1.the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
Hiya, how ya doin? I’m Harley Quinn. I’m also Catwoman. And Maleficent. And Nuka Cola Girl. And Poison Ivy. And Spider-Gwen. I’m…. a cosplayer.
I started cosplaying when I was 16 years old. I went to first my anime convention in a horrible rendition of Harley Quinn and at the time many people didn’t recognize her! My very first self portraits were created out of the desire to embody Miss Quinn, the Queen of Gotham.
In the years since then (the many, many years) my commitment to cosplay has fluctuated and my passion for photography grew, became a career, ended as a career, and eventually became a dusty desire left on the shelf with my camera. However in the last year I made the commitment to make cosplay a life priority again, and much to my own surprise it reignited my love of photography.
Self portraits started to stress me out. 4 or 5 years ago I gave up doing it consistently; I just couldn’t find the excitement in it anymore. I put too much pressure on myself. I compared my work to everyone else; I was making myself sick. I forgot why I started doing in the first place: to create, to embody a character, to tell a story.
As I began creating new costumes, making props, and finding the pride in the creativity of cosplay, I felt the urge to pick up my camera again. I thought to myself, “I made this, now I want to make art.”
Suddenly I am inspired. My photography has a purpose again. It has a spark. It has energy and excitement. I’m learning that our passions and hobbies are most enjoyable when they are interdependent. Not only have I combined photography and cosplay, but I’ve also been throwing in my other hobbies like aerial silks and indoor skydiving! Combining everything I love into a single image makes me feel as though that image contains a part of me. It tells a broader story about who I am. It has a deeper meaning because it gives you a peek into who I am and what I love.
Even though I am embodying a character, I feel like I am finding myself again. I am finding the passion behind my camera – and in front of it. I want to challenge every reader to consider your own passions. What can you combine? When you take the things that make you an individual and include them in your art, you create something uniquely you.
What are you going to combine?