Answering the Call of the Dragon
Last Saturday I finally got the chance to shoot an event I’ve been wanting to photograph for many years – Dragon Con. An Atlanta fixture for almost three decades, this enormous multigenre sci-fi and fantasy convention attracts over 50,000 fans, enthusiasts and passionate obsessives every Labor Day weekend. It’s sort of like the coolest nerd pilgrimage on earth. Not wanting to miss it yet again, I made the trek downtown with five fellow photogs to fulfill our mission of shooting the Dragon Con parade, a mainstay of the convention and a city tradition. Luckily a couple of my esteemed colleagues knew the show well and led us to the parade staging area, where several thousand people in costume were hanging out as they waited to strut their stuff. Stormtroopers hobnobbed with Klingons and zombies joked around with Steampunk characters, while wizards shot the breeze with superheroes – it was a veritable shooter’s dream! Everyone seemed to love posing for pictures and playing their characters to the hilt. But more than anything I was really impressed with the obvious time, effort and imagination that went into much of the make up and costumes. It was clearly obvious that for many, this isn’t just a fun pastime – it’s a way of life. After a few hours of shooting an incredible variety of characters, I felt that I had seen and conquered. Didn’t spot any dragons, though.