According to Mountfort (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography and what are their dominant features?

No one puts on a costume and doesn’t want to be noticed. The entire purpose of dressing up is to visually represent something and be noticed as that thing that you are representing. In this simple way the connection between photography and cosplay is obvious, as one one would not want their authentic Anime costume, which they spent hours meticulous detailing, to go unnoticed or unappreciated. Due to the rise in popularity of conventions such as comic con and Armageddon the way in which these people, referred to as cosers, are photographed has developed into three distinct genres, which all have a different purpose in the way in which cosplay is promoted. 

In 1939 the first World Con event was held in New York. This event led to key relationship between space and cosplay. This is where the location or a specific place inside a venue is used as a sort of photobooth, where a cosplayer can have their picture taken. Perhaps in a faithful rendition of a popular scene from a show or just to showcase their costume. Two popular photographic genres, the staged competition shoot and the so called, hallway snapshot, were the first specific styles of cos photography which developed at this time (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy 2018) Another important tool, which seems sort of obvious, was the changes in camera technology which helped formulate and shape cosplay today. From the 1950’s black and white 35 mm cameras to today’s smartphones and the internet. The capability of photography has often been a driving force, where new technology has meant more choice in the way someone’s picture is taken. With devices becoming handheld, one does not need to be a professional photographer, or have to set up an elaborate shoot to capture someone’s picture in good detail.  Chafin (2017) talks about the first comic con, which happened in 1970 at the Grant hotel. A three day event held at seedy hotel, a far cry from the multi billion dollar event which happens today. Where cosplay has become one tool which the entertainment industry uses to promote their films, television and comics. The fashion runway shoot, the third style of cos photography, is perhaps a leading tool in this field (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy 2018) 

-Hallway snapshot 

A spontaneous photo taken in a non organized area. The most ubiquitous form of cosphotogrpahy, based around fan expectations. These can be set up by a simple exchange, such as a raised eyebrow or a raising of a camera, to get the consent of the coser. New smartphone technology has allowed regular attendees to cosplay events, to be able to take decent photos and the internet allows for the wide circulation of those pictures on online platforms. The sharing of cosplay photos is a crucial element to the art. Not so much as to add a competitive element but simply as an exaggeration of the initial purpose. To be noticed. One potential use of the hallway snapshot, could be to understand the current trends and styles which are popular at these events. Having the ability to take your own photos at random times, without too much preparation or organization, could result in showcasing a wider display of the current popular characters from both movie, TV, anime and magna (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy 2018) 

Fashion studio shoot

An organized event that strongly resembles a typical runway shoot. Where fashion models don costumes and parade about, allowing professional photographers access. They utilize elements such as fast zooms, catwalks and repetitive shooting.  This is an event more likely appealing to photographers, who see the organized set up as a chance to take quality photographs. Though the fashion shoot can be as much a performance, as it can be a shoot. The fashion shoot is often design for promotion, either of cosers or cosplay events (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy 2018) 

Staged competition shoot 

The privileged shoot amongst cosplay circles at events. This is because the staged shot allows coser’s to showcase the level of labor that went into their particular costume and to demonstrate props. The fashion shoots, while perhaps a more professional event, are not seen as genuine. The models are looked at like clotheshorses, who are simply wearing the costumes. Where as with a staged competition shoot, you have dedicated cosplayers, who could be seen as the genuine article. There are also specific places in which these photos can be taken. Against backdrops which relate to the shows or in places which allow for action shots (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy 2018) 


Chafin, C. (2017, July 19). San Diego Comic-Con: The Untold History. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from

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

Jenkins, H (2012) Superpowered Fans: The many worlds of San Diego’s Comic-Con Boom: A Journal of California, Vol. 2 No. 2, Summer 2012; (pp. 22-36) DOI: 10.1525/boom.2012.2.2.22

Figure 1. Hallway snapshot. From “bored panda” by Vaičiulaitytė G, 2018 (

Figure 2. Fashion shoot. From “Ikkeibp” by, Cur, 2018 (

Figure 3. Staged fashion shot. From “Film Jackets” by Film jackets, 2019 (

Week 9: Cosplay

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


Conventions have long been a way for those with more obscure or out-there hobbies or interests could meet each other and engage with each other in various ways. There has been a constant expansion of who these conventions cater for, and a number of them have become major annual events, including Armageddon and San Diego Comic Con.

Comic Con is one of the largest fan conventions in the world, and has been running for  49 years since “the inaugural event, held on 21 March 1970” Sommerlad (2018). It was created by fans for fans, with the intent to provide them with a central gathering place to talk about their fandom’s and interests with others. While initially this only attracted 100 people, it is now an annual event with almost “130,000” Sommerlad (2018) attendees every year. For most of its early life it it had to make do with being held in various hotels around San Diego, until “it moved into the Convention Center in 1990 shortly after the facility opened” Malloy (2008). The primary way in which Comic Con has managed to separate itself from the competition is through the way in which it provides a safe place for those with an interest with often niche fandom’s and interests to explore them among their peers, meeting their favorite stars from these events and purchasing various memorabilia from the shows, comics and books that they love. They are willing to allow almost anyone a place to share their love of something, and because of this it has become one of the largest fan conventions in the world.

Armageddon by comparison is quite small. “Held in Auckland since 1995” Armageddon. (n.d.), the show initially catered more towards those interested in trading cards and collecting miniatures. “Starting off in small community venues” Mountfort (2018), it slowly developed, moving to larger and larger locations as demand increased and the   nature of its content continued to become more inclusive, including various content for cosplayer’s, fans of shows like Star Trek and the Marvel Movies, and video games of various types. Now there are a number of different locations for Armageddon each year, and these allow the expo to reach a wider audience as they do not have to travel long distances to attend.

There are some key differences between these two major fan conventions. The primary difference is in the location of the two conventions. Comic Con, as it says in the the name, is based in San Diego, while Armageddon is an Oceania based convention. Also, while Armageddon has a large fan base, the individual conventions cannot compete with the likes of Comic Con for sheer scale of attendees and wider attention. This is exacerbated by the way in which Comic Con is used to host a variety of exclusive announcements and advertising such as sneak peeks at future video games and shows, and new trailers for upcoming movies from various franchises. Much of the big news in the nerd world is released at Comic Con due to its wide audience and the fact that much of that audience will be the fans of whatever the advertising is about. Armageddon, while it is popular, does attract a smaller fan base, and so doesn’t get the same requests for big announcements that Comic Con does.


Armageddon. (n.d.). History – Armageddon Expo. Retrieved from

Malloy, E. (2008, April 18). Charting Comic-Con’s Hulk-like growth. San Diego Source. Retrieved from

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

Sommerlad, J. (2018, July 18). Comic-Con 2018: How the San Diego pop culture festival became a commercial juggernaut. Independent (UK). Retrieved from

Week 9 – Cosplay

According to Mountfort (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography and what are their dominant features?

From imitating Japanese anime characters’ appearances to those of Marvel characters and so on, the popularity of cosplaying is getting popular and popular. Some people, including me, are wearing costumes of villains, ghosts, and superheroes on Halloween to enjoy that days with their friends although they are not the biggest fans of specific characters. Before getting into what are the three genres of cosphotography, I will figure out why ‘cosplay’ becomes the popular genre in order to understand why both photography and cosplay are influencing each other.

Suckling (2016) explains seven reasons why cosplay has become so popular globally. To begin with, the fans who are obsessed with sci-fi and fantasy TV show and film characters were started to publicize them commercially by wearing those characters’ costumes (Suckling, 2016). Costume play and cosphotography are take for granted that they have rooted on fandoms with regard to their features of imitating particular characters. Besides, there are six reasons left which played significant roles towards costume play’s popularity – superhero film franchises; firmly formed cosplayers’ communities both online and offline; fans’ desires to make reality into fantasy; lots of open-minded people who usually do cosplay which give impression that there is no age, sex and appearance limitation for cosplaying; emerging confidence and courage by role-playing superheroes and cute anime characters; and lastly, cosplay is simply fun (Suckling, 2016). Therefore, cosplay refers to the icon of respecting diversity and freedom which attract people into cosplay world.

When there are cosplayers, there are a number of photographers who take pictures of it. Therefore, the term for photography of cosplay is “cosphotography” (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Mountfort et al. (2018) states that there are three prominent cosphotography genres – first, a number of staged costume festival on the runway; second, “the hallway snapshot” (p.50); and third, “studio portrait” (p.51). One of the features of these genres is that they contributed on the camera technology development. For instant, from 35mm shots to smart phone cameras (Mountfort et al., 2018), cosphotography played its role for the camera which captures clearer and sharper picture for the public. Better and higher quality of photography not only satisfies cosplayers desire to become superheroes, but also critics’ evaluation of those photos and cosplayers (Mountfort et al., 2018). Moreover, the spontaneity of cosplayers is dominant in cosphotography (Mountfort et al., 2018). Those cosplayers wear make-up, put on a wig, and pose like their favourite character. They enjoy being taken photos by cosphotographer on their own initiative. Sometimes, cosphotography influences people to be impressed by futuristic fashion and science fiction through such as Morojo’s dress in the twenty-fifth century (Mountfort et al., 2018). It is impressive that cosphotography could be the vehicle for people to encounter new genres and make them enjoying it.

To conclude, cosphotography contributed to the technology development in terms of quality and popularity. Although cosplay seems like minor people’s genre who are into anime, sci-fi, DC, Marvel et cetera, it accepts and allows any people to become the superhero and other attractive characters and get away from the exhausting real life.


Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Cosphotography and fan capital. In Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom (pp. 45-74). Chicago, IL: Intellect Books.

Suckling, L. (2016, August 16). Cosplay: What makes it so popular?. Retrieved from

The Art of Cosplay

What is a workable definition of cosplay?

BRLTW45JKU0N1508366402637Cosplay is an incredibly popular phenomenon of culture, and while it has so much in common with other costume based art forms, there are some specific characteristics of cosplay that have turned it into the unique beast that it is today. People dress as characters from movies, comics, books, fanfiction, and anything that is recognisable in pop culture. They put immense amounts of time and effort into their art, and have their pictures taken, all to varying degrees of expense and professionalism. The cross-overs of creative industries and rise of conventions for fans of sci-fi, anime and fantasy have helped in the boom of cosplay, and the people involved in it define it by what it is – and what it isn’t.

cosplay1Cosplay as defined by Mountfort, Peirson-Smith, & Geczy, (2018) is “…a performance medium in which embodied textual citation and photographic practices come together and sometimes collide.” So… let’s work on rephrasing that. It’s about bringing characters to life through costume. However, in this medium, it’s not necessarily any character. There is a reason people go to cosplay conventions as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), but not as the same character from the Pride and Prejudice BBC series (1980). It’s hard to pinpoint, but it seems to be to do with the “camp” nature of cosplay. Camp, as in the “spirit of extravagance”, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Singh-Kurtz, October, 2018) Let me be clear here – cosplayers themselves can be very serious about the effort they put in to their art, but the artform itself is intrinsically playful. Genres like science fiction and fantasy lend themselves more to the visual medium of cosplay far better than literature and “high art.” It is similar in this way to Drag- and indeed, “Crossplay” is a subgenre of cosplay- Drag being a hyper-exaggerated form of gender costuming, and cosplay a form of character costuming. (Nichols, 2019)

Speaking of Drag, which has also enjoyed a recent boom in popularity, the competitive f1e47e3ccbe9d7fe5538f9ef000d7f74side of the two artforms is worth looking at as we decide on our definition. Drag history is deeply rooted in pageantry, offering queer people a safe place to play with gender and costuming, then adding a competitive element for the sport, and for audience participation (Firkus, 2018). Cosplay often feels similar to drag in many ways, there is an acceptance of weirdness and artistic licence, and respect for the story that a costume can tell (Nichols, 2019). However, when cosplay competitions are set up, often the judgements can be problematic; sexism and body shaming came into the mix when the reality series Heroes of Cosplay (2015) aired, and while there are plenty of different versions of cosplay competitions out there, criteria for fair and unbiased judging just haven’t reached the level of nuance that Drag competitions have managed to find (Christofí, 2015).  Cosplayers seem not so much to look for validation through of a panel of judges – the satisfaction from cosplaying is largely in the audience it reaches – through the lens of a camera (Mountfort et. al, 2018).

65448827_2147197025409164_7818625496322583041_nPhotography is to cosplay what milk is to cereal. You could enjoy the cereal alone, but the experience is not as satisfying. There is a catharsis that comes from having a photograph of oneself in the garb of a fantasy world – everyone who’s ever dressed in a Halloween costume knows this. Of course, there is a dark side to the symbiotic relationship between cosplayers and cos-photographers – birthing the movement known as Cosplay is not Consent, which aims to remind people that touching and taking pictures of those in costume must be consensual (Romano, 2014). One (less sinister) reason for this is that often, costumes have been styled so that they work best from a certain angle- it can be very disheartening for cosplayers to work for weeks and months on a design and a synchronised pose only to see a photo of themselves online in said costume with their shoulders slumped over as they check their phone.

So, we put all this together, and what have we come up with? The main themes are of creativity, costuming and playfulness. As with all art-forms, there is a sort of bleed into other popular current mediums, and the flexibility of cosplay is one of its many charms. Perhaps a good working definition of cosplay is this: A modern form of costuming art centred around pop culture texts, created for pageantry and widely consumed through photography. Even that could be tweaked a bit. One could call it post-modern in many ways, if one were inclined to sound clever. I won’t, though. I’m not that serious. In truth, Mountford et. al. nailed it right out of the gate – but as with all art-forms, there’s always plenty of different ways to say the same thing.



Christofí, H (2015). Cosplay Contest Judging Criteria, Cyprus Comic-con. Retrieved on September 30, 2019 from

Nichols, E. (January, 2019) : ‘As if’: women in genres of the fantastic, cross-platform entertainments and transmedial engagements. Retrieved 01.10.19 from

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

Singh-Kurtz, S. (October, 2018) Susan Sontag’s 54-year-old essay on “camp” is essential reading. Retrieved on October 6th, 2019 from

Firkus, B. (September, 2018) InQueery: Trixie Mattel Breaks Down the History of “Drag”. Retrieved on October 6th from

Romano, A. (October, 2014) Cosplay Is Not Consent: The People Fighting Sexual Harassment at Comic Con. Retrieved 6th October 2019, from

Week 9

  1. What is a workable definition of cosplay?

Cosplay is a performing agency, which finds its meaning through popular culture and is expressed often through photography, (Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy, 2018).

  1. What are some of the major fan conventions, when did they begin and how do they differ from each other?

In early december 1995, Armageddon began in Auckland, New Zealand, (Armageddon, n.d.). Starting out as a space to share comics and trading cards, Armageddon quickly expanded to Wellington two years later, then on to Melbourne in 1999 (Armageddon, n.d.). Armageddon quickly transformed into the major New Zealand and Australia fan event that we know today, with multiple events held across the countries each year. As the convention grew to host nearly 70,000 annual visitors [ref here mountfort], the event spaces changed with it. Starting out at raceways and community centres, before moving on to theatres and small event centres, before moving to exhibition spaces, areans, and showgrounds (Armageddon, n.d.). With an annual attendance of around 130,000 across Australasia, in just 20 years the kiwi convention is now rivaling San Diego’s Comic Con, (Mountfort et al., 2018).

Beginning in 1969, a group of young American men came together to create Comic-Con. Chris Chafin (2017) of the Rolling Stone, suggests that they “were all outsiders who worked together to make a place where outsiders could feel at home”, (para 3). Mike Towry, one of the originators, agrees that “you were an oddball or an outcast if you were into that stuff” (Chafin, 2017, para 4), so it is no wonder that creating a safe space for a community who felt marginalised by society was a big hit. The first convention drew 300 people, but as that number grew – just like Armageddon – the venues were upscaled. Beginning in Hotels and Universities, before moving to the San Diego Convention Centre in 1991 (Malloy, 2008). One of the initial factors for the quick growth of the event is said to have stemmed from the Comic Con organising committee networking with other fandoms (Glanzer & Sassaman, 2009, p. 75). With the event now bringing in 135,000 attendees, it is competing with other fan conventions across the United States for numbers (Guerrero, 2019).

The differences between conventions lie within their geographical locations and genealogy. Australasia’s Armageddon offers a variety of popular fandoms within the NZ and AU culture. For example, Officer’s O’Leary and Minogue are guests at this year’s Armageddon in Auckland. They are known for their spin off tv-show Wellington Paranormal, being birthed from What We Do In The Shadows, created by Kiwi’s Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, (Armageddon, n.d.). The conventions are designed with their attendees in mind, so therefore there are differences (as well as similarities) to be expected.






Armageddon. (n.d.). History – Armageddon Expo. Retrieved from

Chafin, C. (2017, July 19). San Diego Comic-Con: The Untold History. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from

Glanzer, D. & Sassaman, G. (2009). Comic-Con 40 Souvenir Book. San Diego: San Diego Comic-Con International

Guerrero, D. (2019, July 11). Breaking Down Comic-Con 2019 by the Numbers. Retrieved from

Malloy, E. (2008, April 18). Charting Comic-Con’s Hulk-like growth. San Diego Source. Retrieved from

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

Week 9 Cosplay

What is a workable definition of cosplay?

Cosplay is a term blended with the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’ (Winge, 2018). It is a performance art in which participants whom which are called cosplayers wears costumes and accessories to represent their favourite character. Cosplayers are joined together through conventions, interacting with each other in which it forms a subculture. When it comes to cosplay, gender as well as identity is a minor aspect as people feel more comfortable in their true self when in cosplay, the term ‘crossplay’ exists in this area as it is a form of art that a person displays him/her self in a character with the opposite gender.





Many speculate that cosplay originated from Japan, but Winge (2018) suggests that it started back in 1876 with Jules Verne’s masquerade ball where he had asked his guests to dress up as science fiction characters, it continued on for a few years when Takahashi Nobuyuki attended Worldcon and introduced “kospure” or “cosplay” to Japan, terms in which he created to describe the art behind costume and competition.

A woman cosplaying a strong and powerful character


A female ‘cross-playing’ a male Marvel character

Cosplay can be defined by the individuals who participate in this type of art performance. Through vigorous research of their chosen characters and elaborate costumes and activities, Cosplayers work out fictional identities out of place and time. One of the main benefits behind cosplaying is being able to live behind the fantasy of a cosplayers’ favourite character, this can be defined as an escapism from reality (Winge, 2018).  It is a practice in which fans interact with each other, learning of each other’s true identity and interacting with their chosen narrative and characters and therefore being able to identify themselves (Nichols, 2019). Dressing as a powerful character can provide a sense of power and agency, adopting a costume is used as a disguisethat the Cosplayer may be more confident, adventurous or bolder than without the costumes (Winge, 2018). In Nichol’s article (2019), she states that the different lists of characters played by one woman (characters in which are diverse in age and gender) can be a proof to the freedom and power that women can find behind being part of this performance art


Nichols, E. (2019, Jan). Playing with identity: gender, performance and feminine agency in Cosplay. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. Retrieved from

Winge, T. (2018).Costuming Cosplay: Dressing the Imagination[DX Reader Version]. Retrieved from




Week 9, Cosplay – Question Three

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

Fan conventions have offered fans from different fandoms to express their love for their interests. Over time, there has been a variety of different fan conventions which have developed into annual and prominent events in their own right such as the Armageddon Expo and the San Diego Comic-Con.

The Armageddon Expo has been holding events for the fans for (approximately) the last 23 years. According to Mountfort (2018), “it began as a comics and trading card event” in Auckland with follow-up events occurring in 1997 (pg 91). Due to its popularity and demand, the Expo spread to Wellington in 1998 and then in 1999 to Melbourne, Australia. Additionally, the event has been running as an almost yearly event ever since. With the events running more frequently, the size of the venues also expanded. The Expo started in small community centres and then with the increase of its popularity, eventually moved into larger convention centres. Meanwhile, with the growth of the Armageddon Expo from a small trading card event, it has evolved into a convention which celebrates fandoms from different genres, such as sci-fi and comics, with the various events they hold during the Expo weekends. 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. So, without a doubt, the Armageddon Expo is a major fan convention in Australasia.

The San Diego Comic-Con in the USA is another extremely popular fan convention which started in the 1970s. Comic-Con was the result of a meeting between acquaintances in 1969 who were interested in comics and cosplay and the fandom culture. According to an article by the Chafin for the Rolling Stone (2017), the creation of the event was inspired because they “were all outsiders who worked together to make a place where outsiders could feel at home”. So, evidently, the purpose of Comic-Con was so there could be a safe place for fans to express their interests without being isolated. In fact, similar to the Armageddon Expo, Comic-Con also provides fans with numerous opportunities to meet their heroes, get their autographs, buy merchandise, and of course, to cosplay without harsh judgment. Over time, as this event managed to grow and develop into one of the biggest fan conventions in the world, and over time, also achieved their goal of mainstreaming and normalising such behaviour and events.

While the San Diego Comic-Con and the Armageddon Expo are both major fan conventions and are similar in many ways, there are also quite a few differences between the two events. One of the major differences would relate to the commercialisations Comic-Con utilises to their benefit, while the Armageddon Expo does not do so explicitly. While earning money from events like this is not unusual in the USA (Coachella does this very similarly), it has been raised as an issue for a lot of people. For example, the prices of the tickets to enter the convention centre have increased and “comics publisher Mile High announced they would no longer attend… due to the rise in the cost of a booth… from $40 in 1973… to $18,000.” However, regardless of this commercialisation, Comic-Con fans have a lot of loyal fans willing to go no matter what. Comic-Con provides rare opportunities for fans to get “sneak previews of highly anticipated new movies and encounter the likes of Gal Gadot, Chadwich Boseman and Tom Holland in the flesh.” (Sommerlad, 2018, for the Independent (UK)). Movie companies and TV channels and streaming services etc. also hold back their special announcements for plans, solely so they can announce it at Comic-Con – such as how HBO would previously promote Game of Thrones. That experience and prestige created by Comic-Con outweighs the monetary aspects of the industry and thus, continues to succeed and attract more attendees.

Chafin, C. (2017, July 19). San Diego Comic-Con: The Untold History. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from

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

Sommerlad, J. (2018, July 18). Comic-Con 2018: How the San Diego pop culture festival became a commercial juggernaut. Independent (UK). Retrieved from