Although diehard geeks have been attending conventions dressed as their favorite sci-fi and fantasy heroes now for decades, it's only been within the past five years that this phenomenon has spilled over into everyday pop culture. Over that time, there's been an explosion of creativity within the Cosplay world, and with it, we're seeing the rise of an artist that didn't exist before—the Cosplay Photographer! So meet Kimberly Hung-Lan Mazyck, a photographer and self professed geek who brings the awesomeness of Cosplay to life in some stunningly original ways.
MindHut: How did you come to the subject of cosplay within your photography?
Kim: I started as a beauty photographer a few years back. I shot makeup and fashion photos. Also, I am a huge gamer and love movies and anime. When I visited some local conventions, I started being interested in shooting costumes and asking people to allow me to shoot them in private shoots. I fell in love with Cosplay Photography because I can create more themes and effects from lighting and editing than in casual photography.
MindHut: You often use unconventional casting choices, and from an outsider's point of view, it seems there may be a friendship/family element to your casting. Can you tell us about your casting process?
Kim: Most of the time, I choose cosplayers with great costumes. I offer them photos and they offer me opportunities to shoot. I don’t consider whether they look like the original character, because we know each other from the cosplay community in Hawaii, and we know each other as friends. But when I cast for my projects such as the Walking Dead shoot, I was more strict about how the casts should look more alike from the series.
MindHut: How are the costumes created?
Kim: Most of us (I am also a cosplayer) have multiple costumes we want to have, so if there’s something we are able to purchase, we will just buy them to save time. But many costumes are not purchasable, and that’s when we need to make them. Of course, some cosplayers prefer to make costumes, because it's like a project-puzzle for them. Our local cosplay community is full of talented people who can do metal, fabric, or paint jobs, wig style, or even makeup.
MindHut: There's a lot of awesome, butt-kicking women in your photos. Talk about the role gender plays in your work.
Kim: These great female cosplayers are not just beautiful, their costumes also bring out their beauty from inside. Surely people like to see “sexy” women, but when I shoot their pictures, I rather capture their inner beauty instead. I want to make sure when people see my photos, they see characters, not just the cosplayers and their bodies.
MindHut: What do you think the appeal of Cosplay is, and how is that reflected in your work?
Kim: Everyone has their fantasy they dream of, and Cosplay is just one of the ways people make their imagination come true. Every once a while we put on costumes of our favorite characters and forget about dealing with the real world. And photography just helps us to capture that best memory of our imagination.
Make sure to check out http://kimberlystudio.deviantart.com/gallery/31857553#/d45h2n3 for prints and more of Kim's great work!