PAX…through a camera, darkly

I recently shot the coolest (& most challenging) show ever.  PAX Prime convened late August/early September at the Seattle Convention Center.  Badges for the show went on sale in April.  4-day passes were sold out in 23 minutes.  The entire show sold out in five and a half hours.  Really.

PAX is cool because, having started life as the Penny Arcade Expo, it celebrates all aspects of computer, console and tabletop gaming.

And it’s challenging because, in true “penny arcade” fashion, the hall is dark. Extremely dark.  Nearly “black cat in a coal mine” dark.  Simultaneously, every exhibit had many video monitors and huge L.E.D. panels, all with fast-moving games on-screen.

I loved both the show and the challenge.  In the end, between much “bracketing” (taking multiple shots from the same angle using incrementally different exposure settings) and the extensive use of Photoshop, I came away with work which made me happy.

The Trade Group - Warner Bros at PAX.  Photo by Steve Rossman

The Trade Group - Warner Bros interior at PAX . Photo by Steve Rossman

The Trade Group - at PAX .  Photo by Steve Rossman

The Trade Group - interior at PAX . Photo by Steve RossmanThe Trade Group - Twitch at PAX . Tradeshow photography by Steve RossmanThe Trade Group - Kiz at PAX . Exhibit photography by Steve Rossman

This was also my biggest show ever, with 10+ exhibits to be shot.  My exhibit house client, The Trade Group, with offices throughout Texas, ‘owned’ the show!  They had four of the largest and most dramatic exhibits on the floor.  And they produced many more slightly smaller-scale exhibits.  They also created structure and lighting for a gigantic “queue hall,” the entry point for the show as well as the venue for a late night party and auction.

The Trade Group-QueueRm4-cropped_auction-banners-PAX. Photo by Steve Rossman

A parting note.  This show, like Comic-Con in San Diego, celebrates fantasy.  Many of the attendees were in full costume, some darkly goth, some cartoony cute and whimsical, some sexy.  But here’s the thing: virtually every kid (and they were almost all teens, 20- and 30-somethings) seemed to be having a lot of fun.  Contrast this to say, Las Vegas, where we humans supposedly go to enjoy themselves, but where the casinos inspire an awful lot of grim countenances.  I’m just sayin’…

The Trade Group -Warner Bros staffer at PAX.  Photo by Steve Rossman


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6 Responses to PAX…through a camera, darkly

  1. Ruth Kuroda says:

    So fun to get a glimpse of what this show was about. Colors are fantastic. Great shots!

  2. Arli says:

    Wonderfully dramatic photography, Steve!

  3. steverossman says:

    Thanks Ruth! Really was quite a show! And the visitors/kids were a joy. Funny story. I’m walking through a doorway at the convention center, and there’s someone coming towards me in a “death-mask, goth warrior” costume replete with scythe. So I hold the door open to let him through, and from inside this horrific exterior, comes a squeaky, yet exuberantly happy voice, saying, “Thanks!!” Gotta love it!

  4. John says:

    Great pictures, Steve.

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