This project has been a great way for me to start exploring different forms of escapism and will enable me to carry on future projects based around the subject. Through photographing cosplayers at conventions I have been able to make strong connections with the people I have photographed which will allow for me to have future opportunities to work with them. This project has also allowed for to gain more confidence as I have been having to talk to people when I wish to photograph them, I have also talked to other photographers and businesses about my project. Taking the images for this project has allowed me to experiment with flash and different lenses to see which work best for my subjects. I wish to continue taking photographs of cosplayers and concerts after college as well as exploring in other genres to build a strong portfolio. I met more people I now consider mentors who are interested in the subject matter who will be able to advise me when I leave college.
The locations for conventions are sometimes a problem as their backgrounds and lighting make it difficult to work in, luckily I have been able to experiment with flash and know how to overcome these for future events. Weather was also an issue early on in this project as it was unpredictable and meant that a lot of cosplay images had to be taken inside convention halls. As summer is now approaching I will be able to do more outdoor shoots on locations which will fit the cosplayers characters and allow me to improve my editing. This project falls before the largest UK convention which is an inconvenience however this experience will allow me to continue my work after college and make more connections. The amount of conventions I attended this year was far more than I have attended in the past, however there wasn’t many conventions going on around at the time of my project. If money was no issue I would have attended more of the smaller conventions and made my photobook larger in size to show off my images more. Overall I felt the project went well and I wish to improve on it after college and continue to see progression in my images.
This weekend I went on a cosplay shoot at Bolsover castle with a group of friends in cosplay. I did not attend as a photographer this time, I was one of the models. Me and my friends were all cosplaying from the same franchise, Diabolik Lovers. The location chosen fit the characters well as they are vampires and live in a large old mansion and some of the inside locations looked similar to that of their home.
It was different to be on the other side of the lens. Posing for images at a convention and being on a photoshoot are two completely different things. At a convention you are able to pull a quick pose and everyone’s happy as it’s typically the same pose you do for everyone who asks for a picture but on a shoot you need to keep doing different ones. The photographer on the shoot after some talking understood that I wasn’t used to being on the other side of a camera and helped direct me.
After the first few shots I started to become more comfortable and saw this as something I could learn from as I now understood how some models are feeling when I photograph them. The day was very eye opening to me as talking with the photographer and discussing cameras/lighting and ideas for shoots allowed for me to come up with more shoot ideas of my own. Talking about posing and the difference just moving the eyes to different positions can make on an image, talking about what images we all liked and didn’t like was also insightful as we had to explain what we liked and why we didn’t like them. At one point during the day I acted as the photographer’s assistant and was in charge of holding the flash in the right positions for the images, making sure it wasn’t too harsh and was illuminating the areas he wanted. I have added the photographer so I feel there is potential for us to keep in contact and ask each other for feedback on our images, he has asked us all to be models for another one of his projects.
what I learnt on the weekend shoot is going to help me with my future shoots.
(My sister is having to crouch down on this image to allow for them to be the accurate height for their character compared to the character I’m cosplaying)
I conducted another survey this time looking into statistics of who actually cosplays, how old they were when they first cosplayed and the reason why they chose the first person they cosplayed. The survey was shared on facebook where 19 people saw it and took the time to fill it in. The survey group was a lot smaller than the first survey I conducted.
The answers I received were interesting as it allowed me to see the amount of time and money people are spending on their cosplays, it was also interesting to see why people chose their first cosplay. It was interesting to see how old the surveyors are and how old they were when they first got into cosplaying and to see how long they have been cosplaying for.
My photo book arrived today so I quickly grabbed my phone and filmed a quick video to show people how it looked. I am extremely happy with how the photobook looks and the presentation box makes it appear professional. I decided to get matt paper for this book instead of glossy like my first photobook I ordered from this company. The photobook has a padded cover which allows it to feel like it’s worth something.
The response I’ve had from people on facebook after them seeing the video is encouraging and delightful to see all the cosplayers I befriended from cons become overwhelmed because I have used images of them.
May 26-28 The largest UK “Mordern Pop Culture” convention is happening, however this is after my deadline for this project which is a rather large inconvenience.
I have already been asked to do two shoots while I am attending London MCM and will be photographing people at the meets I have planned to attend. I am only going to be attending on the Friday and Saturday as on the Sunday I will be attending Slamdunk Festival in Leeds.
As I write this a majority of the tickets available are close to selling out, the weekend priority tickets sold out the quickest.
Often cosplayers will spend all their time trying to perfect their cosplays for this one event as it’s that big of an occasion for some. There are many large cosplay events such as the masquerades and the world cosplay summit competition which is one of the longest and most famous international cosplay contests. At london there is also going to be the International Cosplay League which is a rather new international contest which are holding qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday, one for a team of two and another for solo entries which is based on their craftsmanship. These competitions finals are going to be taking place in Spain and Japan.
London is going to be a busy weekend for me, this is is my first time attending so I plan to use the thursday I go down to london to scope out the environment outside to see where would be best to do outdoor shoots (weather depending). I will use the friday to get used to the area and join in my friends, a cosplayer who I actually met for the first time and Birmingham MCM, Final Fantasy shoot which we have been planning for over a month and have an album full of poses we wish to use.
When I photograph people this time, I will be able to hand out my business cards I had printed so instead of just telling people I will post the album in the MCM group on facebook they can find my page directly using my cards.
For my final project I wanted to display my work as a photobook. I looked at several photobook companies before coming across Saal Digital who had an offer to test out their photo books. I was happy with my first photobook from them which I now use as my portfolio so I used them again for my final product. These are example pages from the photobook on Saal’s own design software.
I chose this image as the first image of the photo book because I personally find it to be an interesting image. The bright colours of the wigs and outfits are eye catching and will hopefully lead to people wanting to see more.
I chose these images of fabrics and other important components to making cosplay to show people the range of fabrics, coloured thread and button types are available to them if they were to consider making cosplay or even their own clothes.
I included these images to show someone making a cosplay and how people make them in their homes and to show dedication to making cosplay. The fact that they are using ornaments to weigh down the pattern pieces instead of using pins which will damage the fabric.
I included these images to show wig restoration and wig styling, I included these wigs because of the way they have been styled and how different they appear. I included a close up of the roots on the Prompto wig to show the effort which has been put into making sure the wig is as accurate to the character as possible as well as making it seem more natural. The red boxes seen on the above images are not on the photobook, they are just there to inform me that the text is close to the edge of the page.
I have chose to set out the above images in such a way so that the outer images are facing towards each other allowing the the viewers eyes to travel across the page and back to the centre image.
I chose these images as I felt they were my personal best image from the convention. The reason I chose the 2nd image on the right is because of how long I spent editing the image making sure that all of the hay sections on the wheel of the cosplayers back were cut out before I comped them back on the washed out background.
I chose these images because I felt like they were strong solo and group shots outside. I feel like these images show what cosplayers are like when they are able to pose for their images and be serious about the characters they are doing. With the exception of the image in the bottom right corner.
I chose this as the final image in my book because it perfectly sums up conventions and cosplay to me. People in costumes making friends and just in general having a fun time in each others company. It also features a giant prop which is common for cosplay conventions, even with certain con regulations people still find ways to bring their characters props to life.
I was encouraged by my tutor to have a go creating my own characters. Using what I have in my wardrobe and the numerous wigs I own from cosplaying I created these two.
The character on the left is Leena Heijeon (I created this name using a name generator as I didn’t know what would fit her.) The character on the left is Haka Shi (which roughly translates from Japanese to Grave Death). I wanted to create two completely different looking characters, one who was colourful and bright and one that was dark and mysterious looking. I have created original characters in the past but they have mostly been drawings, I’ve never used cosplay to create characters first. I have never thought of cosplaying my own Original Character yet I have been interested in cosplaying one of the artists I know’s characters.
Kirai, his name basically means hate
Here are some examples of my original characters I have created in the past. Leo, the drawing with the blonde hair was my first original character and has undergone many different looks since I created him. He has to be my favourite Original Character I have created, I have moulded his personality and character traits, and he has grown with me. Kirai, the drawing with the green hair and gas mask is one of my most recent original characters. He doesn’t usually wear the gas mask I was just trying different looks with him and wanted to try drawing him in an apocalypse looking fashion . He does usually have a little surgical mask which covers his face with an X on and a blue military looking jacket and black ripped skinny jeans. His look is very biker looking, I created him with the sole reason to put him into the Tokyo Ghoul universe but I feel like he would be able to adapt to fit any universe I wish to put him in.
People create original characters as it allows them to create stories and use their imagination. These characters will take on any personality traits and ideas you allow. They allow you to create your own little world, sometimes choose to put their characters into existing universes such as anime’s and these characters then will adapt to fit the shows characteristics. For example my Original Character Leo as seen above has been designed so he was able to fit in with the anime, Tokyo Ghoul. I gave him ghoul eyes and designed his own kagune for him. They sometimes are used to allow you to put part of yourself into the universe, this then allows you to come up with a background and other information about your character. These original characters are very much like those which writers come up with, people will even use their ocs in fanfiction they write.
My Original Character Leo designed to fit in with the Tokyo Ghoul universe.