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ta b le o f c o n t en ts 6.

Enayla cosplay

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Ryan cooper of vancosplay photography

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My journey with mental health and cosplay BY ABBADON

summer cosplay photography WITH BARBIE WI OF ASGARD BARBIE COSPLAY & CHRIS NORTON, INFINITYSPIRAL PHOTOGRAPHER

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summer colours BY TENACIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Cos Culture Magazine is owned and operated by NH Creative Inc. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Nikko Marie ASSISTANT COPY EDITOR: Patrick Webb ASSISTANT: Danica Dela Cruz PUBLISHER: NH Creative Inc. CONTACT: info@cosculturemagazine.com www.fb.com/cosculturemagazine ISSN 2368-2578 PUBLISHER:

NH Creative Inc. August, 2016 info@nhcreative.ca www.nhcreative.ca

DISCLAIMER:

Copyrights of all included text, photos and other material used in this edition of Cos Culture Magazine are the property of their respective owners, and have been graciously provided to us for use in this magazine by the owner of each work. All efforts have been made to credit sources of inspiration and owners of original characters for each cosplay. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our publisher at info@nhcreative.ca.

FRONT COVER IMAGE:

Enayla Cosplay as Cullen, Dragon Age: Inquisition Photography by Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography

BACK COVER IMAGE:

Enayla Cosplay in Orrian Armour, Guild Wars 2 Photography by Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography

ENAYLA cosplay, asura and golem from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I’m beyond excited about this issue because I get to feature one of my all-time favourite cosplayers and one of my all-time favourite cosplay photographers! Enayla Cosplay is known for her intricate and highly-detailed builds. Her work has been a constant inspiration to me as a cosplayer, and I always look forward to seeing what projects she’s going to work on next. Her femme Cullen absolutely blew me away. And I’m equally as excited to feature Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography again. I know we featured him in a past digital issue, but I really felt that his work deserved being published in print, as well. So, my apologies for those of you who have read the mini digital issue already, but we’ve beefed up the interview and included brand new images that have never been published in our magazine before. His work is absolutely top class, and what makes it even better is that he and Enayla Cosplay have teamed up on a number of projects, which we’re fortunate enough to be including in this issue.

how the cosplay community has helped her overcome so much. We hope that by sharing her story, we may be able to help out others in similar situations. This issue also includes some great summer photography by some great cosplayers and photographers, with tips and tricks on how to achieve fantastic summertime shots.

I’m also thrilled to be featuring an article from my friend Abbadon Cosplay on the topic of mental health and cosplay. She talks about her very personal experience with mental health and shares

Nikko Marie

This issue, like the last, is very photography heavy. There are simply so many amazing photos to share with everyone! Our next issue will feature a whole bunch of amazing cosplay tutorials, which I am also very excited about. If you’re looking for some great tips and tricks on how to make high-quality and gory Halloween costumes, then be sure to check out our next issue coming out in October. That’s all for now – I hope you enjoy! With love,

ENAYLA cosplay, orrian armour from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Photographed by Ryan Cooper of Vancosplay Photography

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enayla cosplay, masquerade armour from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF VANcosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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enayla cosplay, cullen from dragon age: inquisition PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY

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ENayla cosplay Cos Culture: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Enayla: I’m Enayla, a cosplayer from the U.S. specializing in costumes that are oversized, highly detailed, or otherwise present some sort of engineering challenge. I’ve been cosplaying for nearly ten years now, and I’m so excited to see how widespread cosplay has become; I’m constantly picking up new techniques and playing with new materials. Out of cosplay, I’m a programmer, gamer, and dabbler in photography and 3D art. Cos Culture: When did you first get into cosplay? Enayla: I’ve always been a gamer and have generally been into nerd culture, but it was actually my parents that indirectly introduced me to cosplay. My mother is an artist and father is really into comic books, so we decided that a trip to San Diego Comic Con would make a great family vacation. I was blown away by the amazing costumes and by just seeing characters that I loved walking around in real life, and tackled my first cosplay soon after! Cos Culture: CAN YOU Tell us about some of your favourite cosplays? Enayla: Two of my favourite (and most extensive) projects are GLaDOS from Portal 2 and a Golem from Guild Wars 2. GLaDOS is a robot who hangs from the ceiling and antagonizes the player character with witty insults and dripping sarcasm. She was an instant favourite of mine, and one which I considered for a long time as that impossible dream

cosplay. I ended up building a 6’x6’x4’ structure (complete with vines, graffiti, and rubble to match the game environment) and suspended myself upside down from a custom harness in armour as accurate a match to GLaDOS’ body as possible for someone with human proportions.

“...I’m always inspired by the work of other artists; there’s nothing like seeing someone’s incredible detail or interesting use of textiles or impressive armour build to give me that extra motivation to push the envelope in my own projects.” All in all, it was about two years in the planning, four months in the making, and easily the most fun I’ve had interacting with convention-goers in cosplay. My Guild Wars 2 Golem is one of my more recent cosplays, finished over about a year. I had wanted to cosplay an Asura, one of the two-foot-tall races from the game, but needed something to give her scale. Luckily, Asura summon massive robots which they use as exoskeletons for tough fights, so I decided to build one! It stands about five feet wide and nine feet tall, and was designed so that I could climb into it. I love this build because my own accompanying costume is quite comfortable and mobile, and yet it’s such an epic feeling to pose next to this giant creature!

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enayla cosplay, asura and golem from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF Vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations for cosplay? Enayla: First and foremost, I’m inspired by the source material. Cosplay is my way of showing love and appreciation for a character or series, so I’ll often have cutscenes or dialogue playing in the background while I work. Cos Culture: How do you choose your next cosplays? What factors do you look for in a character or design? Enayla: My initial criteria for choosing a new cosplay are pretty simple: I have to have a strong connection to the character/game, and the design has to appeal to me. Beyond that, I try to choose characters that will push me craftsmanship-wise; I’m always interested in learning new skills or techniques. Cos Culture: You have done so many incredibly detailed and complex costumes. Can you tell us about your process? Enayla: All of my really large builds start with at least a few months of planning. It’s really necessary for these complicated projects, where I have to coordinate acquiring materials for working on so many pieces. I do a ton of sketching beforehand, gather reference images from every angle, and then start on my mock-ups. For a primarily fabric costume, that means massacring a bunch of thrift-store bed sheets and testing patterns; for structured or engineering-heavy ones, it’s building a few small prototypes. Only once I have everything figured out do I start construction with my final fabric and material. After that, it’s just adding details! Cos Culture: What has been your proudest moment as a cosplayer? Enayla: Finally completing GLaDOS and bringing it to a convention was definitely a major highlight of my cosplay career. That build was my chance to take something that couldn’t possibly exist and bring it to real life. It was incredibly rewarding to find a workable solution, and I always get the best response from fans of the character who never expected it to be cosplayed.

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enayla cosplay, masquerade armour from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF VANcosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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enayla cosplay, asura and golem from guild wars 2 AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: can you tell us about your amazing golem? Enayla: My Guild Wars 2 Golem was definitely my largest project to date (just over nine feet tall!), and had all of the logistical challenges that accompany something of that scale. I spent a great deal of time sketching out dimensions, making wire mock-ups, and otherwise planning my build before starting with the final materials.

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I constructed the base structure from PVC pipe so that it could break down for transportation. The ‘skin’ was made from EVA foam, sealed with Plastidip, and hand-painted with acrylics. In-game, the golem has a bunch of glowing gems, so I cast 22 custom spheres in resin with embedded LED lights and wired them up (definitely one of the most complex aspects, as the arms/legs/body all disconnect but run off a single battery). The whole thing breaks down small enough to fit in my car to transport to conventions, although it’s a several-hour reconstruction process, so it doesn’t get out as often as I’d like!


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enayla cosplay, asura and golem from guild wars 2 AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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enayla cosplay, cullen from dragon age: inquisition PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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thanks , t h g u a t f l d letely se “I’m comp experimentation an f on to years o alth of information e the wide w t.” the interne play os - Enayla C

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enayla cosplay, asura and golem from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF VANCosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: What do you find the most challenging when it comes to crafting? Enayla: As with anything, one of the biggest challenges in cosplay is overcoming failure. As cosplayers, we’re constantly working with brand new materials, trying out techniques that have never been used before, and otherwise exploring new territory. Understandably, then, there are times when a costume piece just doesn’t work out. I’ve had to scrap pieces where I miscalculated the fit of a garment or my resin cast leaked or my fabric dye came out the wrong color...and as a meticulously frugal person, that’s always hard to bounce back from! But in the end, I’m all the more proud of the successfully completed costume. Cos Culture: Are you self-taught? Enayla: I’m completely self-taught, thanks to years of experimentation and the wide wealth of information on the internet. I chanced upon a $20 sewing machine at a yard sale and decided to learn how to sew. After a few simple dresses using basic sewing patterns, I tackled my first cosplay, and soon fell in love with the whole hobby! Cos Culture: What are your favourite materials to work with? Enayla: I started out sewing and have been doing so the longest, so that’s definitely my strength. Fabric is one of the more forgiving materials, as you can just take out a seam if you make a mistake! I’ve been getting more into armour in my past few projects, with thermoplastic like Worbla being my go-to material. For my larger structured builds, I’m a big fan of PVC pipe because it’s inexpensive, versatile, and easy to break down for transport.

Cos Culture: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into cosplay? Enayla: If you’re thinking of getting involved in cosplay, the first thing I’d tell you is to go for it! Every part of the process is so much fun, and the community is such a wonderfully inclusive, helpful group of people. For those just starting out, I’d suggest tackling a simpler project at first and give yourself plenty of time to finish it. If you can, try to find a more experienced cosplayer as a mentor; most of us are more than happy to give advice or point you to a helpful tutorial. If you start feeling overwhelmed, just take a step back and remember that cosplay doesn’t need to be taken too seriously: in the end, we’re all just nerds dressing up as fictional characters! Cos Culture: What plans do you have for the future? Enayla: I have a list of tentative future cosplays a mile long, but my immediate projects are both additions to my Dragon Age Cullen cosplay. I’m working on a giant banner prop to carry in lieu of a weapon, as well as a simple Inquisitor costume for my boyfriend to wear when he attends conventions with me. The latter will be my first foray into men’s clothing, so I need all the luck I can get! Cos Culture: Do you take commissions? Enayla: I do take commissions on occasion, but generally only for company promotions. As much as I’d love to take on a hundred projects at once, it’s often hard for me to find time to work on my own cosplays! You can find more of Enayla Cosplay's work here: Facebook: www.fb.com/EnaylaCosplay Twitter: www.twitter.com/EnaylaCosplay DeviantArt: Elliria.deviantart.com Tumblr: Enayla.tumblr.com

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enayla cosplay, masquerade armour from guild wars 2 PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF Vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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emmabelish as auriel, diablo PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY 26

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hendo art as kitty pride PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY 28

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Cos Culture: How long have you been into photography? Ryan Cooper: About six or seven years now. When I was younger I actually had very little interest in photography, preferring illustration. However, I never was very good at it so found my passion for photography when I realized that I could leverage the camera to create what I envisioned, as I actually envisioned it. Cos Culture: Which photographers or artists influence you and your work? Ryan Cooper: More than any other I’d have to say Bill Watterson. Calvin and Hobbes doesn’t really have much to do with what I do but the pure creativity and Bill’s mastery of storytelling has been one of my most powerful inspirations since I was a wee little tyke. Other than that I can’t ignore the influence the artists over at Blizzard Entertainment have had on my life. The art style of their games has been a driving force throughout my life and it was the magical worlds that they create which led me to falling in love with geekdom. Cos Culture: Given your name, we can assume you work mostly in Vancouver. Do you ever travel outside of the city for your photography? Ryan Cooper: For the most part we stick to Vancouver. I, personally, have a rather large furry dependant that makes travel quite difficult. We are planning to attend Blizzcon this year, though! Cos Culture: Do you shoot on-location or in studio? Which do you prefer? Ryan Cooper: Both! Though the majority of my cosplay work has been shot in studio. Mostly because studio gives me the freedom to build virtually any scene around the character that isn’t limited to what I can find in the Vancouver area. As a whole I love both shooting outside and in studio depending on my mood. I love the adventure of being on location but the pristine image quality of studio controlled light is also something that I very deeply covet.

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tion, a c o l n o eing b f o e r u t udio t n s e v f d o a y e t h quali e g “I love t a m i very e I n t i a t s h i t r g p n ethi m o s but the o s l a t is h g i l d e l l o er p o o contr C n a ” - Ry . t e v o c y l deep

hendo art as scarlet witch PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY 30

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the starktorialist as mAd moxxi PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: How long have you been shooting cosplay? What made you first interested in this type of photography? Ryan Cooper: It has been about two years now. Before then I didn’t even know what cosplay was. I had this vague idea that people dressed up to go to conventions but I had always assumed they just went over to the local halloween store and bought a cheap costume. I had no idea about the level of quality and passion that I would find. Before cosplay I worked largely with actresses and fashion models until one day I photographed an actress who also happened to be a cosplayer. Stacey Roy is now one of my best friends and my business partner. Cos Culture: Your photos have quite an iconic and recognizable ethereal quality to them. How did you develop that style? ryan cooper: I’d say my style grew pretty naturally. I’ve loved compositing since long before I considered picking up a camera. My background is in graphic design so Photoshop has been a staple of my life since I was in high school. Back then I used to find random photos online and composite them for fun. I think you could probably see the roots of my style even all the way back then, if I was to ever dig them up. Generally speaking, I’m looking to create an “epic” sense of story when I shoot a photo. I want to - if only for a moment - tear the viewer from reality and place them within a mythical story. I will leave it to you to decide if I succeed or not.

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Cos Culture: Is there one defining or extremely memorable moment in your photographic career t hat you can share with us? Ryan Cooper: I started out as a landscape photographer. I actually didn’t have any interest in shooting people at all. At the time I was content to be a hobbyist and had no aspirations to change. Then, one cold day when I was back in Edmonton, I saw an advertisement for a workshop that legendary photographer Joe McNally was holding in Calgary. To this day I don’t know why I felt compelled to bus down to attend something I had no interest in. But some part of my subconscious tore at my interest and I ended up attending his portrait lighting workshop!

That workshop changed my life. Joe lit one hell of a passionate fire in me.


stacey roy as celty PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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darshelle s tevens as johanna, heroes of the storm PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: Do you have any tips for cosplayers in terms of how to approach a photographer that they want to work with? Ryan Cooper: I would hope, at least for most photographers, that it is pretty easy. Be upfront and contact them directly. Don’t be afraid, we almost never bite. Have a budget in mind that you feel comfortable investing if the photographer is a professional and don’t take it too harshly if that budget is insufficient. Also, be honest if there is something you don’t like about a photo. Most models and cosplayers won’t say a thing if they dislike an image for one reason or another. Photographers improve through feedback, we also can easily make small adjustments to a 36

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The biggest thing, though, I’d say is that you should take steps to making it easy for photographers to find you. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I have no idea where a cosplayer is from. Most cosplayers don’t even list a relative location on their facebook pages which makes it impossible for me to evaluable the possibility of shooting. I know it is important not to tell people exactly where you live but by listing a general location it makes it much easier for the photographer to predict if you might be both going to the same convention at some point.


Miishii Cosplay as thresh , league of legends PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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- tear the t n e m o m a r fo ly n o “I want to - if within a m e th e c la p d n a ty li a viewer from re Cooper mythical story.” - Ryan

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reilena cosplay. Goggles by TwoHornsUnited Creations PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: Can you walk us through your process when composing and editing a photograph? Ryan Cooper: Every shoot is a bit different but generally begins with a concept. That concept could be as simple as knowing the costume that I am about to shoot to as elaborate as planning every detail of each photo. From there we begin shooting. In studio, I always shoot on either a white background (if I plan to put them in front of a bright scene such as a light sky or some sort of bright flare) or a dark grey background (if I plan to place them in a darker or more neutral scene). Once the shoot is complete I begin culling the photos (usually 800 or so) down to the final three or four that I will build into final images. I then go in search of suitable backgrounds which often come from my own archives or are purchased from stock photography sites for things that I don’t have access to photograph myself. Finally, I just work to build the composite from there, layering effects and color grading to create the final images which is a bit beyond the scope of this interview, but is something I teach at workshops during some conventions in the Vancouver area, if you are looking for an in-depth look into my process.

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matt kennedy as castiel, Supernatural PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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alliecat art & cosplay as lt. allison jakes PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY 42

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ntial “...one of the most exciting pote king steps frontiers for cosplay work is ta age that to create a more immersive im splayer goes beyond simply placing a co in a scene.� - Ryan Cooper AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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paingu as sailor neptune PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY 44

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rita farkas as asuka PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Cos Culture: Can you tell us more about the panels you've been running? Ryan Cooper: I've been teaming up with my best friend and partner Stacey Roy to run panels at a few conventions, to help other photographers learn how to expand their skill-set and push their photography to new boundaries. We have two different panels that we primarily run, depending on the time given to us by the convention. If we have a longer block we will bring in a full studio set-up and do a live shoot for the audience, explaining each step as we go. We will then take the images that we shoot and do a live retouch to show how the image might be finished. When time is a bit shorter and doesn't allow for a full shoot demo, we instead host our special effects panel where we spend about an hour going through several special effects techniques in Photoshop, such as adding glowing eyes or magical effects to a photo so that they appear realistic. Cos Culture: If you could photograph any cosplayer or character, who would it be? Ryan Cooper: I feel like one of the most exciting potential frontiers for cosplay work is taking steps to create a more immersive image that goes beyond simply placing a cosplayer in a scene. I’d love to start working with CG artists to customize environments that are true to the stories/characters whose costumes are being represented and leverage a more cinematic feel to the images, building more of the feeling of witnessing a story at the peak of the climax rather than simply a pose. In a sense, I’d love to work towards creating shoots along the same lines as what you might expect to see in promotional images for big budget movies and television shows. You can find more of Ryan's work here: Facebook: www.fb.com/vancosplay instagram: www.instagram.com/vancosplay twitter: www.twitter.com/vancosplay lostweasleychild cosplay as spider-gwen PHOTO BY rYAN COOPER OF vancosplay PHOTOGRAPHY AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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abbadon PHOTO BY mercenary photography 48

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S

ociety is becoming more and more aware of mental health issues. We see it in the news, organizations are speaking up about it, and even celebrities are actively spreading awareness. The term mental illness never sat well with me. It makes it seem like something you can catch, like a virus, or a deadly means of existing. In truth, none of this is true. For this reason, I will be using the term mental health. Let’s be positive about it! We all have preconceived notions of what it is to deal with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. It’s easy to assume that people who suffer any one of these “mental illnesses” do not lead productive lives, or that they are unable to function amongst society, almost like they are no good at anything but being sick. From first-hand experience, I can say that this is so far from the truth. I was in fact diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder and extreme social anxiety a number of years back, after losing my job and having the biggest break down in my life. I am not going to go into the details of my diagnosis or my treatment. What I want is to take this opportunity to talk about the importance of being in a community of people who support you, and how cosplay gave me just that. The cosplay community has helped me overcome so much, and it continues to help so many others. Yes, that’s right, cosplay is not only an opportunity for your inner child to shine, but can be used to boost confidence, gain social skills, and so much more! I of course want to note that I can only really speak for myself, and this is only what I have personally experienced. I first started cosplaying a few years before being diagnosed, and I had fun doing it casually and definitely did not put in all the effort into it that I do now. After I had my break down and I was diagnosed, something shifted. I realized why I had so much difficulty connecting with other people, and more importantly, that it was not my fault. I was always very much into art, drawing

my journey with mental health and cosplay BY ABBADON AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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as soon as my chubby toddler paws could grab a crayon, learning as I went. In my teens, I learned how to sew from my grandmother and would create pieces of clothing. When I ventured into cosplaying those skills made the transition easy, and on top of everything, I found a way to escape from myself, at least the parts of myself that I did not care for. When you are wearing a costume, people tend to want to take your picture, talk to you, and ask you questions. These were the baby steps that helped me become more social, and to even start talking to people I did not know. I even began approaching cosplayers, asking them questions about their craft. The reverse also started happening. I cannot explain the feeling I had when people seemed to enjoy the costumes I made. In fact, I still feel that way to this day. I thought I was escaping myself, when in reality cosplaying gave me the tools to actually be myself, and to grow and become more accepting of my condition. I started entering masquerades, something that initially terrified me, and in facing this fear I realized how important the cosplay community is to people who struggle with mental health issues. I realized the importance of the positivity of a support system, not just within the cosplay community, but in life in general. I was terrified sitting in the green room for the first time, among people I did not even know. I had one friend with me, but that was it. Despite initially feeling nervous and alone, the other cosplayers surprised me in so many ways. They were open and easy to talk to, and best of all they were extremely supportive. Even the staff on

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hand, who could have just stood there and do the minimum required of their volunteer jobs, were supportive when I was freaking out about going on stage. Okay, so my debut in the masquerade was not necessarily successful (I ran quickly across the stage), but I did it, and everyone there was so supportive of me! Not one of them knew me personally, yet they still offered kindness, friendship, and support.

“...One thing I have realized over the years is that by simply talking to other cosplayers and asking questions on various cosplay forums, I wasn’t alone in all of this.� As I slowly pushed my boundaries further, I found it easier to wander around conventions by myself, and talk to people more and more. Over the years I have met so many incredible people; many of who I am always shocked and amazed that they remember me year after year. There are many cosplayers out there who are incredibly supportive and willing to offer friendship or guidance, even in terms of helping each other figure out how to sew a part of a costume, build a prop, or even in choosing what kind of paint to use on a certain material! These are but a few examples of how the cosplay community


has helped me over the years to overcome my social anxiety and, to be honest, drastically reduce my depression. One thing I have realized over the past years is that by simply talking to other cosplayers and asking questions on various cosplay forums, I wasn’t alone in all of this. Many people in the community have at one time felt depressed or have had bad anxiety - or even still struggle with it. I am certain there are other, mental health issues that are not even discussed, that really should be. In fact, with all the talk of cosplay doesn’t equal consent, and how cosplay is for everyone, mental health is still something that holds something of a stigma. People are often afraid to talk about it, but I’m here to say that you are not alone, and that if more of us begin to talk about it, the more people we will be able to help. It is easy to forget that we are all people and we all have bad days. We all struggle at one point or another. I can guarantee that by telling someone you like their costume, or love the way they did something to show their fandom, it will make them feel appreciated and welcomed. Asking someone to take a photo of their costume (and please, always ask first), is often the biggest compliment you can give a cosplayer, and it helps immensely with anyone suffering from self esteem issues. I honestly have no idea what sharing my experiences will accomplish here at the end of the day. However, I do hope that someone who reads this can realize that it’s okay to

be depressed, to feel anxious, to struggle talking to people, or to simply not feel 100% all of the time. I want that person to know that there are hundreds of people out there who are ready to support you even if you do not realize it, and to never be afraid to speak up for yourself or someone else. The cosplay community has been unbelievably supportive of me, and by simply reaching out to the community, I know they will be able to help you, too.

You can find Abbadon online here: Facebook: www.fb.com/Abbadonx Instagram: www.instagram.com/Abbadonx

photography by Mercenary photography facebook: www.fb.com/MercenaryPhotography

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asgard barbie cosplay as xena PHOTO BY infinity spiral photographer 52

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summer cosplay photography

w ith

ba r b i e w i

of asgard barbie cosplay

and

Ch r is N o rto n

of infinitySpiral Photographer AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Chris Norton

of InfinitySpiral Photographer Cos Culture: Tell us a bit about this shoot! What inspired the style of the photography? Chris Norton: Xena was originally being considered for a shoot at C2E2 earlier this year, but medieval/fantasy figures seem so out of place next to skyscrapers that we decided to try a location shoot at Starved Rock instead. I usually look through screengrabs or YouTube videos of a series before I shoot with anyone. I noticed all the screensgrabs I could find were fairly low contrast outdoor shots so that’s the direction I geared up to shoot. Cos Culture: What sort of photography equipment do you use? Chris Norton: This set was shot with a D800 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a simple silver/gold mixed reflector panel. I generally bring more and shoot with strobes, but this allowed us to try a walk-along and try out various locations around the park, instead of spending all of our time setting up lights.

Cos Culture: How do you achieve such a dreamy aesthetic in the images? Chris Norton: It was really cloudy out that day which basically turns the sky into a giant softbox. Normally it’d be more difficult to shoot out in the open air like that. I realized the light from the top and ground were going to be soft so aimed a reflector to come in and fill shadows from the side. Cos Culture: In terms of the summery/dreamy aesthetic of the background, how much is captured with the camera, and how much is created through post-processing? Chris Norton: Most of this look comes from the lighting that was there, but I did warm it up in post. Sometimes I add little gradients of light here and there to make sure the eye is being led a certain way around the image. Xena is pretty powerful all on her own so I wanted to keep the effects minimal. infinityspiral photographer : Facebook: www.fb.com/infinityspiralphotography flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/infinityspiral asgard barbie cosplay: facebook: www.fb.com/AsgardBarbie instagram: www.instagram.com/AsgardBarbie AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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asgard barbie cosplay as xena PHOTO BY infinity spiral photographer AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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summer colours

ten aci o us ph oto g ra phy w ith

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Lovely Kouga as SYlveon PHOTO BY tenacious Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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Lovely Kouga & Boo berry as F luttershy PHOTO BY tenacious Photography 60

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ditzy daydreams as cinderella PHOTO BY tenacious Photography 62

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OT cosplay as CHESHIRE PHOTO BY tenacious Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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DITZY DAYDREAMS BIO

My name is Cassie, but the cosplay community knows me as Ditzy Daydreams. I have been cosplaying for as long as I can remember and love every aspect of it. My favourite characters to cosplay are Disney Princesses, but sadly, as most cosplayers know, you wear one to a con and it’s then shelved until maybe another con or costume party. That was me until I joined Perth’s Allied Costumers, a not-for-profit organisation who attends charity events all over Perth. Now my costumes get used almost every week and I get to bring joy to kids and adults alike. Not many people can say they get to dress up as a Disney princess every week. So to anyone out there thinking of getting into cosplaying, do it! Because everyone has that inner child they want to bring out.

Ditzy daydreams as Alice in wonderland PHOTO BY tenacious Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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T EN AC I O U S P H OT O G R A P H Y B I O Tenae is a creative photographer currently based in Perth, Australia, who loves to collaborate with other like-minded artists to produce beautiful imagery. Her style usually feeds off the creative team involved that day. Her images range from dark and beautiful to super cute and bubble-gum fun. She works in Engineering and so photography is her creative outlet away from the world of straight edges and defined lines.

LM T A RT I ST RY B I O My hair and makeup career came from an unlikely start; it began after a photoshoot I was working on as a model had the hair stylist fail to turn up for a full two-day shoot. My background from when I started modelling was to take my hair and makeup styling outside of the norm, experimenting with colour and placement, as well as expanding outside of what was in fashion at the time. I was fortunate enough to begin my early makeup career with experimentation through the pinup and gothic styles of makeup, prior to expanding into the beginnings of creating cosplay makeup designs. As luck would have it, I’ve had some amazing teams with some excellent photographers, models, and designers as I made the transition from model to makeup artist. One of my favourite teams that I have worked with that has really encouraged my growth as an artist, is the team of Tenae from Tenacious Photography, and Jenni from OOH Look Squirrel. The three of us have teamed up with an amazing cast of models on two separate shoots to create some stellar photographs, as a result of the hard work done by the group. Tenae and Jenni are so amazingly dedicated, with an almost infectious positive attitude which is seen by the way research is poured into the designs and photographic settings to ensure that we have the highest quality product of our team work.

Part of being around this positive energy is that it rubs off on those who are around you. In preparation for our latest collaboration, from our first team meeting, we have all pulled together to do our character research to ensure that the makeup designs accompanying the costuming were accurate to the personification of the characters involved. The research into the characters and designing of the makeup inspired me to push my creative boundaries outside of what I had been doing, so much so that I explored new makeup products and techniques through both the designing of face charts of the looks, to running test runs of some of the newer products I was utilising to create the look, specifically for our “Sparkle Cinderella”. The response to our work has been overwhelming positive, and as a result I’ve put on some special offers relating to cosplay makeup design and application lessons, as well as offering some hair and makeup packages for those who would prefer to be pampered prior to their day at Supanova. Tenacious Photography and I are also working on some packages that will be released shortly.

SUCK IT IN C R E AT I O N S B I O SiiC or Suck it in Creations started as a cosplay idea, but in time I found that I had more fun making the props and accessories. I love art and craft, so to be able to make crowns, sceptres, and such is amazing. I have a few ideas on the go and hope to debut them in the near future. When making the “stuff ” for this shoot, I was asked to cross some Tim Burton with classic Alice, and throw in a little me. The idea of Alice in stilettos was just too much. I had so much fun doing this. It is great to be able to make the unreal real! The challenge of making something as intricate as a tiara is awesome. I have also started customizing shoes to characters - Alice and Cheshire Cat being a couple. Cosplay has opened up so many channels for me.

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OOH LOOK SQUIRREL BIO I started making costumes when my daughters started attending Cons. They were not fancy and were pretty basic, but drawing on my past experience (dancing for many years and my Mum teaching me) I was able to make a costume made to measure. I am totally self-taught and like to work outside the lines. To say I was then hooked was an understatement, and being able to bring out my inner nerd was awesome. Since then I have made my own and the girls’ costumes. I love being able to create beautiful things and fulfill mine and other’s dreams. I never grew up and I am proud of it. My daughters now have their own cosplay personas, Ditzy Daydreams and Suck it in Creations (who made the beautiful jewellery and amazing shoes for Alice and Chesh) with Momma Squirrel in the background. I could not be prouder. I do not stick to any “rules” per se, and I like to work in the moment, meaning patterns are a guide but not essential. On more than a couple of occasions, I have been asked to create from a drawing, sketch, or picture; one of those being the lovely Sylveon in the photos. Krista from Lovely Kouga came to me with a sketch, and this is the end result. It took a lot of time and patience, plus a lot of “that goes in the trash”. But in the end, voila! I do conventional cosplay but I also like to switch things up. My Cheshire Cat and Alice were a play on the character with the outfits being more gowns or dresses rather than costumes - a sort of “based on” idea. Everything I make comes from the heart and the love for my newfound craft. Most of all , just being able to work with Ditzy Daydreams, a.k.a Cassie, who is a princess in her spare time and Suck

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it in Creations, a.k.a. Kira with her amazing talent for making the accessories and props, as well as my other totally amazing models and cosplay friends, all of whom are featured in this shoot. I could not have a better nerd life: the family who cosplays together, stays together! I always loved Star Wars, and that would be my introduction into “now.” I have a slight problem with R2-D2, but in saying that, I have always loved the idea of dressing up. I am now “adult” but do not like “to adult”, so I would much rather jump on my unicorn and run away to a galaxy far, far away. To be able to make costumes is a dream come true and now I find I am living my dream. What more could anyone want? Cosplay is so unique, and I like people to feel that that costume was made just for them, in every way. We go to most local cons, with Super Nova and Comicon being the majors, and then the girls also go to some of the smaller ones. I do a bit of commission work and love it, but I am keeping it small to start with. I like to be hands-on in all I do, so I pace myself. I can usually pump out a gown over two weekends. ‘OOH Look Squirrel’ became a reality 18 months ago with the support of my partner and children. They made me believe I could do this. Since then I have met some totally talented and gorgeous cosplayers, and we have been able to share our lives with them. Being Momma Squirrel is the best, and I keep my paws very busy. I now have met and worked with a totally awesome and professional group of people working in their own specialities, and together we can make dreams come true and make fantasy a reality.


Lovely Kouga & Boo berry as F luttershy PHOTO BY tenacious Photography AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2016

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KRISTA – LOVELY KOUGA BIO My name is Krista, and I attended my first convention and wore my very first cosplay at age 15. I begged my Mother to sew me an Edward Elric costume from Fullmetal Alchemist, and she did, despite it being with much grumbling, as it had been some years since she had worked the sewing machine. The sheer joy of dressing as my favourite character, meeting the man who voiced the character, and the excitement of that weekend has stuck with me for over ten years. Cosplaying and being a general nerdy dork with your like-minded friends? There really isn’t anything quite like it, and I’ve been addicted to that feeling ever since. If this is viewed by some as a childish hobby, then count me in as Peter-freaking-Pan. Cosplay has changed for me in recent years. To me personally, it is a wearable art form that requires a lot of effort and energy. To cosplay, you need to be a seamstress, a prop maker, a hair stylist, a makeup artist, an actor...the skill set required is very extensive! As a result, I channel all of this effort only into representing characters that I love with all of my heart. I will not waste all of those hours on what is ‘popular’ or ‘easy’ to make. Lovely Kouga as SYlveon PHOTO BY tenacious Photography 70

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I tend to choose to do cosplays based off of cartoon characters that I really adore, some of which do not even wear clothing! This allows me to design the costume myself and capture the essence of the character in a new or creative way. I have done this for Sylveon (Pokemon) and Fluttershy (My Little Pony), as well as many others. I love the acting side of cosplay as well; often times it feels as though I am a different person while in cosplay. It is a great confidence booster, and one of my favourite ways to pay homage to characters that mean so much to me. Being in front of a camera or on stage is less daunting when you are in cosplay, and that confidence has greatly helped me in my non-cosplay life, too. Getting ready can sometimes take hours, but it is all worth it in the end to see the looks on peoples faces when they see you in person at conventions. I particularly enjoy the reactions of little kids, who usually call me by the character’s name and request hugs and photos. It really is like being famous for a day!


Lovely Kouga as SYlveon PHOTO BY tenacious Photography

TENACIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY / OOH LOOK SQUIRREL PHOTOSHOOT CREDITS: COSTUMES:

Ooh Look Squirrel

HMUA:

LMT Artistry

www.facebook.com/oohlooksquirrel www.facebook.com/lmtartistry

PHOTOGRAPHY : Tenacious Photography

www.facebook.com/tenaciousphotography

MODELS :

Alice in Wonderland

Ditzy Daydreams www.facebook.com/Ditzy-Daydreams-638864012879763

Cinderella

Ditzy Daydreams www.facebook.com/Ditzy-Daydreams-638864012879763

Fluttershy

Krista from Lovely Kouga & Boo Berry Junior Cosplayer www.facebook.com/LovelyKouga

Sylveon

Krista from Lovely Kouga www.facebook.com/LovelyKouga

Cheshire Cat / Mad Hatter Evolution OT Cosplay www.facebook.com/searchingformyotc

PROPS:

Suck It In Creations

www.facebook.com/SuckItInCreations

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Cos Culture Magazine - August September 2016