Finding Community and Belonging at Lubbock Con | Portraits
What do you get when a wedding and lifestyle photographer shows up to a comic con?
I didn’t know what to expect from my own photos, but I knew to show up with mad respect for the fandom. Even though I didn’t know who most people were dressed as (and any time I asked who they were, I got the How do you not know who I am? face), I was fascinated by their devotion to their homemade costumes and emotional connections to their cosplay character.
Much to my surprise, Lubbockon also wasn’t solely dedicated to one particular niche… we slipped into some Panels on Disney Princess trivia, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (The Comic Books and the Netflix series), and we even found ourselves photographing a renaissance orchestra (everyone dressed up as a character they invented themselves! This seemed so deeply creative and therapeutic for some of them, I could have sat with each of them for hours listening to their story and how they came up with their own characters).
If I had to pick three words to describe my interactions with the Lubbockon community, I’d choose: Community, empowerment, and acceptance. There was a real sense of belonging and admiration in this Comic Con world. And I really loved that. You can love what you love and it’s alright. No one’s judging. Everyone’s encouraging and cheering you on to be and connect with the character(s) you love.
On a personal level, this overall sense of belonging was confirmed for me this month on Netflix’ Queer Eye (Season 3, Sloth to Slay). The Fab Five collided with a gamer and anime lover who was struggling to find community and friends outside of his online gaming world. They encouraged him to seek out already established anime communities who gather to meet other anime lovers. He did. And He connected with other humans. In real time. They welcomed him in so quickly and kindly. It was beautiful (and of course made me cry because I’m all about humans connecting with other humans and finding belonging).
So thanks Lubbockon, for showing me it’s okay to have a niche interest, and it’s okay to show up as you are… or as someone entirely not yourself.
The Chilling Adventures of Stacie Stine
P.S. I mainly connected with women in cosplay. Some of my personal cosplay favorites were these beautiful pin-up Super heroes (Lisa from Songbird Pixel Art with her favorite piece of her own art and Rebecca from Cooper Creative with her favorite makeup bag), Zombie snow white, and Zombie Dobby (Why is Dobby a zombie?? Because that’s awesome and could totally be a thing in some alternative zombie Harry Potter universe).