that the men be given non-confrontational conflict resolution training.
Apparently there is fear of a thing called 'location stealing' - I think it's a film industry thing where people use locations and make money off movies without acknowledgement or compensation to the owner of the location. A friend of mine suggested this is what the Parliament thing is about. But I have questions:
1. Since Parliament belongs to the public of NZ and we are the public of NZ, exactly who are we stealing from? Ourselves?
2. Given that we weren't doing it for financial gain, exactly what were we stealing? Happiness?
Well actually, the security guards did that. It took me ages to calm down and it cast a damper on us for a while. Luckily Dr Wheel and pombagira are awesome and we got some great shots despite the guards' best efforts to fuck it up for no good reason.
And the best bit? In the majority of the pics, you can't tell that it's Parliament in the background anyway. That was the whole point, it's supposed to be Kirkwall.
PS the title of this post is because pombagira took the photos. She's taken all of my cosplay shots and she's got a real knack for catching beautiful candid portraits as well as creating mood through framing. <3