Scenes from Regional Con: Anime Banzai 2009 In Pictures

You’ve probably been to a con like this before. Anime Banzai, based in Salt Lake City, is a fairly small, fairly young convention, and to be honest, it hasn’t had much to offer as far as guests or attractions thus far. But on the ground, it looks much like those at any other con, and the attendees are the most important common element.

And sure, you’ve seen con photography before: lots of ninja stances, lots of smiles (or intense glares), lots of on-camera flash. This is an attempt to illustrate the con experience in a way that’s a little different from what you might be used to seeing.


  1. Wow, this is a surprise!

    I’m an anime fan in Salt Lake City who has been following Colony Drop for a couple of months and I never expected to see our local anime convention get any kind of coverage here!

    Yeah sometimes it feels like the convention is just a circus for kids in cosplay. Personally I just tune all that out and spend my time enjoying the fan panels.

    Since I’m commenting, I might as well take this opportunity to just say how much I’m digging the website. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to the Colony Drop Zine. Hey maybe we can get that distributed at Anime Banzai next year.

  2. Damn I wish I’d swapped my London Expo pics to grayscale before publishing them. THATS FUCKING ART SCHOOL GENIUS!

  3. Some things are just not meant to be expressed with words. Great stuff.

  4. The lion’s share of my anime convention photos are photographs of the crowds of people taking photos of costumers rather that the costumers themselves. This to me is more representative of THE TRUTH about these gatherings.

  5. >>I’ve taken photographer friends who are a little into Anime or not into Anime at all to cons, and I’ve told them to not pander to the cosplayers, take pictures of the normal attendees, crowds, settings ect.

    Eron Rauch was the first photographer I saw who took this approach. It’s not that cosplayers striking poses aren’t an important part of the look of a convention–they certainly are. It’s that often, these are the only kind of photos used to represent a con.

    Also, the simple expedient of greyscale here works as a kind of filter, enabling you to notice things you might not ordinarily. It’s a particularly interesting approach for an anime con–where dealers’ rooms, artists’ alleys and cosplayers will be full of gaudy colors, to then remove it.

  6. Posed cosplayer photos are about the most boring type of convention coverage I can think of, but it seems like that’s all there is these days. Part of that is because I find cosplaying fantastically uninteresting (although it’s nice to have someone to yell at when you get drunk), but it’s also only one part of the convention experience.

    I’m really fond of Mike Toole’s old con reports from Anime Jump, although he’s no doubt quite embarrassed by them now.

  7. There’s something about the last two pictures that makes me really sad, for some odd reason.

    The girl leaning on the railing, she has such a “is this ALL there is? is there nothing more?” look to her face.

    Clearly she has not been exposed to the wonder of Xabungle.

  8. It was really a shame that when I went to Comiket last summer I really wanted some of these types of photos but was expressly prohibited to by the Gestapo-like rules and iron-fisted security teams.

    I have to say that the Anime Protraits one strikes me as my favorite. Just the contrast and the gal on the left’s headscarf just intrigues me somehow.

  9. I imagine the girl on the railing in the second to last picture looks as downtrodden as she is because she’s a staffer. Tiring stuff, yo

  10. Yes indeed, staffing is tiring. So is running a con, and planning it from year to year, shaping it, fighting endless problems.

    Yeah, I’ve done that thing.

  11. I’ve been doing photography like this for years, but I’ve recently drifted away from this style because of the increasingly venomous attitude of congoers (not just cosplayers) toward candid/street photography. As if I somehow have some sort of agenda to portray congoers in the worst light possible when, in fact, it’s the exact opposite…

  12. Fantastic!

    No, really, that’s the only thing that I can say about this! Excellent work, especially the fact that the images are all black and white…really adds a lot.

    To Daryl: I have to agree with you. This is definitely what my con experiences have been like, since I’m usually an artist in the AA (or recently, a guest at a small con in Vermont). It’s always a bit frustrating to see pictures of only cosplayers posing when there is coverage of anime cons (or most SF/Fantasy cons for that matter).

    To Steve: I wonder if most fans today have any clue about XABUNGLE at all (or the fact that Tomino created it)….usually when I mention an anime series from the 80’s to some fans today, I get stared at as if I’m talking about a relic from the Neolithic Age.

    Again, solid work here. Great job, Trevor!

  13. funny, I had to have to speak at a con way back when and a few times in the present for a not mentioned companies and I dislike them more and more each time because they have degraded. I believe that the some peoples anger about cons is that the 90s generation is aging and that the newer generation has taken over in the cons with newer stuff. So yes a 30 year old con goers will feel out of place with 15 to 20 year old con goers. As for you marc the 80s anime is reemerging in japan but its slow in America but its coming. Though if you ask most American anime fans what the history of any anime or anime in general is they will either spout something based on their cartoon network otaku understanding or will look at you like an idiot. Overall I enjoyed the cons when they were for a niche but now they are too commercialized.

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