We’re all familiar with cosplay culture and the deep roots it’s sowed in fandom. Between green hordes of Boba Fetts and buxom Catwomen, there’s more than a few reasons to join the movement. Though, if you flip through the thousands of cosplay pics that populate the world wide web, you’ll notice that most of them are cursed with that grimy, “shake it for G4″ haze. For all the craftsmanship and man hours that go into these different costumes, no one has taken the care to feature them in proper photography… until now.
Kevin Knight, a veteran of the whole soul-stealing arts (Native American reference for the win!), has started a campaign to capture the best of cosplay from around the nerd world. He’s assembled his first volume of geek geared photography in a free web book Heroes, Villains & Jedi ready for the fanboy masses.
We had a chance to sit with the artiste and threw a few wild questions over his bow:
UTF: What inspired you to tackle fandom? Was it your own personal participation in geek culture, or do you just find the whole phenomenon fascinating as an outside observer?
When I started this project I was at a truly creative low point in my career. I hated everything in my portfolio and was really just about to give up. Someone told me “Shoot what you love, everything else will fall into place.” I’m HUGE comic book geek! I have been going to SDCC since 1985 and watched a big rise in costuming in the last few years. The amount of effort and creativity people were putting into their costumes was just amazing. The photos that I was seeing of these cosplayers were just okay. Most of them were shot on convention floors and you couldn’t really see the detail and work they put into these costumes. So I set out more as a fan of geek culture to document these amazing costumes, and to do something more creative with my photography.
UTF: When you encountered these guys in costumes, what interested you about their particular tale? I imagine they took a lot of pride in the construction of these rigs, but what struck you the most?
Some for the people in the book I hunted down because I was a fan of the character they were cosplaying, or was just so blown away by the fact that they put so much effort into making these costumes. Most of the portraits shot against a black backdrop in the book were taken at either Long Beach Comic Con or San Diego Comic Con. I had a back drop set up with a bunch of studio lights set up and just gabbed people as they walked by where we were set up.
UTF: Cosplayers are a pretty wild bunch. What’s the craziest story you have?
I’ve never heard of them being a wild bunch honestly. The cosplay community is pretty amazing. The level of respect copalyers all have with each other is pretty amazing. They all seem to help each other out with building costumes and stuff. It’s quit impressive.
Maybe I’m the only loon in a costume that smashes a fifth of bourbon in the parking lot and starts a wild ruckus in the convention halls. Yes fanboys… I’m that asshole.
But back to the point at hand… Knight’s is delivering a great tribute for fandom, and I should probably reiterate that IT’S FREE! Hit this link for your copy!