Week 9 Question

According to Mountfort et al. (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography, and how did they historically develop?

Cosphotography could be simply defined as the videoing and photography of those participating in cosplay. However, this is a simple definition for a large subject. This concept dates back to over a century ago, in 1908, where a man dressed as a character from a cartoon strip at a masquerade ball. Since this humble beginning cosphotography has expanded extensively, moving from cartoon strips to more common medias of the 21st century, such as film and anime. Mountford (2020) says that “photography plays a crucial role in contemporary cosplay”. As time has gone on, cosphotography has split into three main genres, which will be my main subject in this blog.

The most traditional genre of cosphotography is official costume competitions, or fashion shows of cosphotography (Mountford, 2020). In these competitions, cosplayers would model, act and show off their cosplay skills in front of crowds of people. In these crowds there were photographers and videographers, who would record these performances. Usually, there would be prizes and rewards for these competitions. This genre of cosphotography originates back to the early 1900s, where many masquerades had formal costume competitions. Another genre of competition influenced by masquerade competitions would be pageants, which involve outfits, performances and rewards.

The second genre, and perhaps the least official would be hallway cosphotography. This genre is more casual and perhaps the most common in the modern age, where these simple shots can be taken and posted on social media sources, such as Facebook or Instagram. This genre is often seen at conventions, when a cosplayer will dress up and have photos taken of them, usually without permission. However, if it is a shot with another fan, there is always opportunities for a cosplayer to gain fans, or even capital. Mountford (2018) says that “Cosplayers see it as a compliment when fans do want to have a photo taken with them”. Historically, these shots originated from the first cosplay conventions, in the 80s.

The final genre of cosphotography is the studio portrait. Unlike the other two genres, this one is not usually done in front of large groups of people, and it is not done in a public setting. Cosplayers are in a private location, getting photos and videos taken pre-arranged by the cosplayer and photographer/videographer. Full consent is given to share these photos and videos themselves, and the rewards from these photos are purely their own. Historically, this genre dates back to the 70s, when polaroid’s and instant cameras were in their prime. However, these beginnings were in convention settings, instead of private studios as we see nowadays.

References

Mountfort, P. (2018). Cosplay as Citation. In P. Mountfort, A. Peirson-Smith, & A. Geczy, Planet Cosplay. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Week 9: Brendan O’Neill

According to Mountfort et al. (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography, and how did they historically develop?

Cosphotography is a category of photography based around the photographs of cosplayers. These photos often exist as a result of the work of the cosplayer to create the cosplay in addition to the efforts of the photographer, making it an interesting form of photography where the subject matter is more credited than the photographer for the final result. According to Mountfort et al. (2018), There are three main genres of cosphotography.

The first genre of cosphotography is the runway style of cosphotography. The runway style is meant to replicate the way that mainstream fashion culture functions at the professional level. Like mainstream fashions shows this genre of cosphotography are typically held on a catwalk or stage. This genre is unique because the quality of the costume is usually the more significant factor, taking precedent over the cosplayers ability to accurately enact their character. In addition to this the stageshow format of this genre also limits the extent to which the cosplayer can represent their chosen character. Being limited to music choice and body language.

The second genre of cosphotography is studio style cosphotography. Studio style is often impromptu or organised shortly beforehand. Studio style comes as the result of an agreement between the photographer and the cosplayer. The photographer often either wants to take the photo out of admiration for the character being cosplayed, or the quality of the cosplay itself, and the cosplayer will cooperate as an expectation of the results of cosplaying at a convention and because the impromptu photo request is a form of compliment. 

The final genre of cosphotography is hallway shots. Where the photographer photographs the cosplayer in the middle of their ‘performance’ within the improvised cosplay space, and then distributes the content through social media. Unlike the other genres, this genre doesn’t necessarily require the knowing cooperation of the cosplayer. 

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

Week 9: Cosplay, by Rachel Banks

Q2. In what ways can cosphotography be understood as a form of “fan capital”?

 “‘Cosphotography and Fan Capital’ investigates photographic practices at cosplaying sites….For cosers, photographs and video can serve as tokens of exchange within an economy of desire that values subcultural capital or hipness rather than raw dollar value.” Mountfort et al. (2018)

The art of creating a costume, hair makeup and putting it all together to become a cosplay character can become a very dedicated and time consuming hobby. Therefore some Cosplayers want to retain the rights of any photographs of their image and creative outlet.  Within convention spaces there are props and interesting image backgrounds in which cos players can take photographs of them and their friends. However, there is also the monetization of cosphotography where by people will pay a fee to have a selfie with a delegate/actor who is onsite representing their Franchise. There are also fashion shows for cosplayers to show their costumes to each other. Often there are prizes attached. People within the cosplay community may use their cosphotography as a way to contribute, participate in and show off their talents to the community. In this way cosphotography can be more valuable to dedicated players than the monetary value spent on the creation of their costumes. Some cosplayers will give permission to be photographed by other attendees at a cosplay event.

“The resulting images may go nowhere, but equally they offer potential exposure to a global audience of millions, within and beyond the cosphere.”
Mountfort et al.(2018)

References

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay. Intellect Books. Intro and Chapter 1

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay. Intellect Books. Intro and Chapter 2

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2019), Cosplay at Armageddon Expo*, Journal of Geek Studies Cosplay at Armageddon Expo* | Journal of Geek Studies. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://jgeekstudies.org/2019/08/11/cosplay-at-armageddon-expo/

Week 9

1. According to Mountfort et al. (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography, and how did they historically develop?

Cosphotography is Cosplay Photography if im going to be completely honest before these readings i didn’t even know that was even counted as a genre of photography and that is has a rich background leading back to at least 1939.

The following are the 3 cosphotography sub genres as defined in Moutainfort et al. (2018) are the hallway snapshot, staged competition shoot and the Studio portrait. The competition shoot was established from annual masquerades where there were formal costume competitions. The hallway snapshot originated from more informal convention settings where the term hallway costumes was coined Mountfort el al. (2018).The first one being more professional while the second being more casual both of these originated during the 1930s-40s.
Finally the 3rd the studio portrait which came around with polaroid’s and instant cameras of the 70s this consisted of staging shots that were performed in the informal locations of conventions and such instead of studios Mountfort el al. (2018).

Reference:

Mountfort, P. R., Geczy, A., & Peirson-Smith, A. (2018). Planet cosplay: costume play, identity and global fandom. Intellect.

Week 9: In what ways can cosphotography be understood as a form of “fan capital”?

To begin with cosphtography is the act of both photography and videoing those who choose to cosplay. The word itself is a portmanteau of the two words, photography and cosplay. It has become a widely known form of art within the 21st century, and fans show their appreciation of cosphtography by taking part in huge festivals that showcase the different characters through cosplay. Cosphotograohy is a means through which cosplayers labor and hardwork are validated by fans. Additionally, thorough cosphotography, cosplayers are given the ability to showcase how dedicated they really are to their chosen fandom. This is similar to creating a social media platform to promote a fandom, only now it is done through cosplay using  cosphotography, after which the photos are distributed  online through platforms such as fandom pages and message boards, in order to bring popularity to the cosplayer. Mountfort (2018) explains how photography is essential for cosplayers as it draws them attention, giving rise to their cosplay and establishing a ‘fan capital’. Mountfort (2018) elaborates on how cosplayers spend a lot of time, effort and money into their costumes. Therefore, they expect some sort of capital as a token of their dedication, recognition and hardwork.

Cosphotography is not just valuable for the cosplayers but also fans. This is because it is a type of currency that can be traded between cosplayers, fans and photographers. All parties have some sort of financial gain from the act as well as an increase in personal value, and appreciation.To break it down, a ‘fan capital’ is a source of popularity and income to the cosplayer.  Fans may request photos which the cosplayers can sell to them.In saying that, gaining a fan capital is not easy, as the cosplayer must be outstanding amongst all else.  Cosplayers gain “subcultural capital or a quality of hipness” through each photo that is taken (Hale, 2014, p. 9).In addition, Mountford informs the readers that gathering the correct resources to morph into a character requires a lot of money. This is when cosphotography comes into play, and cosplayers are provided with “private value but fan capital that circulates within wider, largely online networks of exchange operating in the cosphere.” Accordingly, they rise in popularity, and develop a hobby into something more. (Mountfort et al., p. 47, 2018). 

Unfortunately for some, there are always negative implications of every form of art. Cosphotography brings into picture- bullying, body shaming and the hyoer sexualisation of female cosplayers within the industry. This has been evident in expos such as Armageddon and Comicon within the years where cosplayers do not return back the following year as they are discouraged or made to feel embarrassed and ‘child like’. Failing to realise the amount of effort and commitment that is put into  transforming your body into art. Visual token of course, are the centre of attraction as they can be exchanged within the community and as a result, tensions are never ending.As Mountford mentions, reality Televison series such as cosplay Melee are facing backlash due to creating a competitive environment that is a threat to the heterotpian side of cosplay. The lack of collaboration and the increase in rivalry does not unify the community to collaborate and attain a greater ‘fan capital’. (Mountford, 2018).

Despite the fact that there is a negative aspect to cosmotography due to its exploitative nature and stigmatisation. Cosplayers and fans are able to express themselves freely, they are able to switch from passive consumers to producers of culture, and vice versa. (Mountfort, 2018). These orthodox notions of judgement and sexualisation of cosplayers are quite frankly undeserving. Just like any other ‘academic convention’ cosplayers deserve to be recognised and accredited for their efforts regardless of what their cosplay may be interpreted as. Rightfully so, they should be awarded with a fan capital.

References

Mountfort, P. (2018). Planet cosplay. Intellect Books. 

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Blackboard. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/

Geczy, A., Mountfort, P., Peirson- Smith, A. (2018). Planet cosplay. United Kingdom: Bristol, United States: Chicago. Interlect

Week 9: Anastasia Shearer

Question 3: What are some of the problems around cosphotography in terms of various (potentially unwelcome) gazes?

A big problem around cosphotography is the sexualising and objectifying of cosplayers, especially female cosplayers. This is a common problem in Japan because the age demographic for cosplayers are astutely younger compared to other places in the world with 90% of cosplayer participants being females in their twenties. Furthermore, in Japan there are weekly hall events in which cosplayers can attend to be photographed, the problem being that the majority of photographers are male. However, the rules in Japan around cosphotography are stricter than they are in the west. Some cosplayers will already have cards that have photographs of them that they can give out to their fan base and which also helps them to further build up their following, whereas other cosplayers known as toreareta will want to have their photograph taken. However, they still have the right to be concerned about where the photographs will be displayed and will often only consent to be photographed by a small group of trusted contacts. Additionally, the Japanese cosplay culture has a social ritual involved in asking for permission to photograph someone that is more official and expected than in the west (Mountfort, 2018). This ritual involves the photographer politely approaching the cosplayer and asking for their permission to be photographed. If the cosplayer agrees they will go through a set of poses. The photographer will take one or more pictures depending on if it’s been specified. Both the photographer and the cosplayer will thank each other, and sometimes the photographer will give them the prints once they have been developed (Mountfort, 2018). It is rituals such as these that may make the cosplayer feel heard, respected and comfortable as they have given consent. As well as this, the ritual helps to protect the female cosplayers from being demonstrated to hentai lech (the Japanese way of saying pervert). Japan also corners off designated areas for female cosplayers to further prevent any uncomfortable interactions with said perverts. 

Some female Japanese cosplayers have criticized this approach as they feel that when they cosplay they have the strength and empowerment to ward off any lurking eyes and unwelcome photographers. Some cosplayers have taken their publicity into their own hands and have started posting the photos themselves without the sexualised clickbait tagline. But it has also had the opposite effect, it has been shown that though many female cosplayers from east Asia enjoy the attention they receive whilst out in costume, the cosphotography can lead to feelings of insecurity about their appearance or feeling as though they are being publicly sexualised. This has shown to either make them stop cosplaying and participating in these events or at least stop attending them alone. 

Sexualisation is not the only way in which cosphotographers and the public make cosplayers feel. Sometimes the photographers aren’t there to enjoy and appreciate the cosplayers efforts at all, instead they diminish and mock the cosplayers efforts. It was found that 10% of non-costumed attendees only go to these conventions to later upload the photographs and publicly mock the cosplayers (Mountfort, 2018). Many studies have been done around the detrimental side of social media, and that unfortunately does not surpass the world of cosplay. Fat shaming of female cosplayers, mocking of costumes and just general trolling is thrown upon the cosplay community both from inside and outside the cosplay community (Mountfort, 2018).    

References

Mountfort, P. (2018). Planet cosplay. Intellect Books. 

week 9

In what ways can cosphotography be understood as a form of “fan capital

Cosphotography is the act of photographing and videoing someone who is taking part in the act of “cosplay”. Fans of anime and manga cosplay in order to show their appreciation for the craft, cosphotography is similar, by taking pictures of cosplayers these photographers can share and distribute the photos on online message boards increasing chances of popularizing the cosplayer. For a fan of either the cosplayer or the text the character originated from, taking pictures of, and with the cosplayers can show how much dedication into the “fandom”, you are putting in, much like buying merchandise of the character shows how much of a fan you are. 

People usually take cosphotography at conventions, like Comicon and Armageddon, where cosplay is encouraged, and taking photos is allowed. Many cosplayers make builds especially for these conventions, and try to take as many pictures, so as to boost their social media followings, and try to become more popular. Anime fans especially, love to take pictures and interact with cosplayers, as they are the bridge that connects the 2d world to our world, making it possible to interact and talk with their beloved characters. However, there is lots of outcry from the cosplay community of sexual harassment, like inappropriate touching, mainly from female cosplayers. Because a lot of fictional characters (especially female) wear sexually suggestive clothing, some fans think that it’s okay to touch inappropriately because they are, “asking for it”.

“Fan service”, is something used in all media where women wear and do suggestive things in order to gain more attention from viewers, so through cos photography, fans can fulfil their fantasies, and have a tangible record of it happening. 

Week 9: Mollie Chater

According to Mountfort et al. (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography, and how did they historically develop?

Cosphotography is the idea of cosplay and photography becoming one. Taking photos of cosplay or people in cosplay, has become a form of entertainment over social media and for conventions like Armageddon. Cosphotography can refer to both taking photos and videos to gain recognition and money through the act of becoming a character convincingly and usually in an aesthetically pleasing way.  People spend thousands of dollars trying to recreate characters from fandoms either with their own spin or in a way that convinces others that it is a good rendition of the said character.

Historically cosphotography can been seen dating back to 1908, when a man dressed as a character from a carton strip at a masquerade ball. Adapting again in the 1970 in Japan when people would dress as characters from anime and manga

The first of the three main genres would be a fashion show of cosphotography (Mountfort, 2018) where cosplayers would go to show off their cosplay and performances of their characters to a planned crowd of people and cameras, where they would be filmed, these show events would usually have a competition to reward the cosplayers hard labor and performances they create for the characters they portray.

The second would be what Mountfort refers to as ‘Hallway’ cosphotography, this can be seen most usually at conventions where cosplayers show off to crowds for fun, photos are usually taken without permission, yet a photo with another fan can be negotiated with to allow for the cosplayers to be able to make some for of capital for their labor. Again, the better or more realistic the cosplay the more rewarding the experience can be for the cosplayer. According to Mountfort, the cosplayers see it as a compliment when fans do want to have a photo taken or produced for them and can also been seen as a reward for the cosplayer.

The last genre of cosphotography would be studio portrait. This is where cosplayers are in a private location, having photos and videos taken with full consent to then share the photos and videos to share and distribute the photos themselves so that they can gain rewards for their work for themselves.

From all three genres, typically the most publicly seen is the hallway cosphotography where cosplayers go to conventions and share their work though social networking and negotiated and 50/50 consensual photos and videos.

References:

Mountfort, P. (2018). Cosplay as Citation. In P. Mountfort, A. Peirson-Smith, & A. Geczy, Planet Cosplay. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Week 9 Question

 In what ways can cosphotography be understood as a form of “fan capital”?

Cosphotography has become a big art form during the 21st century and shows fans of the cosplay world taking part through social media. Cosphotography is a portmanteau of the words cosplay and photography used together to describe a newer genre of cosplay. It is explained by Mountfort et al. (2018), that photography is an important key element of a cosplayers life and in time, could help bring not only fame, but “fan capital” as well. 

In the world of cosplay, money is a contributing element that helps many cosplayers stand out. Unless a cosplayer has made their entire outfit from scratch, it is guaranteed that they had to spend at least a little bit of money in order to do their make-up, hair, and even prosthetics if needed. Many of these items do not come cheap, and if a cosplayer wants to stand out as the best in a professional sense, then they are required to hand over their coins. This is where fan capital is helpful. Mountfort et al. (2018) says that many cosplayers hope for some sort of capital gain in return for their hard work and the time they have spent putting together their entire character. 

Fan capital is explained as a source of income for many cosplayers with some sort of popularity behind them. However, fan capital can be hard to come by if the cosplayer does not have as much experience or speciality to them. Cosphotography can be understood as a form of fan capital because it includes making money through the actions of fans requesting photos and anything else to do with photography and media. Photography is a huge part of a cosplayers life because many of them have their photos taken, have music videos directed and many other forms of moving image media (Mountfort et al. 2018). 

Cosphotography can be understood as a form of fan capital because it is one particular way that some cosplayers earn money. Because cosplayers spend so much time and money transforming themselves, in return they expect some form of money reward. Cosplay has become an ever increasing hobby for many individuals, however, for a lot of people it is their way of life. Dressing up and becoming someone else is a lifestyle for a vast amount of people and because it is their lifestyle and they have committed themselves enough to this artform, they deserve to be credited for their creativity.

References

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Blackboard. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/

Week 9 response – Leo Ballantyne

5. What are some of the tensions between productions like Sy-Fy Channel’s Heroes of Cosplay and fan-led Cosplay Music Videos (CMVs)?

Cosplay, at the core of its identity, has involved reappropriation and negotiation between performer and the source material from which each performance is inspired. As argued in my previous response, this relationship can be considered an intertextual form of détournement where via the cosplay community’s subversions and expansions, new understandings of source material is permanently altered. This fundamental interplay that occurs here has facilitated a certain set of cross-cultural characteristics which define the cosplay community and the hobby as a whole. Performers often play roles which are of a different gender to theirs within the source material, meaning gender roles are often challenged or disregarded both within performances and generally the community itself. This has seemingly manifested in a more progressive space which is supportive of a variety of gender and sexual identities. Similarly, race of characters is often subverted in cosplay performances, constructing a space where racial stereotypes, expectations and representation are openly discussed and frequently criticised. This subversive undercurrent leads to an implicit agreement within the fandom that cosplays are celebrations of source materials, not necessarily faithful reproductions, as such, physical and resource limitations are not points of contention between most members. These features encourage a generally supportive environment where values revolving around community, inclusivity, collaboration and experimentation are encouraged. Even in fashion/cosplay tournaments where this is a modicum of competition, the vast majority of the time a level of ludic and irreverence is present which prevents the more toxic modes of competition from occurring. As Mountfort (2018) suggests, the cosplay community when assessed by its best qualities is a “socially progressive/transgressive space where fans enact a kind of collective détournement.”

For the most part, static (or image based) cosphotography as a practice has done nothing to impede these values while providing a treasured means for cosplayers to show off their technical and creative talents in a non-competitive means. Due to the anonymity and far reaching nature of the internet, online dissemination of cosphotography has tragically enabled the proliferation of harmful gazes such as those that sexualise unwilling performers or those which are critical or mocking of a performer’s ‘ exotic geekiness’ or inability to faithfully replicate the source material. These negative consequences, although harmful, have more to do with the nature of the internet than cosphotography, and cosplayers can mitigate the effects of these gazes by selecting more judiciously who can see their performances. This relative harmlessness cannot be equally applied to the newer genre moving image cosphotography. When it comes to moving image, there is a tense conflict between various types of cosphotography and how they depict the practice and community. According to Lamerichs (2015), CMVs (cosplay music videos) are predominantly an extension of the cosplayers showing off their passion, while also enabling greater performative control on the side of the performer. CMVs being performer mediated also means that cosplays are able to transcend their traditionally fragmentary performances to create more purposeful and complete narrative explorations, enhancing the core role of cosplay as subversion and expansion of cited materials. When cosplay media becomes no longer performer mediated however, especially in regards to video content, a number of issues can arise where the creator misunderstands the core identity of cosplay and the community surrounding it. This is certainly the case for the Sy-Fy channel’s Heroes of Cosplay and similar non-performer created media.

Mountfort (2018) suggests that while most cosplays and by extension CMVs are acts of détournement, they are at threat of falling victim to the opposite phenomenon – récupération – where radical and fringe subcultures are subsumed and co-opted by the mainstream and corporate. This is what can often occur in outside productions such as Heroes of Cosplay, where marketable elements of cosplay are elevated while others are diminished. In the instance of Heroes of Cosplay, common criticisms suggest that sexual appeal, competition and craftsmanship are emphasized due to their ability to attract casual audiences while neglecting the primarily inclusive, supportive, collaborative and subversive nature of cosplay (Scott, 2015). This selective portrayal of cosplay leads to a form of moving image cosphotography which is decidedly corporate in its over-dramatization and problematic depictions of beauty standards and gender roles (Hanson, 2013). With this in mind, tension can be said to exist between CMVs and larger non performer mediated productions because while they tend to share the same medium, CMVs extend the inherent purpose of cosplay as citational acts which expand upon and subvert texts, while their corporate counterparts act to diminish it. It can be argued these corporate acts of récupération act to undermine the very identity of cosplayers and the cosphotography, such as CMVs, which they seek to create, by constructing false characterisations of the practice in pursuit of monetary gain.

Mountfort, P. (2018). Cosphotography and Fan Capital. In P. Mountfort, Peirson-Smitth, Anne, & A. Gaczy, Planet Cosplay (pp. 45-74). Bristol: Intellect Books.

Lamerichs, N. (2015). The remediation of the fan convention: Understanding the emerging genre of cosplay music videos. Transformative Works and Cultures, 18. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2015.0606.

Scott, S. (2015). Cosplay Is Serious Business: Gendering Material Fan Labor on Heroes of Cosplay. Cinema Journal. 53(3), 146-154. https://doi.org/10.1353/CJ.2015.0029

Hanson, B. (2013). Seven Reasons Why Heroes of Cosplay Is Terrible. Topless Robot. https://www.toplessrobot.com/2013/09/seven_reasons_why_heroes_of_cosplay_is_terrible_1.php