Thurstan Redding was inspired to produce a cosplay themed photography project after attending MCM London Comic Con in 2018.
He was fascinated with cosplay as a subject for his creative expression of individuality and diversity.
Over three years, Redding gained the trust of people in the cosplay community and set out to capture the beauty of the craftsmanship that goes into her costumes. His book Children of Cosplay is a culmination of his fascination for the job.
Cosplayers usually dress up as fictional characters from television or movies and attend Comic Con events. They are held in different cities in the UK each year, with at least one in each state in the US.
Redding’s project is a celebration of this fandom and offers a glimpse into a world where people are united in celebrating an art that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Redding is a British fashion photographer and has worked on projects for Gucci, Chanel and British Fashion.
But despite his impressive work, Redding says this project was a real challenge for him.
“I can safely say that this was one of the most challenging but also one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on,” says Redding of the project. “It also gave me the opportunity to work with some of my favorite people and explore a topic both sociologically and visually.”
What is interesting about Thustan’s project is that he avoided Comic-Con events as a backdrop for his motifs. Instead, he photographed the cosplayers in a home environment or on an ordinary street.
In this way, Redding was able to reflect his belief that cosplay is indeed ubiquitous in our daily lives, as well as explore a brilliant palette of light and color to create stunning backdrops for his photographs.
While you might think that dressing up as a fictional character negates a person’s identity, Redding experienced the exact opposite with the cosplayers he photographed, noting that their expression led to a strong sense of identity.
A rebel pilot off war of starsShe, who has a day job as a retail worker, tells Redding: “Jokes aside, I’m incredibly proud in this costume. This costume feels like an extension of myself because I made it my way, I didn’t have to meet anyone else’s criteria or standards to pass. This is a costume that I gave a part of myself to and am very proud to wear.”
The project also captures the belief among cosplayers that the artistic theme enables a diverse community of people.
A hospital receptionist who dresses up as Ursula The little mermaidSaid, “I chose Ursula because I loved seeing a plus-size, confident portrayal in a Disney movie and it’s nice to try and embody that,” she said, “My costume -Look took about ten hours to do.”
Redding, who also photographed himself as a stormtrooper for the book, noted that in many ways everyone in the world wears a costume to show their confidence.
He writes, “Whether it’s becoming a fictional character or becoming the ‘you’ the world sees, cosplay is everywhere – we all cosplay in some form.”
Book by Thurstan Redding Children of Cosplay is published by Thames & Hudson / Band. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to the British Red Cross in support of Ukraine.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/photography/cosplay-photography-culture-disney-comic-con-b2033087.html The photographer captures the beauty and individuality of cosplay