Speak Out With My Geek Out #1 Costume Photography
As promised its time to Speak Out With My Geek Out and stand up proud for all things Geek in my life.
Hi, my name is Shoshana and I’m a huge costume photo nerd.
There is nothing I enjoy taking photos of more than people in costumes. Sure, some photographers enjoy a nice sunset or a puppy or two, and I have been known to indulge in some canine photography for the sheer cuteness factor. But there is nothing that interests me more than seeing folk slapping on some cool looking armor, getting decked out like zombies, and cosplaying their favorite comic book characters so I can photograph them. I believe it’s a perfect symbiotic relationship for a photographer like me, honestly – they enjoy the costuming and I enjoy taking photos of them.
Why, you might ask? Why take photographs of people in costume. Because, my fellow costume nerds and geeks, real life clothing is usually really BORING. Fashion, for the most part, looks everyday and humdrum to me, even when people are trying to look put together and trendy. A pair of skinny jeans here, a scarf tossed there, an ever popular hobo bag there, some glasses that should look nerdy but are now in fashion – everyone wears the same damn things! It’s hard to find someone whose clothing catch my eye and make me sit up and take notice to say ‘now that is nice, that is original’.
Costuming, on the other hand, is a little piece of the unreal and imaginative parading around in our often boring, everyday lives. Someone slaps on a celtic headband to add to a cloak to go to a Renn Faire and we’re reminded of all the whimsical wonder that can come from stories of the mythical, mythological and fantastic. A woman shambles out of a bar after a zombie crawl with blood and gore all over her, and we’re reminded of the fragility of life and the fear a good zombie movie gives us about our own mortality. We see a cosplayer decked out as Wonder Woman or Supergirl and we’re given a good smile over memories of amazing stories read and the dedication of fans to stories that are part of our common cultural lexicon. In short, costuming sparks the eye and the mind in a way that most fashion doesn’t. It is walking art and I, as a photographer, love to capture it before gone.
I got into this shindig because of live-action roleplay. I started out as an online gamer who went over to LARP due to a college friend introducing me to a Changeling: the Dreaming game. I would go to games and watch my friends put together stellar costumes and think “isn’t is sad that we’re the only ones to see this?” People would spend hours collecting just the right pieces to bring their characters to moving, breathing, artistic life and then shove all that hard work into a closet, never to be seen outside of their gaming circle! So I started bringing my camera and taking character portraits. Someone had to document the beauty of the work put in and the intricacy of the detail folks put into the costumes. This, in itself, was art just like roleplaying can be art. And why not get it down for posterity? And so, for me, it began.
Photography itself is more than just documenting is its own art form. Costume photography is the art of capturing the imagined given a human canvas. And it’s my favorite kind of art and geek these days aside from writing. So what if my photography portfolio looks kind of strange sometimes? I have photos of girls dressed as internet meme characterizations doing burlesque shows along with rock bands dressed as Jedi and Sith. I have zombies shambling and fairies in the forest out to get you, folks with latex swords and armor and vampires on the prowl. I’ve even expanded into costuming and fashion in the real world, like traditional historical dress and pow wow dance costumes. In the end, that’s what intrigues me. Plus, it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than kittens or architecture or a nice sunset. Give me cosplay or steampunk any day!
Enclosed are some of my favorite shots, especially some of my earlier work, to highlight why I got into this gig. Enjoy and if you like, speak out yourself! There’s one more day left!