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Target-Rich Environments

September 7, 2009

I took the family to the Pennsylvania Rennaisance Faire yesterday. It was the first time for all of us.

The Faire (that’s really how they spell it) was interesting. If you’ve never been, it’s something of a fantasy anachronism of medieval England. You have to overlook some glaring historical inaccuracies if you are to enjoy yourself there. If you can do that, it really is a good time. A large number of hired actors play characters from the time. All of the vendors get in on the act as well. Then there are the visitors.

Of course it’s very much like Disneyland where you have all the staff who is in character plus a kajillion visitors walking around in shorts and t-shirts. But you also get some people who really get into it and wear princess costumes and the like. Well the same is true of the Renaissance Fair, only on perhaps an even more pervasive scale.

So many people seem to like the concept of the Faire, and its accompanying freedom to adopt a new persona, that a fair number of visitors dress up and assume roles as well. You see princesses, fairies, knights, noblemen, gentry, beggars, gypsies, jesters, shepherds, pirates, swashbucklers, gnomes, maidens, damsels, wenches, crones and many other characters you perhaps can’t quite make out except to know that they are characters.

There are organized activities and demonstrations but much of it is really very ad hoc. It’s meant to be a “typical” medieval village in which the villagers all interact naturally with one another. In truth, there is very little that is “natural” about any of it (except perhaps the universal goal of separating you from as much of your money as possible) but visually, it is a very target-rich environment.

I took several hundred photos using two different cameras. It will take me a while to process them but here are two that struck me as nice straight out of the camera.



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