Today I bring you an interview with a very talented photographer. As you know, Somewhatnerdy supports the world of cosplay and I wanted to bring you an interview with someone who has captured the best cosplayers out there on his camera. That person is Rodney Brown aka FirstPerson Shooter. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as you enjoy his photos. It was truly an honor to get to know Rodney as well as knowing exactly what it means to capture the beauty that is Cosplay.
1. Who are you and where are you from?
Rodney Brown, known as FirstPerson Shooter in the cosplay photography world and as Burly Adopter on Twitter. Born on the coast of Maine, raised in the mountains of Maine, living on the coast of Massachusetts.
2. When did you take up photography?
I have been taking pictures since my freshman year in high school, when I got an old Argus C3 35mm film camera. That would be 1975, for anyone who cares to think back that far.
3. I really love your cosplay photos, what made you decide to photograph cosplayers?
Thanks, and mainly I shoot cosplayers because I am a huge nerd myself, and I love the connection it brings between me and the cosplayer, who also loves the character he or she is portraying. I read my first comic book at age 7, played D&D using the original pamphlets Gygax used to sell, and played Star Trek on the mainframes at college. Using my photography skills to connect to other people of like interests seems like a no-brainer looking back on it, but I didn’t get the idea until just five years ago.
4. Have you ever cosplayed yourself?
No, but I used to be a fiend about creative Halloween costumes. Back when I was younger and more in shape for cosplay, there just weren’t the number of conventions in which to cosplay that we have today.
5. Your photos are always amazing, what is your secret?
Thanks again, but there is no secret. Photography is two things: composition (what is your subject and where does it fall in the frame, and in relation to other things in the frame?) and lighting (where does light hit your subject, and what shadows does that make?). Period. Everything else is tools and toys to maximize the efficiency at which you can best use those two things. Both can be learned, but composition also can be inherent (or let’s say intuitive). I have a couple of friends who regularly post pictures taken with their iPhones that make me want to Hulk-rage with envy. That’s because they have great eyes for composition. I’m trying to be that good.
6. How many conventions do you attend in the average year? Do cosplayers go to your studio for photos as well?
Would that I had a studio. This is a hobby for me – I am a technology journalist by trade. I have used studios before and love the control over light they allow. How many conventions? All I can afford. Seriously though, I try to hit every one in New England I can get to, and a few further away on the East Coast. Last year I did 11 cons, this year it will probably be a bit more.
7. Do you have a favorite convention to photograph?
Right now, for a combination of scenery and quality of cosplay, Megacon in Orlando may be my favorite. For sheer fun, nothing beats Super Megafest, a smallish local con we have in Massachusetts.
8. What projects do you have lined up for the future?
I have a tendency to take things as they come, but my biggest project right now is that I have taken on the role of Editor in Chief for the website NerdCaliber.com, which is where most of convention shots have been posted this past year. I am looking forward to having my day job skills with words play as big a role there as my photos have. But I will still be going to cons and doing shoots for the site, nobody panic.
9. Where can my readers see more examples of your work?
The best place if my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/1stpersonshooter.
I also have a Flickr account for larger images at www.flickr.com/photos/firstpersonshooter/.
10. If you had to pick one photo, which one would you say was your best?
That’s a tough call. I think I would pick this one, but not for the obvious reasons of Jessica Nigri’s fame or the awesome cleavage. I managed to pull off this lighting with a single camera-mounted flash, bouncing off two wall surfaces. I am sure no one will believe that reason, but photo geeks will get it.