Be it known by all parts that the streets of the shire did abound
with all manner of pleasant people.

The 44th Annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire



The Renaissance Faire scenes have been going on all over the country for many years. This year, I finally got around to attending one at Irwindale, California. Admission got me into a long, winding corridor of artisan tents, dance demonstrations, plays, musicians, street skits, games, rides and food. They were generally themed around the renaissance period, though I'm not sure that the chicken tamale I had fit the time. Good, though. Many people, including me, were dressed in period clothing. Some, including me, were perhaps less authentic (and certainly less elegant) than others, but the visual sum of us all was a step back in time. There was also some sort of re-enactment, demonstration or game in progress within view no matter where you happened to be.

The craftsmen, understandably, kept to their shop-tents. There, they could be seen practicing their art. They worked in wax, ceramics, clothing, sculpture, paper, glass, jewelry, leather, masks, metal, perfume, soap, weaving, tobacco, toys, wood, bone and stone. The musicians could be seen on several stages and also wandering about the Faire. They generally played period tunes on period instruments. The music was good, but there was so much going on throughout the shire that the wandering musicians frequently didn't get the attention they deserved. The stage performers no doubt fared better in that regard.

Photography was on one hand easy and on the other hand challenging. Finding subjects of interest was pretty simple: just open your eyes. Composing a photograph without harsh light or a distracting background proved more challenging. There were opportunities, though, and the longer focal lengths with a narrower field of view were helpful in controlling background content. As a consequence, I made more portraits than full-length images.

The photographs I made are mostly of the women - and no wonder! Their clothes ranged from ornate finery of the upper class to simple fashions of the peasantry. And from Ladies to serfs, they all looked splendid and delightful. It was a refreshing change from the standard California fashion of brand-logo sweatshirts and blue jeans. All the women looked like women. Very nice. The photos shown on this page are among my favorites of the day. Many other women, equally lovely with clothes just as beautiful, are not shown here. These are the photos with which the light and background worked best.

I'll attend another of these "faires". This one drew a goodly crowd of pleasant and playful people, as the two photos at right suggest. They were fun, sociable, and sometimes a bit goofy; I fit right in. I hope to get more consistent results with the photography next time (I made some errors with the flash unit). I'd also like to get more full-length shots since the dresses were so splendid.

My sincere thanks to all the people - the men and the women, shown here or not for their cooperation and assistance in making the photographs. They were a delightful bunch, and were the highlights of a splendid day at the Faire.

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
All Rights Reserved