How a furry encounter on a train led Laura Schaeffer to the Eurofurence convention

Shedding light on the misunderstood subculture, Laura lets us in behind the scenes.

29 November 2023


“Shortly after moving to Berlin in 2019, I saw a person in a fursuit on a packed subway train and was quite intrigued by the experience,” Laura Schaeffer recalls, contextualising the photographer’s subversive series documenting Germany’s furry convention, Eurofurence. “Growing up in a small town, where I never really felt I belonged, I have always felt fond of subcultures,” she continues, “and seeing how people create their own communities and find togetherness even if they may have felt like outsiders.” This experience led her to look more into the furry scene before finally attending the 2023 annual show. “I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to be perceived initially,” Laura explains, taking on the role of an outsider looking through the keyhole. “So I proceeded carefully; it was important to me to create a fun colourful portrait that felt respectful and appreciative rather than voyeuristic.” This has resulted in thoughtful, ephemeral tableaus that capture vibrant, fleeting, human moments. “I was happy to find that people were really welcoming and helpful,” she adds, “giving me pointers about things I shouldn’t miss and spots to check out.” 

GalleryLaura Schaeffer: Eurofurence (Copyright © Laura Schaeffer, 2023)

Composed of a compelling mixture of staged portraits and candid, bottled scenes, Laura’s Eurofurence series paints a picture of a community at its most together. “I’m particularly drawn to the moments that tell a bit of a story,” Laura says, “either showing people in full fursuit reading a paper or interacting with others,” alongside more textural imagery that details the craftsmanship behind the suits themselves. “I am intrigued by how these surreal elements clash with mundane reality,” she adds, turning to how people may react to the collection. “Doing my research, I’ve noticed there are quite a few stereotypes and cliches surrounding the furry subculture,” Laura suggests, believing these to come from a broad lack of familiarity with the community, which she intends to combat. “My aim in documenting the convention was to provide more context and emphasise the joy within the community,” she concludes. “Perhaps, the images could contribute to people challenging their preconceptions a little and see the subculture in a different light.”

GalleryLaura Schaeffer: Eurofurence (Copyright © Laura Schaeffer, 2023)

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Laura Schaeffer: Eurofurence (Copyright © Laura Schaeffer, 2023)

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About the Author

Harry Bennett

Hailing from the West Midlands, and having originally joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020, Harry is a freelance writer and designer – running his own independent practice, as well as being one-half of the Studio Ground Floor.

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