In the artist's own words:
Last weekend at Wondercon 2013, I began work on a project I have wanted to do for some time now. As many of our readers may know, there has been escalating tension within the convention going community regarding the physical and emotional safety of cosplayers. Last week, cosplayer Meagan Marie spoke out against the people within the gaming industry who treat female cosplayers as pieces of meat, only there for the enjoyment of men. This, and the continued discussion within my circle of cosplay friends has pushed my plans forward, and I now present to you the beginnings of my photo essay, inspired by #IneedFeminismBecause; "CONsent: The Importance of Treating Cosplayers with Respect.
The artist presented everyone with a white board simply reading “Cosplay =/= Consent” and asked them about their experiences of harassment.
Everyone had a story to share.
Lots of guys have used asking for my photo as a segue to asking for my number. When I turn them down, they always call me a bitch or something much worse."
"Men often start with their hand at my waist or shoulder when they ask for a picture with me," one young woman recalled, "But then their fingers wander to my butt, or stroke my back… And it makes me so uncomfortable. I just want to yell, 'Hands off!'"
Some guys will put their hands on my girlfriend right in front of me," one non-cosplayer said of his fantastically costumed girlfriend. "I can always tell that she hates it, but I can't really step in to help her without looking like a possessive jerk or an obsessed fanboy.
Many wanted to personalize their statement.
And as the photographer was taking these photos, she also noticed another troubling aspect of co-splay culture.
One photographer mentioned that when he is working with a cosplayer and sees someone trying to take a picture of her butt or up her skirt, he jumps in front of their camera, blocking the shot with his own crotch. This draws attention to the pervert and can shame them, while also protecting the cosplayer. This, and the constant attention I got as a female photographer in cosplay myself, also prompted me to expand my project to include a gallery of "Caught Creep" photos: pictures of photographers trying to take sneaky and/or pervy pictures of cosplayers without their consent.
And thus, the “Caught Creep” photos gallery was born.
UPDATE: The artist has added this clarifying note about the project.
Please note — this was not intended as a personal attack against people who were taking normal convention pictures from afar without asking, but rather meant to point out and stand up to people who were trying to take inappropriate pictures of cosplayers without their consent (e.g. an ass shot, down the shirt, while they were bending over, right after they specifically said "no" to a picture, etc.) This is also not intended as defamation in any way, shape, or form. Many cosplayers frown upon those who don't ask for pictures, but we would like to take the personal stance that this can be ok under certain circumstances that don't endanger or majorly inconvenience them. We also would like to state that when in doubt, it is ALWAYS better to ask a cosplayer for permission.