Photographing Cosplay

When I was a kid I went to my local comic book shop with my dad. When we arrived, the place was packed full of people because of a comic book signing that was going on.  As we tried to walk in the crammed space, we saw a man dressed up in a homemade Batman costume waiting in line, clutching his comic books. My dad looked at him, rolled his eyes, and said, "Ok, we're getting out of here.  The weirdos have arrived."

My dads comment might sound mean and judgmental, but back then cosplay wasn't socially acceptable.  If you dressed up in the costume of your favorite superhero and went out in public, it meant that you had no job, didn't shower, and lived in your parents basement.  Today, however, this is not the case.  Now, millions of cosplayers every year attend conventions, parties, special events, parades, and more.  If you go to a comicon now and you're not dressed up, you're the one out of place.  I think this shift in public opinion has happened due to the internet. Its given cosplayers the ability to show the world how fun it can be dressing up like a hero and going places with your friends. The public has also seen the art that's involved in the world of cosplay; the costumes that people make are really amazing, and they get better with each passing year. 

Cosplay is one of our favorite genres to photograph.  Our subjects have so much passion for what they do and the things they create.  We're constantly blown away by the costumes and props people bring in.  It's very important to us that we capture all of that hard work and creativity in a way that really brings it to life.  Most cosplayers that come to us bring in costumes that are based off either movies or comic books, so that's what we make our final images look like.  We have the ability to do this because we have deep roots in filmmaking and film history, and that knowledge guides us to our final images. Rich and I never set out to just take a photo, our goal is to tell a story.  When we plan out a shot we pick a look and pose that will be striking enough so when people look at it they can fill in the before and after story in their own mind.  Then we just stand back, cross our fingers, and hope it worked.

Model: Lauren Oh

Model: Lauren Oh

Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger

Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger

Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy

Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy