Halloween Ball At San Francisco City Hall

So I was invited to cover the Halloween Ball at the San Francisco City Hall on Friday (October 27th). I was looking forward to it since renting out City Hall is no small feat so it’s bound to be a big event. The crowd was expected to be several thousand so there would be plenty of photo opportunities. I typically don’t cover party events because party pictures pretty much look the same from one city to another. But a masquerade ball has some photographic value and it’s interesting to to see what people come up with from year to year. If you look back at costumes from past Halloweens, you’ll find that it often reflects the current events of that year. I remember dressing up as an anthrax laden envelope a few years back and once I dress up in a burka covered head to toe with a sash around me that read Miss Taliban.

I got to City Hall an hour after it started and the line was half a block long in both directions. But I’m not here to party but here to work so I go up to security at the front and ask where the press check-in was. As usual, they had no clue and pointed me to a lady holding up a sign that read “questions?”. She directed me to a ticket pickup table that was entirely covered by the people waiting in line. I wonder who the genius was who decided to put that there. I gave them my name and they tell me that they only covered the first half of the alphabet, the second half is inside. Ok, back to the front door. This time I bring along the lady with the question sign and she leads me pass front door security. Now I have to deal with the real security people. These are not rent-a-cops but bona fide San Francisco sheriff officers who handle security for this government building. At the metal detectors, I’m told I have to go around and enter from the side of the building because they don’t have time to check my bag that contained one camera and one flash. OK. Back out the main entrance and around to the side entrance where I find two sheriffs at a an x-ray machine with nothing to do. They scan my bag and everything is fine as far as they are concerned but there is no one there from the party to let me in. After 15 minutes, someone with the party did walk by and she was nice enough to escort me into the party. But wait! That’s not it. We have to go through the party and back out to the front entrance where the 2nd set of check in tables were located. She told them who I was with and they gave me a wrist band to go back into the party.

After all that, everything went really smooth. They did a great job lighting up the place and the place was already packed with party goers. Some of the costumes were really elaborate. As in previous years, girls with wings are really popular and there were more than a few cross dressers. Despite being very sore from carrying two cameras, I did manage to have a good time at the event. There were some notable moments in the night. I thought this was the most original costume. It didn’t look like something he just picked up at the Halloween store. The workmanship looked flawless. The most enthusiastic group was this group of Persians. They were having a great time and partying up a storm. Later, I ran into this woman who obviously wanted a lot more attention than I could have provided because I was busy shooting this little ladybug who for some reason was holding a head shot of Eric Estrada. As the party wrapped down, I took a few shots of this police officer who tells me she wants to get into modeling or acting. Apparently, she has dreams of becoming the next Jessica Alba. The conversation went something like this:

Her: “Do you think I can model?”

Me: “How tall are you?”

Her: “Five feet three.”

Me: “You’re too short. You’re never going to make any real money modeling because no agency will sign you.”

Her: “But I’ve been told I should model.”

Me: “Honey, I’m telling you this as someone whose not trying to get into your pants. You’re too short to model.”

Her: “Are you gay? Because that sounds like something someone gay would say.”

Me: “Listen, I’m not saying you’re not hot. I’m just giving you my professional opinion. Unless you’re willing to do glamor modeling as in taking off your clothes, you’re not going to get hired as a model.”

Her: “But there are photographers who wants to shoot me?”

Me: “Of course there are. If you don’t mind having your picture ending up in their private collection but it’s never going to be published in any magazines and you certainly are not going to get enough photographers to pay you to shoot you to quit your day job.”

It was an interesting exchange and not so unexpected. She’s just another hot chick with a dream. I wish her the best. Among the photography world, there is a derogatory term called ‘GWC’ which stands for Guy With Camera. It is a term used to describe a guy with a camera who promotes himself as a photographer just to meet hot chicks. As in “He’s not a real photographer, he’s just a guy with a camera.” There have been many attempts at coining a similar acronym for girls who have dreams of modeling but just don’t cut it when it comes to qualifications. Some of the terms that have been thrown out are CWS (Chick with snapshot) or CWA (Chick With Aspirations) but none have really taken. The search continues.


Halloween Ball At San Francisco City Hall

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