How would you describe the relationship between cosplayers and photographers?

The collaboration between cosplayer and photography is the most significant foundation of representing animate/Otaku culture in cosplay events transnationally, for example, Wonder Festival (Japan), Comic-Con(The U.S.) and Armageddon(New Zealand) or even school clubs. Although they were born in different era, both performance, social network, business interest, and cultural contexts are inevitably interconnected. This is the aesthetic combination of fantasy and realism that anime fandoms and conventions are highly expected. Cosplayer insists on many preparative elements such as costumes, make-up, and accessories like wig and props based on their target medium. Copying details such as posts, facial emotions and body movements also embodied their loyalty to fictional characters(sometimes more creative than the original context, such as intertextual cross-over). However, live-act performance demands a perpetual seat in cyberspace which it’s considered borderless, in order to expand the interaction and popularity of both presenters and the medium. As photography was normalized and cameras were more accessible in the mid-’50s, cosplay performance was benefited as they were captured and being exposed widely than temporary live-actions. Especially the issues of body image began to come into play (Flatt,2015). Through producing, uploading, sharing and selling photos and home-made videos, cosplay becomes more variable and diverse in borrowing and reinterpretation. Both performers and photographers collaboratively study and invent performances in character via and creative camera technology (cinematography and editing etc.) in pictures.  Langsford (2016) explained that Photoshoot generated a ukiyo, ‘floating place’, where the fantasy places (re)created in cosplay shoot photography.  Mountfort (2018) stated that”The dominant visual genres that evolved out of convention spaces are those of studio-based fashion photography (whether actually taken indoor or out, against physical props or blue-screens) and the snapshot.” It’s because the outcome of photography influentially promotes websites and cosplayers (including their cosplay suppliers) across the globe. Therefore, commercialism brought cosplay and photography as one genre in performance. 

Sophie Tse 16912888

References:

Flatt, T.F,(2015)Cosplay in the USA. Honors College of Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved from:https://jewlscholar.mtsu.edu/bitstream/handle/mtsu/4695/Flatt%20Thesis%20Fall%202015.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Langsford, C.M, (2016)Floating Worlds: Cosplay photoshoots and creation of imaginary cosmopolitan places. vol 13( 1 )DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol13iss1id303

Mountfort, P. (2018) Cosphotography as Fan Capital. Retrieved from:https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4925188-dt-content-rid-10439193_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Mountfort%202018_Cosphotogrphy%20as%20Fan%20Capital.pdf

Week Nine: Cosplay

What different kinds of cosplay type (that is, by genre or genera, rather than just specific sources) does Mountfort (2019) identify in the Armageddon photo-essay?

Cosplay is defined as a performance medium that “conscripts and subverts existing media materials, both inherently and in some very particular ways, such as mashups and other forms of parody” (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy, 2019, p. 47). This definition represents the complexities and layers of cosplay better  than simplifying the term to a combination of the words “costume” and “play” (Winge, 2006 as cited in Winge, 2018). In the Armageddon photo-essay (Mountfort et al., 2019) various cosplay types are identified  that help develop the meaning and understanding of cosplay. Five of these will be identified and discussed below.

Cosplay as a traditional character

This is the most recognisable type of cosplay as cosplayers try to replicate a source media’s character as accurately as possible. Cosplayers are judged on not only how closely they look like the character they are portraying but also on how well perform or act as that character. This cosplay type is more common when referencing long-running movie or anime series where characters maintain the same look across multiple movies or seasons (Mountfort et al., 2019). Example: Naruto, the titular character from the anime Naruto (2002-2007) and Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean series (2003-).

Example: Naruto, the titular character from the anime Naruto (2002) and Jack Sparrow, main character from the Pirates of the Carribean series (2003-).

Naruto cosplay at Armageddon Expo, 2013
Jack Sparrow cosplay at Armageddon Expo, 2016

Cosplay as a specific iteration

This cosplay type draws inspiration from a specific version or iteration of a character. This is most common after a movie or other media release, where the most recent iteration of a character will experience heightened visibility and popularity because it is new (Mountfort et al., 2019). Source material is always up for interpretation, particularly in large franchises with long histories such as Marvel and DC. Therefore, rather than having only one standard character version, various iterations allow cosplayers to choose one that resonates more with them and their preferences. Example: Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight (2008).

Health Ledger as the Joker,
from The Dark Knight (2008)
Heath Ledger’s Joker, Armageddon, 2012


Cosplay as a crossover or mashup

Crossover cosplay involves adapting a character of a different gender to your own, while mashups combine different characters and/or universes to create new ones. According to Mountfort et al., (2019) this cosplay type is “more common at larger cons with more established player communities who have the confidence to push cosplaying boundaries.” (p. 95). This is because recognisability is a big part of cosplaying. However, this type of cosplay permits users to incorporate their own creativity while still paying homage to the source media. Example: San crossover, from Princess Mononoke (1997).

Crossover cosplay of San from Princess Mononoke, Armgeddon 2016
San from Princess Mononoke

Cosplay as a generic type or style

Some cosplayers choose to use a generic character type or fashion style rather than an already defined character. Common Western character types include vampires, zombies and other genera of the undead, while styles can include Lolita or steampunk fashion. Mountfort et al., 2019, p. 95). This type of cosplay is also characterised as a lifestyle rather than just fashion as it is just as concerned about creating an authentic persona as well as looking the part. Examples: 

Steampunk Cosplayer (right), Armageddon 2013

Cosplay as a meme

Memes are now commonly identified as forms of viral media circulated throughout the internet (Stegner, 2018). However, it is not as common as some of the other forms of cosplay as it is still “hard to identify for those not in on the joke” and as a result do not tend to last long in the cosplay sphere (Mountfort et al., 2019, p. 106). Cosplaying as a meme relies heavily on the recency and virality of the meme to be effective in terms of recognisability and even humour. However, the simplicity of memes often make them cost-efficient to make or buy, allowing them to retain some popularity and impact in the cosplay world. Example: “Horse head” masks.

“Horse mask” meme, Armageddon, 2014

References:

Date, H. (Director). (2002-2007). Naruto [Television series]. Tokyo, Japan: TV Tokyo.

Marshall, R. (Director). (2011). Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [Motion picture]. Burbank: Walt Disney Studios.

Miyazaki, H. (Director). (1997). Princess Mononoke [Motion picture]. Japan: Studio Ghibli.

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Intellect Books.

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A. & Geczy, A. (2019). Cosplay at Armageddon Expo. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4925188-dt-content-rid-10439194_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Mountfort%202019_Cosplay%20at%20Armageddon%20Expo.pdf

Nolan, C. (Director). (2008). The Dark Knight [Motion picture]. New York: Warner Brothers.

Stegner, B. (2019). What is a Meme? 10 Meme Examples. Retrieved from https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-is-a-meme-examples/

Verbinski, G. (Director). (2003). Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [Motion picture]. Burbank: Walt Disney Studios.

Verbinski, G. (Director). (2006). Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest [Motion picture]. Burbank: Walt Disney Studios.

Verbinski, G. (Director). (2007). Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World’s End [Motion picture]. Burnbank: Walt Disney Studios.Winge, T. (2018).Costuming Cosplay: Dressing the Imagination[DX Reader Version]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/aut/reader.action?docID=5557324

Week 9

1.What is a workable definition of cosplay?

Cosplay is an activity about the art performance, that participants express their affection to the characters whom they like through dressing up as popular characters. Those popular characters are taken form anime, Japanese anime, video games, movies, popular novels, bands, pop idols, and even from internet memes (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy; 2019). Cosplayers always create subcultures through the interaction, and the number of cosplayers has grown rapidly since the 1990s. Cosplay has become an essential aspect of popular culture in Japan, the rest of Asia, and the western world (Cosplay, 2019). Despite the pivotal role of clothing, photography also plays a significant part in Cosplay. Photos and video not only reflect how role playing is carried out, but also play a role in shaping the role (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy; 2018).

In order to further understand the concept of Cosplay, there is a history of Cosplay that people need to know. At the beginning of time, Cosplay was called as costuming, which began in the late 1930s in North America at the time. At that time, Cosplay did not need to imitate their favorite role. On the other hand, people only needed to wear an appropriate cloth in their own style. Anyone in the best costume would win a prize. In Japan, manga promoted cosplay, Japanese college students have started dressing up as their favorite characters at parties. This concept took a page from the American playbook, fans tried to recreate their favorite scenes. This increased their excitement and allowed them to express their love for the comic strip. However, the term “Cosplay” was not invented until 1984. The term was coined by Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Takahashi from Costume and play after he attended the world congress in Los Angeles and chose cosplay because he thought Costume balls were too outdated for Japanese audiences (Origin of the word cosplay, 2008).

In addition, we need to understand how Cosplay has become an important aspect of popular culture. First, people find it interesting to dress up as their favorite characters. Cosplay is a great way to spice up people’s lives. Secondly, when people participate in role-playing activities, they are likely to meet thousands of people, which is a new and interesting way to socialize. More importantly, people want to identify with a character. Because the character means so much to them, they like the freedom to dress up as them. It’s an opportunity to express themselves to the world (Evans, 2017). In the modern world, it is limit for people to show their imagination to the world. However, Cosplay gives people the opportunity to do so. Finally, while many cosplayers do it for fun, others do it for a living. These cosplayers have a huge following on social media, which they use for influential marketing and a living. They often sell autographed photos of themselves, and most importantly, they often get paid for consulting work while developing video games. Cosplay as a performing art has its emergence and popularity factor, which still exists to this day. Therefore, Cosplay will remain one of the popular cultures in our society for a long time to come.

References

Cosplay. (2019). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay

Evans, R. (2017, January 27). The Muslim cosplayer who uses the hijab in her outfits. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-41400973/the-muslim-cosplayer-who-uses-the-hijab-in-her-outfits

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2019). Cosplay at Armageddon Expo. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4925188-dt-content-rid-10439194_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Mountfort%202019_Cosplay%20at%20Armageddon%20Expo.pdf

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Intellect Books. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4925188-dt-content-rid-10439193_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Mountfort%202018_Cosphotogrphy%20as%20Fan%20Capital.pdf

Origin of the word cosplay. (2008). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://web.archive.org/web/20120705013049/http://yeinjee.com/tag/nobuyuki-nov-takahashi/

Cosplay

  1. What is a workable definition of cosplay?

The word cosplay originates from Japan being a combination of the word costume and play, and refers to the practice of dressing up as a character from popular culture, most commonly anime, films, games and TV shows – but this can be extended to a character in any medium. This is cosplay in its simplest form, but it accommodates a whole host of possibilities. While gatekeeping occurs in the community as to what does or does not constitute cosplay (e.g. whether cosplayers look enough like the characters, whether the costume is store-bought or handmade, or if the costume is accurate enough) these are ultimately trivial and unimportant to cosplay’s definition.

 

Furthermore, the costumes do not necessarily need to be of specific characters from a text. At conventions generic character types such as vampires and zombies can be found, as well as fashion and art styles such as Lolita and Steampunk (Matthew Hales as cited by Mountfort, 2019). Another form of this is crossplaying, a term which can have an uncertain meaning. It has been used in the past to describe cosplayers who have dressed as an opposite sex version of a character but in my experience is more commonly used in common parlance to describe cosplayers who dress as the opposite sex (for example, the subreddit r/Crossplay on Reddit). It appears Mountfort (2019) has done both with Fig. 14 and 48, as the former example does not seem to be presenting as female while the latter is. Crossovers and mash-ups of different texts or franchises are also quite popular, although these tend to be the domain of more experienced cosplayers trying to expand the possibilities of cosplay (Mountfort, 2019). A one-to-one authentic recreation of a character is admired, but it is not the only way to cosplay.

 

Although cosplay is closely linked with photography it does not need to be photographed to be defined as such. Naturally though taking photos is a large part of the appeal, both for the cosplayers wishing to be photographed (especially true for those that have created their own costumes) and for fans wishing to have photos taken with the characters. “Cosplay is a performance medium in which embodied textual citation and photographic practices come together” (Mountfort, 2019), and as such photographs can act as an extension of this performance, either through the visuals themselves or through social media. Dynamic poses tend to be favoured for this reason, as they allow the cosplayer to act in-character while staying still for the camera. Similar to costuming, there is a wide range of investment and effort that can go into cosphotography, with some preferring the more casual, impromptu shoots with personal cameras or phones, and others preferring to focus on authenticity, using sets and professional equipment to recreate scenes from the source materiel (Mountfort, 2018).

 

Overall, while there are various forms cosplay can take it is in essence a celebration of media, and creates a space where people can challenge societal norms for the purposes of self-expression and creativity. By adopting the guises of favourite characters cosplayers can take on roles they do not in their daily lives, whether that be as a superhero or another gender. Conventions foster a subculture in which these cosplayers can interact and socialize with each other, and this social force can be an industry unto itself.

 

References

 

Mountfort, P. (2019). Cosplay at Armageddon Expo. Journal of Geek Studies, 6(2) 91-110.

 

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet cosplay: Costume play, identity and global fandom. Chicago University Press.

WEEK 9

What is a workable definition of cosplay?

Cosplay is a subculture / fan culture activity with high visibility in the mass media, but only limited to the surface visibility. In fact, the public is in a state of half understanding and often stereotyped and biased towards cosplay (“Cosplay”, 2019) .

Cosplay is the fan culture of anime. Anime fans take costumes as their characters to express their love for anime in the gathering of anime fans, rather than a “show yourself” youth entertainment.

Cosplay has been developing in Taiwan for ten years. The number of participants is increasing day by day, the activity force is more and more vigorous, and the activities are held more and more frequently. However, in recent years, there have been major differences within cosplay. The disputes are: is Lolita / self-created a Cosplay? Where is the boundary of cosplay?

In order to explore the solution to this problem, first should returns to the source of cosplay – holography, and the motivation of producing homograph – Homo spirit, to redefine cosplay, establish the scope of cosplay, and analyze the practice and activity mode of cosplay, starting from the practice of cosplay, to study the causes of differences.

Cosplay is an activity closely related to photography in terms of activity mode. Cosplay community uses photography to record, share and communicate. The online album represents a member’s identity and is the foundation of building a community. Therefore, by analyzing the function and significance of cosplay using photography, we can find out the influence of photography on cosplay. Because of cosplay’s extensive use of photography, another ethnic group – Photography players can participate in Cosplay’s activities in a large number and actively. The photography habits and activities of photography players make

Cosplay’s community composition, activity space and spiritual significance began to change from “human culture” to “visual culture”.

The so-called “fans” refers to the people who are extremely fond of and identify with, or even obsessed with, specific media texts such as stars, movies, TV programs, pop orchestras, brands, etc., and can interpret the texts in various ways to produce their own interpretations. In addition to interpretation, fans are more able to produce their own texts through the original texts. They exchange ideas with each other and form a community rather than a group of alienated individuals (Marchese, 2017) .

“Homograph” and “Cosplay” are one of the expressions of fan interpretation text in anime painting. “「同人誌」i” was originally a Japanese Chinese character. It refers to the cartoon or other kinds of art works created by the fans with their favorite anime works as the theme. In Western terms, 「同人誌」 is a kind of “Fan Art”. Cosplay is a cartoon fan who imitates the appearance and performance of a character by wearing similar costumes, matching props, makeup and body language.

With the popularity of Japanese anime, the “fan culture” of Japanese Anime – 「同人誌」and cosplay – was also introduced into the world in the early 1990s (Garon, 2017) . Opened the era of business companies holding activities with others 4. From self-financing to business operation, the scale of 「同人誌」Fair has become larger and larger, also with the amount of people who are interested in cosplay.

Reference List:

Cosplay. (2019). Retrieved 20 October 2019, from https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay

Marchese, C. (2017). Setting Cosplay in Motion. IEEE Potentials36(4), 44-46. doi: 10.1109/mpot.2017.2684246

Garon, J. (2017). Fandom and Creativity, Including Fan Art, Fan Fiction, and Cosplay. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3007404

Week Nine: Cosplay

Question Three: What are some of the major fan convention, when did they begin and how do they differ from each other?

Answer:

Cosplay is defined by Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy, (2018) as, “a performance medium in which embodied textual citation and photographic practices come together and sometimes collide (pg.1) . Moreover, photography both documents and preconditions elements of the cosplay performance, via visual genres typically spanning those of the fashion runway, studio and ‘hallway’ shoots. Furthermore, another important terminology to be aware of is the word “cosphotography”. Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy (2018) mention, “the term for photography of cosplay is “cosphotography”” (pg.6). 

Furthermore, one of the major Fan Conventions in the Australasia is Armageddon Expo. It is a New Zealand-based pop culture convention that holds multiple events around New Zealand in cities including Auckland (began in 1995), Wellington (began in 1998) and follow ups in Tauranga and Christchurch in (began from 1997) (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Beyond Reality Media Premiere Event Management Ltd. (BRM) Is the company that runs all of the Armageddon Expo events. BRM was created back in 1995 The event is run and organised by Beyond Reality Media (BRM) since 1995 (Armageddon, 1995) . In recent years, it has evolved from its roots of comics and trading cards to showcase computer and video gaming, animation, film and television, cosplay, comics and retailers selling pop-culture merchandise . The convention hosts celebrity guests from the worlds of movies, TV shows, animation, cosplay, comics and gaming (Wikipedia, 2019). This is evident by the planned cosplay contests, tournaments and celebrity guest panels which allows fans to meet, get an autograph and attend photo sessions with their idols, just to name a few ways the event attracts people to attend it. Interestingly, Armageddon Expo is one of the largest public conventions held in New Zealand (Armageddon, 1995). This year Armageddon would be having their expo in the labour weekend, which is from the 25-28th of October 2019 at ASB Showgrounds.

Image result for armageddon convention auckland 2019

Another major fan convention is Sakura-Con. If you’re into anime, manga and comics, Sakura Con would be the number one in your bucket list. Sakura-Con is an annual three-day anime convention held during March or April in Seattle, Washington. It is hosted by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA) , an organisation which prides to accommodate an estimated of 25,00 in their recent 2017 Sakura Con convention. The roots of Sakura Con are the local science fiction scientists who decided in their circles that there wasn’t great exposure of anime in the society, so they decided to host the very fist Sakura convention in 1998 at the Double Tree Inn, Tukwila, Washington (Wikipedia, 2019). There are multiple similarities between Armageddon and Sakura-Con, as Sakura Con typically offers its guests plenty of fun from anime game shows, anime music video contests, collectible card gaming and cosplay contests (Chansanchai, 2007). Correspondingly, the differences between the two are, that, Armageddon has a very broad spectrum of characters cos playing in their convention and the theme is multi facet in comparison to Sakura Con, whereas Sakura Con is mainly Anime driven and influence is greatly focused on Japanese cultural arts and presentations. As a result, this is what makes Armageddon very distinct and special (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Another distinction between the two are, that Sakura Con has a charity auction called ” Make-A-Wish Foundation” which donates the sponsors and contributes money to calamities such as tsunami relief and blood drives (Chansanchai, 2007).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Seafair-Chinatown-International-District-parade.jpg

To conclude, with all of the crazy-awesome comic and anime Cosplay events around the world, there will be no shortage of fun for those who can’t get enough Cosplay. And with events all over the world, you’re sure to find one close enough to be able to get to it without too much trouble.

References:

Armageddon, (1995). General-Info:FAQs . Retrieved from https://www.armageddonexpo.com/General-Info/FAQs/

Chansanchai, A. (2007). Americans have become anime-ted. Seattle Post-Intelligence. Retrieved from, https://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/article/Americans-have-become-anime-ted-1233448.php

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Chicago University Press

Wikipedia, (2019). Armageddon Conventions/ Sakura-Con . Retrieved from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armageddon_(convention)

Costumes forever caught in time.

I did do one of the readings, but as these are all my own thoughts I will not be citing it.

How would I describe the relationship between cosplayers and photographers?

Questions like that can be difficult to answer in this format, I want to say “Photographers capture the work of cosplayers for others to enjoy”. But the current word count is 41 and a general rule is aa minimum of 500. As such, I feel further explanation is necessary.

I think the vast majority of creative types wish to have their work experienced by others as best they can be. As such many pieces of art are reproduced and sold on the market, books, video games, etc. are given large production runs so many people can enjoy them. There is the financial motivator as well obviously, but that is generally not a concern beyond production when it comes to cosplay as much of it uses copyrighted imagery and designs. However, this doesn’t mean that cosplayers don’t want others to see and appreciate their work, quite the opposite, as many cosplay outfits are made by and for the person who wears it. But the people who will typically understand what the outfit means and why it’s significant and appreciate those things. However, say you’re wearing ne of the Moon Knight costumes, not everyone will get that, not even every nerd, and you’ll only run into so many who do at Armageddon Expo in two weeks. At least until the Disney+ show comes out that is. That being as it may, you will often want pictures of your outfit taken so the maximum number of people can appreciate it.

That’s where the photographers come in. The best way to document something visual in the real world is to photograph or to film it. What’s interesting though is that this relationship is symbiotic, even when the photographers are not being paid. Many will take the photos simply due to being impressed by the quality of the costuming. Not only that a good photoset even of cosplay of a copyrighted character can be very good for a photographer’s portfolio and can be used as an example of their skills with a camera and thus lead to more business in a professional context and compliments/adoration in a casual context.

For both parties there is sentimental value in having pictures of a convention that one has attended, for nerds, it can be a very nice experience to be surrounded likeminded people with similar interests and mutually partaking in them. It’s the kind of thing that one would often want to remember. Take a picture, as they say, it does, in fact, last longer and once you have it you can mean as much as your subjective memories might allow.

Once a picture is taken it is often posted online and may well go viral, letting millions of people see and appreciate both the photography/cinematography and the work that has gone into a cosplay outfit and performance. This can lead to all kinds of opportunities for both the cosplayer and the one responsible for their work being captured for all to see.

Put on a happy face, you never know who, nor how many might see it.