This year, we are not doing model photo sessions as we did regularly last year. There are several reasons, I want to focus more on the Taiwan cultural event and environment & in the second half of the year, we might need to shoot foreign models anyway as a part of book plan. So as of now, stay as is…
Nevertheless, Cosplay events are a great opportunity to practice portraits. Cosplayers are eager to pose in front of the camera, wearing a unique costume and showing various facial expressions. When I found PF26, a Cosplay event planned at the Yuanshan Flower Park last week, realize just a couple of days left. It was not enough time to organize a Meetup but I announced it anyway. I know what Cosplay is, at least what it stands for, but it is the first time I visit such an event.
At the entrance
Strange and awkward feeling BUT ‘good impression’
Indeed, it was a strange feeling when I found myself walking through people in various costumes. However, despite the prejudice of strange people with a strange hobby, it was very impressive that everyone was enjoying the event and entertaining themselves with good manner. There were a big mass of people gathered at the main plaza and the venue, but not any hint of harshness, shouting, drinking or pushing around. It feels like in a big playhouse.
From left: Fred, Phillip & Leo
Still, in the beginning, I thought it to be fun to watch, but not like my children do that strange thing
Then Fred replied. If you don’t let children do their tastes, they’ll do other strange things anyway.
I would let them do It struck me. Yes, indeed. I fully agree with Fred as a father of 16 & 17 years old boys.
Carnival and Cosplay are the same with a different name
Last February, I was in Eindhoven, NL and saw the carnival events. I think the carnival is the same thing as Cosplay in essence. People dressed up in carnival a different figure from reality, like a royal family in the medieval age, a fairy in a story, an animal whatever. And, for a few days, as they enjoy a different being, drinking, talking, shouting & hanging around in hyper boosted mode. Then return to the original him/herself, have a normal life for a year. One difference is a Carnival is about tradition, history, fairy tale stories, a Cosplay is about fantasy from a comic.
It seems that PF is more than Japanese comics
It looks pretty much Chinese character…
You can take a lot of Portrait photos. But that’s not all. Because it is an event so many people gather, also a good chance to take the Street photo, like a crowd, actions and people dedicated to something.
On a (real) street, you may not know if people willing to be a subject for you, but in here people gathered for photography in short. Even sometimes photographers who compete for a better position are more interesting than Cosplayers.
A popular Cosplayer or group gathered a large number of photographers and get stuck in one place posing for a long time. When this happens, the fellow Cosplayer, friend, or assistant will declare time-out and count down after a certain period of time. Photographers were generally polite and in very good manners. Most of the times, when the shooting is over or leaves after a few shots, they express appreciation to model saying XieXie or Thank you.
Not all of Cosplayer is in a photo session at the same time. When they are tendering a cell phone or chat with friends, photographers do not take pictures. They respect personal time and relax for Cosplayer. If you want to take a picture, simply ask if they are available for shooting.
The shooting is roughly done in the following way
- A photographer asks a Cosplayer to pose. Or sometimes cosplayers start taking poses for themselves.
- When a photographer takes a couple of photos, the others around or nearby start gathering. The first photographer may leave with thank you or continues to shoot.
- If there were more people gathering than leaving, a large group will be formed.
- After a large group formed, a fellow player or friend counts down to stop shooting and enter the break mode.
Talk about a concept or pose for shooting
*Keep an eye on the blue wig.
Before going, I thought the long telephoto (135mm ~ 200mm) would be required to make a good photo (I mean subject isolated), but not at all in a real situation. Because there are so many people, you cannot stay far enough which needed for a long telephoto lens. Or even do so, you cannot control those who are in the middle of you and models. About the 85mm lens is a good selection as a long lens. Standard or wide angle lens is also a good choice. Of course, it depends on the photo style you want to take
Background cleanup is challenging. Because you cannot avoid people around the main subject (cosplayer), it is better to blur the background with a large aperture lens as much as possible. Or use the stage sets built for the photo session (organizer installed a couple of sets in the plaza) or place a Cosplayer on a wall or a pillar side to avoid people getting into the background.
The Barrett M82 and M107 are eye-catching firearms that often appear in cartoons (M82 has a short barrel and M107 has a long barrel). It’s a gun that Yoko Littner uses in Gurren-Lagann, but I do not know what this character is. Yoko wears skull marking hair clip and bikini
A Taiwanese girl plays with an M107 toy, but an American girl enjoys shooting an M107. What a difference.. (Source from Google)
If you are a Japanese cartoon enthusiast, it will be more fun because you know what comics these characters came from, and what kind of scene they are setting. However, without knowing such things, it is still a lot of fun to join the event as a crowd of house play & photographer.
FF vs PF
FF stands for Fancy Frontier. They put a serial number on their event. Looking at the number, FF29 held in Feb and FF30 plan to do in Aug, it is about 15 years since it started. PF is an acronym for Petit Frontier, as it said, a small event that fills the gap between FFs. The event last week was PF26.
German Cosplayer in the event flyer. I couldn’t find her though…
Cosplayer and body exposure (or figure exposure?)
Exposure of Cosplay costumes is directly proportional to the exposure of comic books. Cosplay in Taiwan seems to follow the general comics, for example, One Piece or so. But Cosplayer sometimes crosses over the line. As a big event, the organizers invite cosplayers from abroad. A few years ago, Ujiyama from Japan played too hot and caused enough controversy to appear in the evening news in Taiwan. What accepted in Japan, in general, is not appreciated at the same level in Taiwan. Since then, organizers have paid more attention to stay in an acceptable range of exposure.
Why do I know it all?
A brother female Cosplayer
The hard fact is female characters are far more popular & gather a lot more attention. Because of that, I think, many male cosplayers are dressed as female characters. It could be a just-for-fun version which is obvious who the Cosplayer, or could be precisely altered figure hardly recognizable whether male or female. And, there is a top-notch guru in this world. Even after he convicted as a man, still fan does not believe (or accept) or react raging.
Blue wig, looking at hands, you can easily tell he or she…
Can’t say he or she
If he(?) took off a wig and put on a suit, might come up with a very handsome guy. He was a popular and attractive model in the event. When I shot, was not so sure, but with the photo, I bet the cosplayer is a brother
(Source: Google) Example from Google, before and after Cosplay
In case the disguise is wrong
….world of cosplay. 🙂