Keeping Things At Arms Length Gives You Creative Space
I have this weird love/hate relationship with nerd fandoms. With some of those groups I've made some really good friends. Part of the reason Make Them Awesome even became a thing was because a good chunk of us adored Love Live. But over the years I'd run into some fandoms where they just automatically expected you to like X thing. Now if you know me and my tastes and can tell me why exactly I might like something then I'll give it a chance. But if you tell me just to consume and spout various memes from it to be honest I'm not likely to join in.
Admittedly as an older nerd I have what might be an interesting perspective. I took off the rose colored glasses years ago. The "nostalgia filter" isn't there any more. Let's take my history with arcade games as an example. I grew up in arcades. So many hours and quarters spent in them. But now I can go back and go through some of these games I've played and really recognize their merits. And I can also go back and quite frankly realize some of them were awful. When I do that I pick out the reasons why they're awful. Like ask me about some of the four player beat 'em ups that Konami put out in the late 80's to early 90's. Show some interest, give me a couple of beers, and I’ll tell you all about it.
So I take that into context with the stuff I consume now. Going back to my Love Live reference from the opening I had a really hard time getting into Love Live Sunshine. It was difficult getting into it because a lot of the lead up seemed to be a carbon copy of the original series. So much so that I was referring to the lead character Chika as "Diet Honoka". But then they really started to develop it into its own story. And eventually I came to enjoy it.
I keep the same critical eye with fandoms. And this goes even beyond nerd stuff. Even for the things I enjoy I tend to keep some space between myself and those groups. There will be bits where I'll join in and have fun with it... and then there are others where I'll be like "Y'all need to calm the fuck down."
When I started studying what was out there for cosplay photography I noticed there was a lot of emulation of existing media. Doing that can be fun at times especially when you have moments and settings that are perfect for it. But for some reason I was having difficulty finding work that broke away from this. There's a bit there to appreciate from a technical aspect. But why was so much of it this way?
When you have powerful creative voices on both sides of the lens... why limit yourself to what's already out there?
One of the mottoes we have on the team is "We don't give a fuck about canon." Which is mostly true. We try to do things that we could see the characters doing. But outside of that everything is fair game.
When you detach yourself from the want to present things as how they currently are and have come before you open up a ton of possibilities. When you remove yourself from that you also start to notice small things that make you think "Wait, there's something there." It may not bear any fruit right away. But when you're in that mindset there will be something that will remind you of those things. If you have like minded people around you when you do bring them up then so many paths will open up compared to having the blinders on and sticking to one direction.
And that's where magic happens.