“Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
– E. E. Cummings
2015 is officially here and Chase Lawrence of Affliction Cosplay Photography has kicked off the new year with a bang! A professional photographer, Lawrence is winning over backers with a proposal that will turn the spotlight on an outstanding group of cosplayers in his latest project, Cosplay 24.
“Over the years, I have seen people grow both as cosplayers and as personal individuals,” says Lawrence. “Skill sets have tremendously expanded, and their upbeat enthusiasm has only become more intense.”
With Cosplay 24: Beyond the Mask, he and cinematographer Zach Gables of Crimson Arrow Cinema plan to showcase the work of twenty-four outstanding, passionate cosplayers in a combination book and a documentary which will follow the project’s progress as their team tours the country shooting on location. Cosplay 24‘s aims go beyond simply showing off the work of artists from the cosplay community, however.
“As onlookers and bystanders, we often forget to recognize the persons behind the fantastic costumes. I want to highlight the variety of people involved in this creative venture,” said Lawrence in a release for the project’s Kickstarter campaign. “With ‘Cosplay 24,’ I wish to highlight the wonderful personalities behind the fabric and armor.”
Cosplay, for those who have never heard of it, is the art of designing, building, and wearing costumes in order to portray characters from movies, graphic novels, video games, anime, and more. It is a growing part of the entertainment industry and has long been a favorite practice at comic conventions. In admiring the costumes and getting the chance to see our favorite fantasy characters up close, though, it is sometimes easy to miss the hard work and dedication that these artists invest in creating authentic, stunning cosplay for fans to enjoy.
Cosplay 24 represents a chance for artists and fans alike to go beyond the mask. Lawrence plans to create “a photobook about 24 cosplayers in the US,” but the project is more than that. “The book,” he says, “is based on what cosplay means to them and their everyday lives.”
The project’s Kickstarter campaign has taken off in the last several days. “I’m feeling pretty good,” Lawrence told us in an email, reporting that the campaign was getting a lot of social media attention and that he was eager to see the project funded. Kickstarter also recognized the potential in the project. Cosplay 24 was selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick not long after it was launched, and with twenty-five days left to go, the campaign’s prospects are encouraging.
On a personal note, I am very excited about this project. From the moment I heard about it, I have been holding my breath. Not only is the art these cosplayers create completely brilliant, they are also phenomenal people, and they deserve the kind of opportunity Cosplay 24 represents for them and for the cosplay community. Lawrence’s work, too, is stunning.
With this project, Lawrence, whose work can be found in We Rise Magazine, Syfy, Arcade Sushi and elsewhere, is looking “to produce the most incredible cosplay photography we have ever achieved.” This will be no small achievement considering the excellent work he has built his career on.
To learn more about the project and the awesome artists it will feature, check out the Cosplay 24 campaign on Kickstarter. Don’t forget to donate while you’re there! Affliction Cosplay Photography is offering some killer rewards to project donors.
(Roggen Wulf, 2015)