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Author Topic: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far  (Read 5406 times)

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NormaTu545

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Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« on: May 29, 2015, 01:42:37 AM »

I feel compelled to say something about a not cool photographer who asked to take a picture of my cosplay (a sexy two piece swimsuit version of sailor mercury that took me a lot of courage to feel comfortable wearing out for the con), and wound up taking a picture of only my crotch.

It was so sudden I couldn't react or make a scene in time, and neither could my friend who was with me. The guy was gone after he got what he wanted, and it's been bothering me that the one person that stopped me for a picture of my cosplay only wanted a crotch shot.

I didn't feel comfortable taking the picture alone 'cause the same thing hapened last fanime with a different male "photographer," so I told this one that I was okay with the picture as long as my pal was in it with me.
The dude said okay and wound up tilting his DLSR camera downwards in what was obviously going to be just a shot of my crotch.
It made me very uncomfortable and I want this sicko to get what's coming to him.

Perverted creeper photographers lurking around fanime are ruining it for actually decent photographers, and I was wondering if there was some sort of extra creep catching trainings that can be done to help staff nab and ban these guys that are ruining the con for the rest of us.

I really don't like that every time I have been brave enough to cosplay, some pervert cameraman makes me feel icky.
Same thing happened when I was swimsuit Mikasa too...but with a different person.
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FinalStar02

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 09:47:26 AM »

Hello, this is Michael, the Head of Rovers. I am sorry to hear about your encounter with these type of people (if you can call them people). We work hard every year to keep the convention safe, but with the growing number of attendees, it can be hard to catch everything ourselves. If you or anyone at FanimeCon is being treated in an inappropriate manor, please do not hesitate to report another person to any staff working Fanime. If you can give a description of what the attendee looks like, or if you can see any information on their badge, we (Rovers) will work on finding them and expelling them from the Convention.

If you have anymore questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to post, or PM me.
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Nina Star 9

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 11:32:27 AM »

I just wrote up a really long post about an incident I had involving a videographer and a possible off-duty Rover (who never identified himself and wasn't wearing a yellow armband), but the forums timed out and I lost all of it. :[ I'll retype it when I have time. (Just to clarify, it wasn't really /creepy/ as much as /weird/. It does leave some questions about who the possible Rover was though and how they handled the situation)


In the meantime, I'm glad that Fanimecon takes reports of harassment seriously. It really helps. The problem is that a lot of these creeps know how to work it so that they minimize their chances of getting caught -- catch people off-guard, wear generic clothing, emerge from and slip back into a crowd before people can get a good look at them or do anything to restrain them, etc. I've had one particularly notable incident with a creepy photographer and a crowd, about 5 years ago or so now, where he grabbed me, pulled me into the opening ceremonies crowd, all but told me that he enjoyed masturbating to my photo, and then slipped back into the crowd and disappeared before I could do anything. I had a few creeps this year "covertly" as for a butt shot in a high-cut leotard cosplay, and when I told them that I don't give butt shots, they angrily stormed off back into the crowd of a large cosplay gathering before I could do anything else. (I'm not afraid to tell people no or make a scene if I need to.) Thankfully I had people who were willing to watch my back as I was posing for (non-creepy) photographers after that as to prevent people from taking butt shots without asking, so I'm thankful for that.

Aside from physically chasing these people into a crowd and hoping to find them, there isn't much that can be done in these cases (at least that I can think of), even when the cosplayer isn't caught off-guard by a sudden butt photo or inappropriate touch. (I'm not confident enough in my ability to recognize faces to give a good description to a Rover...which that's fairly specific to me, I think, since most people seem to be better at faces than I am. Usually the creeps I run into are wearing very generic clothing [black or grey T-shirt, blue jeans] and have cell phone cameras rather than DSLR cameras or other fancier cameras, so it's hard to give a good description that couldn't be anyone else at the con.)

I do want to thank the Rovers for taking reports seriously, though, and doing everything in their power to help stop these incidents from happening (in most cases. Videographer story forthcoming.). :]
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 12:04:19 PM by Nina Star 9 »
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Kuudere

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 12:47:51 PM »

I'm not confident enough in my ability to recognize faces to give a good description to a Rover...which that's fairly specific to me, I think, since most people seem to be better at faces than I am.

No, I'm pretty terrible with remembering faces too, especially in traumatic situations. Your brain goes into overdrive and important details like that can be easy to forget as you're stuck in that state of "did that actually just happen? What do I do?"

If possible to do safely, try to take a photo of them (or get a friend who has better control of their senses at the time to do it). That way you're not relying on your memory, and you can give rovers an exact image of who to look for. Again, only take a photo if you think that it's safe to do so. If someone is dumb enough to come to a convention and take these kinds of photos, they're probably dumb enough to get aggressive if they think they'll get caught.
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Steve.Young

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 03:15:41 PM »

Wow...the gall of some of these people is...amazing. To grab you and tell you he masturbates to your photos is shocking and disturbing.

On the back of every badge, there are phone numbers. If somethings happens to you, report it right away while it is still somewhat memorable in your memory. We do take harassment very seriously! The more you report these incidents, the more we can catch these creeps!

Thanks,
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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 03:24:29 PM »

That's an idea. Sadly, I never have my camera handy (my cosplays never have pockets so it's always buried somewhere in my bag), and even if my phone is handy, the camera on that (ancient flipphone lol) is so terrible that I don't know if it would be of any use. But I can certainly try next time something happens.

Fear of retaliation or aggression is pretty much the only reason why I hold back sometimes in dealing with creepers. I don't want to put myself in danger, especially since my cosplays are usually cumbersome and I'm fairly small (tough, but only 100lbs...easy to pick up and carry away), so it would be difficult to physically defend myself.



The incident with the videographer and ?Rover:

I was in my Ultimecia cosplay, hurrying back from the Final Fantasy gathering early Saturday afternoon (this was likely between 1:00~1:30PM). The costume itself is physically painful to wear, and the oversize headpiece was not as well-supported as I'd have liked, it I had to hold it up. I went through the lower level of the concourse rather than walking outside to get back to my hotel room (Hilton) because it was shorter. The only thing on my mind was that I had to get out of that costume ASAP.

Now, technically, this costume isn't con-legal, since the horns are too large to fit through doors without going sideways or diagonal. I can fit into elevators without much problem, and can do double doors without a center bar. So part of this is my own fault, since I technically shouldn't have been indoors at all with it, but as I said, shorter route through a mostly empty hallway. So image me, in this costume, holding the horns on my head with one clawed hand and holding my bag and train over my other arm, rushing toward the Hilton as fast as I can go (which...well, I walk pretty quickly naturally, but I was hampered a bit by my costume).

At one point, about halfway between the main entrance of the CC and the Hilton, a videographer shoves a camera in my face and starts recording me walking down this hall. I start waving my arm and telling him "no video please!," but he continues. I keep waving my arm and saying "stop recording!" and "I'm not comfortable being recorded!" and "no video!" in as stern of a voice as I can manage under the circumstances (which I'm getting pretty cranky by this point, so pretty stern). He keeps recording. After a while, he finally says "oh, you don't want me to video you?" though I'm pretty sure he's still recording at this point. I tell him to delete the video. Keep in mind that I'm still walking this whole time, and I don't have the wherewithal to actually stop and check that he deletes the video, so there may still be a video of me out there somewhere waving my arm and telling someone to stop recording. I'm still walking.

As I'm still walking, a man's voice behind me keeps trying to get my attention. "Ma'am? Excuse me? Ma'am?" I snap a little (sorry, ?Rover, if I was rude at all!) and tell him that I just told him and the videographer I'm not doing pictures. (They weren't together -- this gentleman was walking with a woman, but appeared soon enough after I got rid of the videographer who was harassing me that he had to have seen at least part of the interaction.) I keep walking, thinking that he was just another insistent photographer. Eventually, he catches up with me near the Hilton, and I stop to talk to him (and again, I apologize if I was rude, if whoever that was sees this). I don't believe that either this gentleman or his companion had a yellow "Rovers" armband. He never identified himself, and even chasing me halfway across the CC, he never stated his intentions until I stopped (mostly to tell him to go away, I'm not doing photos). He was very soft-spoken and didn't seem entirely sure of himself, but he wanted to lead me over to the other side of the CC to get my horns peacebonded (which he later admitted was a mistake because he thought I was holding a bow to the top of my head and not wearing an actual headpiece, which seems odd, but honest mistake I guess). After I explained that I was headed straight back to my hotel room to change out of the outfit (and after a couple of incredulous "you want me to peacebond my horns???"), he said something about fitting through doorways (whoops, sorry about that one) and let me go.

I didn't really think anything of it at the time (again, I was thinking "must. remove. costume."), but the more I think about this whole incident, the weirder it seems. Unfortunately, I've had to deal with a lot of videographers who just start recording without ever asking permission or even saying that they are recording (I've had people who just stand there and chat with me while holding a camera, and then I later notice that it's recording and ask for them to delete it, but usually these people are nice about it and apologize and show me that it's gone, and a few people do what this videographer did, but stopped the moment I made it clear that I didn't want to be recorded on video and weren't so rude or insistent), so that's nothing all that new. What was strange was that ?Rover was closeby enough that he could have witnessed the incident with the videographer, but instead decided to chase me halfway across the CC to get me to peacebond my horns. He also never stated his intent, only trying to get my attention with "excuse me" and "ma'am," leading me to think that he was another really persistent photog. He also never identified himself as being officially for the con in any capacity. I assume he was an off-duty Rover or other staff member or volunteer, but he never identified himself by name or con-related work, only that he wanted to lead me away to a peacebonding station, so he technically could have been anyone. I would have stopped a lot sooner and been a lot less snippy if he had identified himself from the start instead of acting the same way as all the pushy photographers that I was trying to get away from.

I felt harassed by the videographer, and while ?Rover may have not seen the interaction or realized what was happening, he was /right there/ as soon as it was over, trying to get me to a peacebonding station instead of going after the videographer who was harassing me. He was polite enough, so that was good, I have no complaints there, just that I have no idea who this person was, whether they were with staff, and that they were right there when someone was filming me for a good 20 or 30 seconds /after/ I first told them to stop and didn't seem to do anything about that person. (He was with a woman who seemed just as official as he did, so if it was an issue of going for the rule-breaking costume over going for the videographer, they could have split up. I didn't really interact much with the woman though, so she may have just been a personal companion and not an official companion, but I believe she was the one who told me to go after I demonstrated that my horns were, in fact, horns, and now a bow clasped upside-down on my head.)

If this ever happens again, I'll see if I can get myself in the correct headspace to make sure that the videographer deletes the video, and I'll ask the ?Rover for identification (and be less rude, but without stating his intent and acting just like the pushy photogs, I don't think you can blame me much), and I might try to take the exterior route to the hotel instead of the interior route, even if it's longer. Though...it's still one of the stranger encounters I had at this con. Any insight as to what exactly happened? The more I think about it, the weirder the whole thing gets.




EDIT:
New reply posted while I was typing!

Wow...the gall of some of these people is...amazing. To grab you and tell you he masturbates to your photos is shocking and disturbing.

On the back of every badge, there are phone numbers. If somethings happens to you, report it right away while it is still somewhat memorable in your memory. We do take harassment very seriously! The more you report these incidents, the more we can catch these creeps!

Thanks,
Yeah, that was probably the most disturbing encounter I've ever had at a con. The second most disturbing was a man (not a con attendee) who followed me for several blocks through DTSJ as I was trying to get back to the con with my dinner, constantly asking increasingly personal information. He left as soon as I got within a block of the con.

The photog who told me he masturbates to my photos wasn't quite that overt about it, but the intention behind what he said (it was something about "really enjoying" the photos he took of me, with some hand motions to illustrate) was very clear. Even creepier that I could have easily passed as underage in that costume at that time (I was of age, but in my late teens or early 20s, dressed as a rather cutsey moe type character). This was also 5 years ago or more, so I'm not too worried about him anymore, though it did shake me up quite a bit. I have a feeling that someone like that probably gets off of knowing that he crossed some serious boundaries and creeped me out, so I try to not let it bother me terribly much to not give him that satisfaction. I just hope he isn't still out there, and that he hasn't gone further (or gone for someone actually underage -- he was maybe in his 40s or so at the time?).
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 03:35:30 PM by Nina Star 9 »
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Sunara Ishi

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 09:23:33 PM »

@Nina Star 9: That is really weird, considering peace-bonding was in the Hilton this year. Not the Marriott. Why would a Rover not know that? Sure, there was a station by the main entrance but the main room was where you were heading. Makes me wonder if he was a creep trying to get you alone someplace. Or maybe just people on a power trip pretending to be Rovers?
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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 09:55:32 PM »

@Nina Star 9: That is really weird, considering peace-bonding was in the Hilton this year. Not the Marriott. Why would a Rover not know that? Sure, there was a station by the main entrance but the main room was where you were heading. Makes me wonder if he was a creep trying to get you alone someplace. Or maybe just people on a power trip pretending to be Rovers?
That's...even weirder. I only knew of the station by the main entrance. How would he know that I'm not headed toward peacebonding already, then?

Reading over my story again, I didn't mention this, but he did gesture toward the Marriott side of the CC (back toward where I came from) like that's where he wanted me to go.

He was with a woman though, and it didn't seem like he was trying to get me alone, but I am officially creeped out now. I was seeing some red flags before but thought it was just strange but fairly innocent, but this is getting even weirder and creepier. (My main concern was, honestly, someone who was ostensibly an off-duty Rover going after me instead of the rude videographer, but now I'm getting a little freaked out by ?Rover and what exactly he was up to!)
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Sunara Ishi

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2015, 12:35:40 AM »

@Nina Star 9: That is really weird, considering peace-bonding was in the Hilton this year. Not the Marriott. Why would a Rover not know that? Sure, there was a station by the main entrance but the main room was where you were heading. Makes me wonder if he was a creep trying to get you alone someplace. Or maybe just people on a power trip pretending to be Rovers?
That's...even weirder. I only knew of the station by the main entrance. How would he know that I'm not headed toward peacebonding already, then?

Reading over my story again, I didn't mention this, but he did gesture toward the Marriott side of the CC (back toward where I came from) like that's where he wanted me to go.

He was with a woman though, and it didn't seem like he was trying to get me alone, but I am officially creeped out now. I was seeing some red flags before but thought it was just strange but fairly innocent, but this is getting even weirder and creepier. (My main concern was, honestly, someone who was ostensibly an off-duty Rover going after me instead of the rude videographer, but now I'm getting a little freaked out by ?Rover and what exactly he was up to!)
Well, at least everything worked out ok and you are fine. I've been lucky and haven't had to deal with creepers... I tend to give off (without meaning to) an "Don't mess with me" aura that scares away creepers and fans alike. >.>; But I also don't do uber-sexy cosplays or any of the type creepers look for. I applaud you girls that do.

It could be that they were part of staff/volunteers in past years or fans that were too enthusiastic about peace-bonding (sometimes you get ones that want to go after others because the Rovers caught them. ) But there is nothing saying a woman can't be a creeper too; it just isn't as common to run into creeper couples. Though I also kind of wonder if they were with the photographer... But that's all speculation; unless the other party comes clean about what happened, who knows. I just hope no one fell victim to them at con.
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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 01:08:38 PM »

I also give off "don't mess with me" vibes, but all that does is scare away the good fans who want to have a chat with me (I've had people tell me that they find me intimidating in non-cosplay settings as well as cosplay settings, and I'm sure that carrying prop weapons doesn't help...) and then I end up with either the most oblivious of the oblivious creeps or the most persistent of the types who simply don't care about personal boundaries.

I am not afraid to show off skin or wear sexier costumes, though. *shrugs* (Even my less sexy costumes tend to be fairly eye-catching, as well.)


Them being with the photographer is an interesting idea. I didn't get a good look at the photographer because he mostly stayed to my side, and I can't turn my head without turning my whole body in that costume, so I don't actually know on that one.

I did offer to go with them and get the horns peace-bonded, though, and was declined, so maybe it really was just someone overzealous.
This is what I can remember of the conversation:
Him: (lots of “excuse me” and “ma’am” until I stopped)
Me: I told you (and that videographer…? I mentioned him either at this point or earlier when ?Rover was first trying to get my attention) that I’m not doing any more pictures, sorry. I’m just going back to the hotel to change
Him: umm…okay, but you’re going to need to peacebond that *gesturing toward other end of CC after pointing at my horns*
Me: You need to peacebond my /horns/? Okay, I can do that, but I’m about to take them off anyway
Him: Any sort of large prop like that needs to be peacebonded right away (etc. etc.)
Me: Do you want me to go with you to get my horns peacebonded even though I’m just about to take them off? I can go with you to a peacebonding station
Him: Oh, they’re horns? Like, attached to your head? I thought they were a large bow, which would need to be peacebonded
Me: Yeah, they’re horns, but they’re slipping so I need to hold them *lets go to demonstrate that they are attached*
Her: *steps in from side* Woah, woah! *grabs for falling horns to help stabilize them* You should be okay. Just go change. You’ll be okay if you’re taking them off right away.
Him: Yeah, you don’t need to come with us. Just *murmurs something about fitting through doorways*
Me: Okay, thanks! *walks off*

I paraphrased there, and I felt like they were much more polite and professional in person than it seems here.

The more I think about all this, the weirder it is, but it's probably something innocent...? I hope? It's still a bit creepy. Everyone I've told the story to thinks it is pretty creepy, but I'm not sure what they could have really accomplished with me in that highly visible costume and after declining to have me go with them. Which leads me to believe that they were just overzealous...someones. Still a mystery.

And I really hope that videographer didn't harass anyone else. :[ I hope he got caught. And that he deleted the video.
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Sunara Ishi

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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 11:58:19 PM »

Doesn't seem overly creepy of a conversation... Perhaps just an overzealous fan or past staff. It could have always been someone on Staff but not a Rover. Sounds almost like they were heading someplace themselves.... but I still wonder about the chasing you down part.
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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2015, 11:46:39 PM »

These stories make me so sad. Especially since Fanime has that vibe of being such a zero anxiety & welcoming place for everyone.

I'm not sure if this advise would help but hopefully it might. Though I should note that it's sad that this needs to be said because photographers are trying to take advantage of people who are giving them permission to photograph them a certain way and instead are trying to get a photograph for themselves that's out of context from what was agreed upon.

If you're letting yourself be photographed by someone with a DSLR (or any other digital camera) who you're kind of getting a weird vibe from, I'd suggest saying to them that you agree to take the picture as long as you can approve of it after it's been taken. If they disagree to this then they're probably up to something strange.

Also if maybe you feel an area of your costume might be exposed or whatever in a way you feel you don't want it to be, I'd try maybe posing in a way where that area is more covered up or possible incorporating a prop if you have one to try to cover up this area.

Lastly, I'd suggest asking to take a picture of the photographer beforehand, maybe bring it up in an unsuspecting way like saying you like their outfit or if they're casually clothed um, saying you like to take portraits too, or yeah just be upfront and say you've had some weird encounters. I mean this is hit or miss since a lot of people (whether behind a camera or not) don't like getting their picture taken but if it'll make you feel safer I would definitely suggest doing this. Then if they are up to something weird you could report them to the supervisors and hopefully have a better chance of getting them caught.

I hope this does NOT sound like I'm saying the model needs to "step up" to feel like she's not being sexualized, I really do. I'm not saying that, but yeah there are weirdos out there and maybe if you're not sure of saying "no, I don't want my picture taken" and want to give them the benefit of the doubt then I hope this will help to not put a negative dent into your future weekends at upcoming Cons.

All this being said I'm really glad that for the most part I've seen a lot of positive bonding and great memories being had by photographers and their subjects. Either professional ones with pro gear, walker-bys noticing an exciting costume that they want to snap with their iPhone, and lots of other experiences too. Even street-photography picture taking at the con seems to be in a positive direction.

Don't be afraid to reach out or say something. I'd say odds are 10 out of 10 that other people will help defend/stand with you against creeps. Sorry again for the fact that you had to go through these horrible experiences. Hopefully you won't have any at the next con.
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Re: Catching Creepy Photographers that go too far
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 01:17:05 AM »

someone earlier wrote:
"As I'm still walking, a man's voice behind me keeps trying to get my attention. "Ma'am? Excuse me? Ma'am?" I snap a little (sorry, ?Rover, if I was rude at all!) and tell him that I just told him and the videographer I'm not doing pictures. (They weren't together -- this gentleman was walking with a woman, but appeared soon enough after I got rid of the videographer who was harassing me that he had to have seen at least part of the interaction.) "

Even if staff member saw (and I'm not making an excuse), please make sure to say you felt like you were wronged.  A staff member can get a rover or report it to the right person so that the perpetrator can be put on the watch list so other bad situations won't occur.

If a photographer won't let you take a photo of him/her, why would you let them take a picture of you? <- just a thought...
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