The story about this archive can be traced back to 2011, a day before the very first CyPhaCon happened. I was in college hanging out with a friend who brought along with them the very talented @suzannedcarma. She told me about CyPhaCon, and that I should bring my camera for the cosplayers.
After showing up for the first day, we became quick friends. She even went so far as to write a note on a paper towel reminding me of our "1 year friendiversary" to put under my dorm room door a few days before CyPhaCon 2012. But she also introduced me to the staff at CyPhaCon, who asked me if they could have my pictures for promotion. Since they do philanthropy for the Lake Charles area, I decided to give it to them for free. I thought it was great that they did auctions and contests for charity.
I still remember when one of the staff members told me about how a Star Wars fan group that goes to CyPhaCon dressed up as heros from the universe and visited kids from the Make a Wish Foundation. It was very touching to see them tearing up in the middle of the con telling me about this. This is why I decided to host this archive, and do photography at CyPhaCon for free for anyone who wishes to have their photo taken at the con, as well as during the cosplay contest.
It was not easy when I decided to setup this archive in 2014. The very first domain name I could afford for it was a free x64.com subdomain name. I printed links to it on cheap paper cards to give to people at the con that I took pictures of. I saw very few hits, but it was a start. It was also the very first year that I actually put effort into editing the pictures. In years before, I didn't really understand framing as well as I do now, so what ended up happening was I did full body shots and head shots. I still do that, but I try to pose the cosplayers now in such a way to look interesting and make them pop out from their surroundings. Looking back at all the old pictures makes me cringe a little bit.
When CyPhaCon really started getting big in 2015 and 2016, the staff contacted me about a media badge for an agreement that I continue offering my photos for free to the attendees. Im sure they did the same with the other more professional photographers there, but it made me happy to know that I could help the con that does charity by promoting them. I will never be as big as some of the guys that go with actual lighting sets, but Im saving up money for some big boy equiptment.
Which brings us to today. CyPhaCon 2019 has just ended, and I am starting work on the huge pile of shots I got this year. It was really a great experience to see some old friends that I really want to see outside of the con, and to make some new friends and see new cosplayers on the scene. CyPhaCon has always been sort of a rejuvenation for me, being able to see all these wonderful people under one roof. It reminds me to be humble while working with these beautiful talented artists as they meet with young fans or kids who are interested in the characters they protray.
Also, it was really fun embarrassing some of the normal cosplayers who has been going since the very beginning with this archive.