Editorial: Photography and the Plus Sized Cosplayer

Friend of ours, Seiya Kou over at Starnigh Creations wrote up this interesting article about plus sized cosplayers.  I read it and it’s quite an interesting read.  Check it out.

Original article is here.

I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing a piece on this for a while, and I wasn’t sure how to do it without getting bawws of ‘jealous fattie’. Finally, I have decided to just write it, because honestly, just because I am overweight, doesn’t make my point of view any less valid.

I’ve seen a number of cosplayers talk about the trend photography is taking in cosplay. And I’m talking about women who are in good shape and are attractive. It seems that cosplayers, particularly women, have to wear skimpy and over the top costumes to get anyone to take their picture. Men have an even harder time. They have to either have light up costumes, complete armor costumes, or be super buff, tan, and sleek.
But if you are plus-sized? Forget about it. You’ve got virtually no chance in Hell.

I’ve been cosplaying since 2001. I’ve always been a large girl, though my size has varied throughout the years. However, I have always had a hard time getting my picture taken unless I either pay for it, I’m part of a large group, or it is someone I know. I’m willing to say that part of it has to do with the characters I choose. I cosplay what I love and not what’s popular. However, I’ve done some fairly elaborate costumes through the years, and with one notable exception, I have always been overlooked.

For whatever reason, getting my picture taken has always been hard for me. Unfortunately, as the years have gone on it’s gotten worse. I’ve even been asked to step out of pictures on numerous occasions – even when I’m obviously paired with my wife. I remember wearing Utena and Steph was wearing Anthy at Nan Desu Kan 2005, and a photographer asked for Steph’s picture. She insisted that I was in it with her, and the photographer made sure to cut me out of the frame. (He was stupid and showed Steph the picture afterward.) Or another instance when I was wearing Prince Endymion to Steph’s Princess Sailor Moon. Someone asked for her picture, and Steph asked if they wanted “her Endymion” as well. The person looked at me, frowned, and said, “No.”

It has actually happened enough that Steph will now refuse to allow a photographer to take her picture if we’re a matched set and they won’t take mine with her. It’s a pretty huge kick in the teeth, I have to tell you.

And I realize why this is. It’s an esthetics thing. No matter how well made my costume is, most people don’t care. All they see is a fat person wearing a costume. I also realize that some photographers are just hacks; they don’t make art, they take pictures of hot chicks (and, even more rarely, hot guys) and post them to get their name out there. And I also realize there are a phenomenal amount of cosplays out there, and that it is impossible for any one photographer to get pictures of them all. (Though some of them still try, bless their hearts!) However, people who know their craft, people who are trying to do more than take “hot body” pictures are getting more and more rare.

I also think that there are very few photographers who even know how to take a good picture of something, be it large cosplayer, bowl of fruit, or a “day in the life” photo. Having a pretty subject – like a hot guy, gorgeous girl, lovely rose, or brand new car – does not make you a good photographer. Having a top of the line camera does not make you a good photographer. Knowing how to frame a photo, what lighting to use, and take the best angle picture of your subject makes you a good photographer.

I’d like to challenge photographers out there. There are a number of incredibly talented plus-sized cosplayers out there. I know any one of them would love to help you level up your picture taking; to show that you can do more than take mediocre pictures of pretty things.

Ask us. Work with us. You might be surprised with the result.

Seiya Kou and Yaten Kou are not just cosplayers, but they also remarkable commissioners. Check them out at www.starnighindustries.com!

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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3 Responses to “Editorial: Photography and the Plus Sized Cosplayer”

  1. Michelle Ye Zhang says:

    Thank you for writing this. For awhile I've been kind of going back and forth regarding cosplaying. I'm a "big" girl as well and for a long time I've been putting off cosplaying as certain characters until I was "fit" enough. But why should I? Pieces like this make me realize how stupid that thinking is.

    I love both of your cosplays and I can see you put a lot of work and care. The costumes look amazing.

  2. starlitcreations says:

    There will always be someone who will try and rain on your parade, but if you live in fear of that, you will miss out on so many great memories. I say do it.

    <3 Thank you.

  3. Mako-chan says:

    That was beautiful.
    I cosplay because I want to, not because I'm trying to get anyone's approval. I rarely get asked for pictures, but I decided long ago that I didn't care about the popularity contest cosplayers seemed to want to make things, I was going to do my own thing in my own way.
    Sure there are half naked costumes that I would love to get away with and my size holds me back, but I've learned to live with that, because there are so many other characters out there that I'd love to dress as.
    The whole industry seems to be stuck in the rut of sex sells, and while photographers are there to give the media that people want, they're also to blame for the whole thing as well. Someone needs to be brave enough to step away from that and be about the costumes and not about the people wearing them.

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