Photographing FurCon 2013
Strolling around downtown, I see a brown bear bear strutting his pot belly down the street. I think to myself, okay no big deal, just a mascot on the way to a game that's all.
A minute later comes a raccoon on his hind legs. Then a fox with chains around his neck. And then hoards of regular folks with fluffy tails hanging from their jeans.
Ummm what? Wait just one second...
Furries take over San Jose
Furries from all over the nation gathered for Further Confusion (FurCon) at the San Jose Convention Center last weekend. For those that haven't heard of them, Furries are a subculture of people that appreciate all things anthropomorphic (animal characters with human characteristics.) The Furry Fandom represents everyone from the casual 'My Little Pony' fan sporting just a t-shirt to those that are only happiest when living as their fuzzy spirit animal.
With these guys putting in so much work (not to mention money) into their outfits, I knew it would be a great chance to test out some new camera equipment. Plus, I was dying of curiosity to see what this Furry world was all about.
Better than a zoo
Let me tell you it was some damn good people watching--or should I say animal watching? A few highlights:
- A girl's national volleyball tournament was happening in the same building. That's right, teen girls and suburban mom types crossing paths with Furries all day. Reactions were priceless.
- Getting primed on Furry etiquette when I called someone's outfit a costume. Just so you know, it's a 'Fursuit' not a costume.
- Velociraptor! Which brings me to the question; what the heck do you call a Fursuiter without fur anyway?
- A wolf doing some sweet breakdancing moves.
- A chivalrous fox putting a jacket over the shoulders of his lady in the cold. Didn't matter that she was already wearing a 3 inch thick foxy fursuit too, manners are manners.
- A wooly mammoth on all fours-- it was like I was at a natural history museum.
- Noticing that even subcultures have their own sub-subcultures. While everybody was really friendly with one another, ponies seemed to hang out with ponies, and cats with cats. Totally reminded me of high school.
Shooting wise, I thought I would have a hard time because the lack of human faces, but these guys had a lot of personality through body language.
Furries have a really bad rep because of pop culture. But in reality the sex maniacs extremist are just a tiny percentage of the good natured population. Honestly, you'd probably should be more worried about the neighbor that never leaves his house. Not too much freaky stuff going on (that I saw.) In the end, I didn't see much difference between a Furry and a ComicCon attendee in a Chewbacca outfit.
What I did see was a vibrant community of eclectic people who were open and friendly. I got a lot of high fives and hugs (they give the best hugs by the way.) They were creatives. They were self proclaimed geeks and freaks and proud of it. Costume artists. Puppeteers. People that just wanted to have dress up and have some fun. So what if they love Pokemon a heck of a lot more than the rest of us? "To each his own."
Even though I know I'll never completely understand this culture, I walked away a little more clarified at Further Confusion.
Check out my photos from the day:
So I've got to ask, if you had to choose a furry personality (fur-sona) what would it be?
Mine? Outer space neon koala for sure.