This week to chat to are very own crew member Anna about her cosplay journey, then picking up the camera and what she like to do with the rest of her cosplay journey.
What got you into cosplay?
I originally got into cosplay because an old high school friend of mine called me up 2 days before MCM and told me that she was taking me to an anime convention and that I should bring a costume and a camera. I went and felt a little left out because her friends and her had been working on costumes for months so I decided to start a costume for myself for the next con. I had so much fun learning to sew and making the costume i just kept going
How do you explain cosplay to friends/family member who don’t know this hobby?
I usually I tell people that I make costumes for fun and that occasionally I’ll wear it to model the costumes. Most people I talk to already know what cosplay is and usually respect it and are very impressed when I say I make everything myself.
What are you favourite franchises?
Oh god. There are a few. RWBY, Avatar, Critical Role and the Witcher are amongst the top. I’m also a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series, any Bioware game and Tomb Raider
You have cosplayed some very strong characters. Which have you enjoyed cosplaying the most?
It’s either Yang or Korra for different reasons. Both resonate a lot with me and I feel are very similar to me. With Korra I just feel powerful and badass and free in a way. With Yang I also feel super badass, I usually notice my walk changing as I get the cosplay on although I’m still getting to grips with revealing so much skin with Yang.
I’ve noticed your cosplay doesn’t reveal much skin. Is there a reason for that?
I’ve never been 100% comfortable in my own skin. While i’ve never thought I was ugly because I was never told I was ugly, I’ve always felt fat. Being part asian, your weight and commenting on your weight isn’t taboo like it is in Europe and a lot of people call me fat when I’m in Asia and it helped me develop a complex about showing any kind of skin or wearing spandex.
There has been a lot of stories where you have persuaded people to cosplay. Is this true and how do you get your way?
Excuse me it’s not “persuading”, I bully people into cosplays. Mostly so that I can take photos of them or because I want to make the costume. I usually convince people into cosplaying because I think it will suit them but then I offer to help them make the costume itself once they’ve watched the show. I will never actually force someone to cosplay something they are uncomfortable with. Most people will usually take me up on the offer once I offer them my help haha.
You’re a very talent person who is an accomplished seamstress, cosplayer and photographer. Which one do you enjoy most?
At the moment I’m really enjoying Photography most followed by sewing and being a seamstress. I love creating things whether it’s a costume or a photo. I enjoy the freedom I get with photography to just create my own work and my own images. Stuff I never got while I cosplayed
Cosplaying has always been a bit iffy for me because of my self esteem issues, I only really did it because I felt like i put so much effort into making the costumes I might as well wear them. Having said that I’ve had some amazing times and amazing memories from cosplaying, like my Team RWBY or while cosplaying Avatar
Looking at your photography, you have a very nice “storytelling” style. How did you develop that skill?
I’m not really sure how I developed it to be honest. I was looking through my photos from when i first started cosplay photography back in 2010 and I was doing it then too. I still do it now because I realised that cosplay photography is fucking boring. Everyone shoots the same photos with the same people so nowadays I try and create something different.
I’m a cosplayer AND a photographer. I know what cosplayers want, especially those who are super passionate about fandoms and those who spend hours creating the most beautiful costumes. We don’t ONLY want power poses and portraits, we want to tell stories, to recreate our favourite scenes from shows and franchises we like.
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"We are gods" I started doing some photography editing streams recently on the @foodandcosplay Twitch channel. Keep an eye on our twitter to see when I'm doing them. This is a photo I edited last nigh Keyleth: @xaiguemarinex #criticalrolecosplay #keyleth #cosplay #criticalrole #dungeonsanddragons #germancosplay
I know your family are established photographer in their field. Has you family been involved in your projects or been encouraging in your hobby?
For the longest time my family didnt really care too much about my photography OR my cosplay. My parents haven’t lived with me for 15 years (since i was a teenager) so they just saw photos from the conventions. One year they were home while i was con crunching for LFCC and they saw me sewing and as soon as they saw what I was doing they supported me so much (both my grandmothers used to sew).
Then I started doing photography quietly on the side. I’ve always been overshadowed by other members of my family doing photography so I never showed them anything. Then one day I took a chance because I was so excited about one particular photo and sent it to my dad. He was so shocked that I’d been quietly working on the hobby and I got to such a high level he offered to pay for me to do a photography degree (which I Didn’t) so instead he forced my brother, who is a Broncolor ambassador, to help me where he could in terms of lighting and equipment.
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"There are only so many lives I can value and i decided who those people were six years ago" Mikasa: @tennyoceleste Trivia time -this is the only cosplay photo I have ever taken that my dad truly likes. He doesn't understand cosplay so he doesn't understand cosplay photography but he loved this picture. #mikasaackerman #attackontitan #shingekinokyojin #snk #yyccosplay #horses #alberta #countryside #tennyocelesteweek
Do you think that being a cosplayer help you be a better photographer?
Oh for sure I think it does. One of the things that used to bother me a lot as a cosplayer was that photographers never cared about the costumes or the hair. Before I take a photo, or sometimes while I’m shooting, I will always do a once over on the costume and wig. Does the wig need brushing? Are collars where they’re supposed to be? Have belts slipped up? Have boot covers flopped over? Does the shirt need to be tugged down?
I feel like paying attention to these details that were always overlooked in my own cosplay images helps me to produce higher quality images
What advice would you give as a photographer to a cosplayer when being photographed?
Always ask what is in frame. Is the photographer shooting you from your waist up or full body? Also ALWAYS brush your wig or get someone to check your hair!
Is there a photographer which inspires you?
There are a few photographers who inspire me but they aren’t really cosplay photographers. I love Von Wong, who tells these beautiful stories with his photos without using photoshop. He creates these elaborate scenes in real life, whether it’s getting models in ballgowns in a coral reef amongst sharks, or hanging a guy in a wheelchair off the side of a building or chasing tornadoes. His photography just inspires me so much about how you can use photography to tell a story
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Seeing this shot come together as the sun was setting and rain misting over was such a magical experience. These shots require so much effort to put together with no guarantees of success. Thankfully the blue mountains adventure company pulled through to make this shot happen. 😍
Which would you like to be known for most between the seamstress, Cosplayer or Photographer ?
I would most like to be known as a photographer, to be honest. I used to care a little bit about cosplay fame but then I realised no one cared about me as a cosplayer, everyone cared about my friends who were more popular. No one wanted to work with me to create the images I wanted.
So Instead I shifted my focus to being a photographer. I can create my own images with high level cosplayers who don’t usually get invited to shoot. On top of that, because I’m female and I am a cosplayer myself I find that people trust me more and are more willing to work with me.
I want to be known as a cosplay photographer who cares about her images and is willing to try new things with her photos.
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"If I make a mistake and the 귀신 get through us….we lose.. .everything" I tried something totally different today at @ps.spaces with the lights. It was fun doing it with a D.Va cosplay too who is normally shot in such happy photos D.Va : @daotse #overwatch #overwatchcosplay #dva #yyccosplay #psspaces #studiophotography #cosplayphotography #broncolor
Money is no object, which cosplay and location you love to shoot at (both as a cosplayer and photographer)?
Oh gosh, ok. Let me think about this.
Ok so as a photographer, my ideal photoshoot would be to get Russian cosplayer Narga, from Narga and Aoki Cosplay, in her Jaina Proudmoore cosplay and to do a shoot with her on the HMS Victory. Ideally out at sea but it is an old ship and it’s in a drydock now so I’d totally understand if they can’t take the ship out.
As a cosplayer, hm…..I would like to have a shoot dressed in my Korra cosplay with my Team Avatar with me and we’d have a shoot with a ferret and a polar bear. I’m not sure if I’d do it in a city or in a snowy environment though.
To Follow Anna cosplay and photography, here are her social page.
Photography – Instagram