Dakota Fine
Dakota Fine Credit: Joel Didriksen

The Afflicted: Dakota Fine, 26-year-old freelance photographer who documents District nightlife. His after-hours shots have popped up in Brightest Young Things, the Post, and the Examiner.

Diagnosis: A case of anonymous alcoholics. “I carry 5,000-7,000 dollars’ worth of camera gear into crowds of raging idiots,” Fine says. Then he tries to make them look good. Sometimes, it’s hard: “At any given event, I will get drunk people belligerently telling me to take pictures of them, and drunk people belligerently telling me to not take pictures of them,” he says.

Symptoms: Sass overdose. When zooming in on disco-ball-lit dancers, Fine struggles to navigate both the camera-shy and the flash-frenzied. At one Saki lounge after-party, Fine was stalked by an energy-drink representative who had had one too many. “She not only wanted to be in every picture,” says Fine. “She wanted to be in every picture making the Zoolander face.” But in the case of sometimes “surly bar owners,” Fine may be asking for the attitude. “I’m a short guy, and I’ll do anything to get a shot,” says Fine, “including standing on expensive leather couches.”

Treatment: Full disclosure. Fine deals with insistent subjects by opening his mouth along with his lens. “If I’m taking a picture of you, you’ll know it,” says Fine. Beyond that, he leaves getting in the shot—or getting out of it—up to the partygoer. If you want in, “wear a hot-pink jumpsuit that screams ‘pay attention to me,’” says Fine. If you don’t, “just walk away. I won’t follow you.” Either way, Fine facilitates the process by laying off the sauce himself. “It helps that at least I am sober,” he says. —Amanda Hess

Artist with a problem? E-mail problem@washingtoncitypaper.com.