Lucca Comics is the largest comic-con in Europe and arguably one of the three or four most important events of this kind in the world. It started as a niche, nerdy gathering hosted in a parking lot, only to grow so much that the old town hardly holds the average 100k daily visitors inside its walls.
It’s a very peculiar mix between a publishers’ faire, a gaming convention, a cosplay gathering and a classic comic-con with international “A-list” guests: all in the unusual setting of an ancient town with a medieval look, dungeons, old walls and green areas blended with the yellow and orange colours of Autumn. And a crazy, totally unpredictable weather.
Cosplayers are pure gold for the shy photographer
My first time in Lucca was in 2012: when I started to reconnect with photography I thought it would be an ideal destination for a shy photographer who wanted to include more the human figure into his pictures. I was quite right.
Cosplayers don’t just agree, they crave for their picture to be taken: it’s an acknowledgement of their work. They are welcoming, kind enough to give you all the time you need, very forgiving and they often know exactly how to pose (and gladly follow your directions if you plan to give them any).
Rejection in Lucca is just not part of the equation. Everyone is polite and happy.
As an annual event with more or less the same audience and the same characteristics, Lucca gives me a year-over-year check on my approach in an almost experimental environment – which is quite weird.
When I re-joined Instagram few months ago after a five years long gap, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I started following people randomly, according to few mostly unconscious rules: contrasty black and white (or interesting use of colour), urban/street photography, good composition and geometries. In less than one month, I had unwillingly selected most of who are still among my favourite photographers – not just on Instagram but generally speaking: people I now follow on other social media, whose personal website I’ve browsed and for whom I’d book a plane ticket to attend an exhibition. In this, Instagram was indeed a surprise.
After my first timid attempts at street photography last Summer – at the cost of an incredible amount of stress – I retreated to more comfortable experiences. It was an interesting year but my push was fading, comfort was increasing too much and as a result I fell in total lock down. I needed a spark and couldn’t find any. In the meantime – as I often do when I’m in lock down – I kept devouring images (and, inevitably, SPi photos).
When I discovered that a workshop was planned in London for those very days when I was supposed to be around, I joined immediately. I’d never attended a workshop before (nor I received any “formal” photography education) and I tend to be uncomfortable in unpredictable social situations: joining was an impulse, an internal voice telling me: you need to catch this train now.
Here is how it went, why this was the best thing that could happen to me and why you should really keep an eye on their next workshops.
It definitely can, according to what happened to David Slater. The events are well known and date back to 2011 but for some reason their effects keep following each other.
The facts are pretty straightforward: photographer David Slater’s camera was seized by a cheeky macaque that happened to press the right button at the right time, taking one of the funniest and most expressive selfies a monkey could ever shoot. Not unexpectedly, the photo became viral and everyone was at peace with it until Slater claimed the copyright for that very image.
All of a sudden, the Interwebs went bananas (no pun intended).
A number of issues was raised and still remains unsolved:
Can Slater claim the ownership of a photo for the sole reason that it was taken with his equipment?
Can a monkey be the rightful owner of a product of creativity – or of any object at all?
Is the owner of a picture the one who presses the button of the camera?
Let me disclose my opinion on the matter straightaway: David Slater has the full ownership of his picture and his claims are absolutely legitimate1. Unfortunately, most arguments used in favour or against this statement are pointless and at times even ridiculous:
Can monkeys have a lawyer?
If we agree the monkey owns the picture, how do we assess its licensing preferences?
Are we giving a monkey rights, only to exploit them by putting the picture into the public domain realm?
The fact is, this is not a matter of copyright at all.