Back when I went to my first convention, I had no idea what was going on or what I was doing. My friend shoved me in a Bleach outfit (I really loved Bleach at the time) and made me buy a ticket. I was paranoid, “Everyone is looking at me!” but I loved the panels and I loved how excited people got when they recognized my character. It was like being another person, I could make a new personality for myself. Cosplaying only got more intense for me from then on out. I strived to read/watch as many manga/anime as I could, to find new characters with impossible outfits. I loved the craft and if I could get a couple of snapshots of it, then even better. I remember Anime Expo being way more intense than any other con I had attended. There were more photographers with bigger cameras, but it was still rare to get the photo shoots and videos we see today.
What changed? What aspect of cosplay made more websites, photographers and videographers show up? Even the other day Yaya Han asked a good question on her Twitter:
Some replies included:
“Dislike! All about popularity, looks, quantity, & how “relevant” your costumes are. It’s always been that way, but worse now. :/”
“You have to know the “right” people… I love to Cosplay, but it’s nothing like when I started in 03.”
If you asked me if cosplay was becoming more mainstream and if I liked it, I guess I would say it depends. I saturate myself all day, every day in cosplay. I follow cosplayers on my personal Facebook, our EC facebook, twitter, tumblr and DeviantART. It’s in my face constantly. Some days, I get tired, jealous and annoyed of it all. It’s too much! But then I remember my other friends, the ones that aren’t interested in things I’m in. My high school, college and work friends. 98% of them have no interest or know what cosplay is. If I disconnected my personal social media from all things cosplay, I wouldn’t even think that cosplay was heading in a mainstream direction. How do I feel (as a photographer) when I go to cons and I see large amounts of photographers and large .coms interviewing cosplayers? Definitely discouraged, but also excited. A lot of creative things come from the media that covers cosplay. I see amazing photographs and videos every day and it makes me happy that someones cosplay can be shown off so beautifully.
What I know: It’s only going to get bigger from here. There are so many more conventions than there were just 2 years ago and the growth of each of these conventions is also HUGE. How do you feel about the growing cosplay community?