Cosplay in Quarantine

With the vast majority of conventions cancelled or going virtual, it has been really hard to feel like it’s worth making new costumes with nowhere to really wear them. However, it’s honestly been a stress reliever for me to work on projects with everything going on. I’ve primarily been working on one costume, a Yennefer from the Netflix Witcher series, and usually I’d be annoyed at working so long on a piece, but it’s been my thing to come to and just zone out as I work. Little bits get done at a time while I listen to music, and I can just forget about the craziness going on around me.

I’ve also managed to choose older costumes and go to parks I know are more empty and do photoshoots, with my husband as the photographer, to help get us out and at least “produce content” via that route. We’re able to still wear masks and keep socially distanced with others potentially being around us, so I feel like we’re being safe doing so.

I’ve also managed to enter a few online costume contests, as I know many other cosplayers have been doing as well, which has been a good way to pass the time. It’s nice to find a way to keep active in the community as well, and nice seeing other costumers do the same thing. It’s also fun to see cons attempting to actually still do a convention online, where panels and other presentations are still occurring, which at least allows some sense of normalcy. A lot of cosplayers are also streaming more, which brings more content out to everyone too.

So, if you’re in the cosplay community, there’s a few ways to help ease the “cabin fever” with quarantine still going on. I definitely recommend pursuing some, if not all, of them to just make it easier. We all still need to allow ourselves to enjoy our hobby, even if we can’t do everything we necessarily used to do. ❤

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Tutorial for Seven Types of Fangs

This tutorial was created by Hendo Art and teaches you how to create seven different types of fangs, which can be used for various costumes! Please make sure to use specific brands that are non-toxic, cause cosplay is supposed to be fun, not unhealthy!

Hope this helps! 😀

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Hideyo Mochimo Interview

It’s time for another interview, this time with Hideyo Mochimo! They’re a cosplayer from Colorado, who wants everyone to have fun and accept one another!

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Hideyo Mochimo as Angel Dust from Hazbin Hotel, photo by Fuel the Dream Photography

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
So, I go by the cosplay name Hideyo Mochimo. I chose it because I was really inspired by the character Hideyoshi in Baka and Test. Half the point of the character is that they couldn’t tell Hideyoshi’s gender, and that really resonated with me, as someone who is transgender. I like to appear androgynous, and considering I cosplay a lot of females, people get confused as to how I identified. So, I shortened that to Hideyo. Mochimo is a word I literally made up, simply to rhyme, and it has to do with the fact that I really love the food mochi.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I have been cosplaying since 2006. What got me started was my friend Tom in high school invited me to the local anime convention, Nan Desu Kan. He told me that I would stand out if I didn’t dress up, so I threw together a quick Kiba Inuzuka from Naruto out of stuff I found at Good Will. Back then I didn’t even use wigs, just always used my real hair. I had such an amazing time at the convention that it just inspired me to keep going, and I’ve been doing it ever since!

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Oof, difficult question. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t like the construction part, haha! I like feeling proud of having a final product and getting to wear it, but the construction can drag on, and I hardcore procrastinate. I am always fascinated by the different fabric styles though. Even just getting swatches to match colors, it’s cool to see just how much there is, and sit there and think, how did people discover this, or take the time to make something this beautiful? I love that.

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Hideyo Mochimo as Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, photo by Faerie Kisses Photography

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Well, here’s the secret scoop. One of my future cosplays (that I keep putting off out of intimidation) is Belle’s gold ball gown. I’ve had the fabric for….probably five years? I’m a Disney Cast Member, and they were selling some yards of fabric from their old princess dresses due to the update, so I got this beautiful rose printed fabric for Belle’s corset that was actually used in the parks. I’m terrified to touch it and ruin it so it’s been sitting in my closet, but I’m really excited to have a piece of the genuine Disney parks used in my future ball gown.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I really love and admire armor work, because that’s something that I personally don’t think I could ever pull off. I’ve wanted to try it, but it intimidates me, so props to everyone that can do it! Allison Jeffrey Cosplay and Ronin’s Art and Armor are two cosplayers that really stand out to me as far as armor work goes. There are a lot of techniques from lots of different cosplayers that I wish that I could achieve. Wig work is something else I absolutely struggle with. J’adore Cosplay has stunning wig work and I hope I can get to her level at some point.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
BIG OOF. I have a lot of opinions on this, but I’ve also changed my opinions a little bit over the past two years. Really, every scene is different. I personally am not a fan of the Colorado cosplay scene, and so I started going to out of state conventions, and it has been a world of difference for me. It has made me love cosplay again and remember why I got into the hobby in the first place. In my opinion, the cosplay scene is supposed to be a safe place where people can gather because they have always been the social outcasts. We’re the nerds of the world, you know? And yes, nerd culture is becoming more “mainstream” or whatever, but cosplayers still get harassed and made fun of for being who they are. Unfortunately, I have had many an experience where this is not the case, and the cosplay scene does not feel like a safe environment. It’s why I started traveling. And every other cosplay scene I’ve entered into is so nice and so welcoming… but I’m also not from that state, so I just don’t know the drama, and I’m sure that makes a world of difference.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Elitism is my biggest thing, honestly. The whole point of cosplay is supposed to be that all cosplayers are beautiful and equal. That is still one thing I’ve noticed, no matter what state I get into. There are always going to be the “celebrity” cosplayers that get so much attention which has always felt ridiculous to me because we are all just nerds in costume, and skill level shouldn’t matter because at least we are putting ourselves out there and doing it. This is something huge I notice with photographers especially. I understand that it’s their equipment that they’re paying for so they can choose their subject, but I won’t lie that it is hurtful when there’s a photographer set up at a con and they’re grabbing like, person a and b and c, and then maybe like, you and your friends walk past and not once get asked for a photo. That shit is hurtful. I hate that there’s this “tier” of like, who is better in cosplay and whatnot because it just shouldn’t be that way. I think everyone should have equal opportunity, especially in a community where most of these people weren’t given opportunities because, again, social outcasts.

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Hideyo Mochimo as SpiderGwen from Into the Spiderverse, photo by Francisco Nazario Photography

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams! Ha, but really, aside from Shia Lebouf, I mean that. I think it’s also just important that there are no limitations. Nothing is impossible. If you want to be a Disney princess but think you can’t because of your weight? Just do it! If you want to cosplay a certain character but are worried because they don’t look like you? Just do it! Be whoever you want to be. It’s like when we were a kid, and we wouldn’t judge our imaginations or provide them with limitations. Just take what you want to do and run with it.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
SakuraCon is the best convention I have attended so far. Oh my gosh. Not only is it right in Downtown Seattle so it’s within walking distance of amazing places like Pike’s Place Market, but it’s just…gorgeous? I go for photoshoots a lot, and the photoshoot locations at this hotel were the best I’ve ever seen. I also honestly really liked Anime Fargo. It’s incredibly small, like, incredibly, but it was one of the kindest and most accepting communities I have ever been a part of. Plus, at night they do this really cool like, adult trick-or-treating thing where you go from hotel room to hotel room and get free alcohol. If partying is your thing, can’t complain. ALSO! Anime Weekend Atlanta. Gorgeous location, great community, the panels I was able to attend were fabulous and they had this really awesome swat meet. I’ve been so so many, but these are some of my faves.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Oh geezus. Ummmm. I’m going to go with Rapunzel because that was before pattern use, since patterns weren’t exactly my thing. That entire cosplay was made from scratch, with my own pattern being created in order to do it, which I think it pretty cool!

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Hideyo Mochimo as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, photo by Double Helix Photography

Thanks for the interview, Hideyo Mochimo! You can check out their Facebook here!

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In Memorium: Grant Imahara

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Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara, a former host of the Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters,” passed away at the age of 49 on July 13, 2020. While being known for his many projects and talents, Grant was also exceptionally well known in the cosplay and convention scene. He attended multiple conventions either as a guest or just on his own and many people got to know him; all have said the same thing… Grant leaves behind a legacy of compassion, kindness, and creativity.

His death was exceptionally unexpected and there’s unfortunately a few things we can take away from his tragic passing… Tell your loved ones plenty and often how you feel about them. Be creative and express yourself with your originality. Be compassionate to those around you; kindness is easier than hatred. Do all of these things because at the end of the day, you may lose someone before you can.

Rest in peace, Grant Imahara. It isn’t fair that you left, and the world was lucky to have you.

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Darth Maul from Star Wars Make-up Tutorial

This tutorial was created by Shonagh Scott and is definitely for someone with some make-up skills. While difficult, she breaks down exactly how she recreated the look, which is awesome!

Hope this helps! 😀

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Alli Cat Cosplay Interview

It’s time for another interview, this time with Alli Cat Cosplay! She’s a cosplayer from California, who wants everyone to respect one another and have fun!

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Alli Cat Cosplay out of costume

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My cos-alias is a merging of my middle name, Allison, and my rescue work with stray cats. Alli Cat just stuck.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying at cons since 2004, but my first official cosplay was Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft, for Halloween in middle school. I wanted to dress up as her after seeing the film; I loved how it had this gothic take on her signature look, like AOD. They didn’t carry her costume in stores, so my Mom made it for me. I absolutely loved the feeling of walking around and having other students point and go, “She looks just like her!” when I headed to my classes.

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Favorite things to work with would probably be avocado pits. Yes, you read that right. They can create a natural and eco-friendly pink dye when you boil them and make such beautiful tones. I highly recommend trying them out.

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Alli Cat Cosplay as Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, photo by Andrew Bell Photography

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m excited for the day that I finish saving up for a 3D printer and join all the cool kids. I know I’m really missing out! I’m always excited when cosplay friends from other countries come out to visit. My friend, Velveteen Velours, who’s a very talented model from Russia, flew out here and we met up in Little Tokyo and talked about what got us started, being crazy cat moms and, our planned costumes for future shoots.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I enjoy different takes on costumes; people putting their own twist into something. I love the originality. I also love to see cosplayers dress up in scrapped concept art or character designs that have yet to be cosplayed.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
It’s made an improvement over the years, but still has a long way to go. Back when I first started attending cons, you’d get banned for being dressed sexy; security would escort you outside in front of everyone and block the doors. They can’t pull that crap anymore. We have support groups now and are able to call out problematic behavior and have it paid attention to. I’m grateful for that.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
While cons have stepped up their game on weapon policies, I’d like to see them do the same when it comes to harassment. Many cons still invite sexual predators as guests, proving to us that they only care about the money and not the safety of their attendees. That has to stop.

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Alli Cat Cosplay as Judy from Cowboy Bebop

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Absolutely don’t raceface. People of Color are not a costume. It’s disrespectful, hurtful and you look like a clown. People will recognize your costume, that’s what we’re looking at, your craftsmanship and attention to detail.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Of all the conventions I’ve been to, I’d have to say that Anime Los Angeles goes out of their way, to make fans feel like they belong. The staff is always very helpful. They also allow cosplayers to submit photos of themselves to decorate the con hallways.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I’m the most proud of my Poison Ivy (Batman #181) costume. A lot of love was poured into it and I had a blast hanging with my friend Claire Sassypants, who was my Black Canary. Random fact? I added the leaves on the stockings last minute, meaning I hot glued them to my legs. *cries in accuracy*

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Alli Cat Cosplay as Poison Ivy from Batman, photo by Shotwhore Photography

Thanks for the interview, Alli Cat Cosplay! You can check out her Instagram here and her Twitter here!

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Blog Updates: Thanks COVID-19

I had previously written a post here about the plans for the blog this year and attending more conventions…. Then a pandemic decided to happen, you know. As you do…

I am still working since I’m in security. I had planned to attack more interviews, which I have posted more admittedly, but it’s not the amount I want. I’d really like to continue focusing on that, but it all depends on my schedule in all of it’s hectic glory.

One convention that I had planned to attend, Colorado AnimeFest, got cancelled right off the bat once the coronavirus hit Colorado. I am waiting to see what will happen to my plans for TwitchCon and Nan Desu Kan currently, since everything is up in the air with what’s going on in the world.

With that, everyone PLEASE be safe out there. Wear face masks if you have, practice social distancing, and craft away with your friends on Discord and Skype. ❤ Continue being the awesome community we all love so much!

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Animal Ear Tutorial

This cosplay tutorial was created by Kinpatsu Cosplay and teaches you to create animal ears for that finishing touch for your costume! It’s a bit more complicated to follow, but totally worth that awesome end result! 😀

Hope this helps! 😀

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Kumalatte Cosplay Interview

It’s time for another interview, this time with Kumalatte Cosplay! She’s a cosplayer from Georgia, who loves playing with different fabrics and enjoys the sewing of her pieces!

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Kumalatte Cosplay as Entrapta from She-Ra, photo by @iamoplord

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My alias is Kumalatte Cosplay! I chose my alias because I initially started out on social media as a cosplay duo, and we both loved the Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma bears. They’re both brown and cream colored, so they reminded me of lattes, hence the latte part! The irony is I never drank coffee up until late last year. Thanks, adulthood!

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I cosplayed for the first time in 2011! I remember wanting to go to cons far longer than that, but when I discovered that cons existed near me, I went wild. I felt terrible existing at a con without a cosplay, so I tried my best to get something made for the next con. My first cosplay, Tetra from Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker, was commissioned from a friend of my dad’s, and I hated it. It was fun to wear, but I wanted to be involved in the creation process too! So my dad (very, VERY reluctantly) taught me how to sew, and I very gradually learned how to construct garments from there. Not everything I made was cosplay; I made a lot of fleece hats, skirts, formal wear, as well as some small props and nerdy inspired crafts here and there as gifts for friends. It wasn’t until I moved out to Atlanta for college that the cosplay community truly swept me away, and I’ve been scaring my neighbors by walking out of my house in different cosplays ever since!

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Fabrics!! I don’t tend to fall in love with armored characters, but luckily my love has always been for sewing. Since I’ve started cosplaying, the availability of cool fabrics has exploded – there’s a 90% chance you’ll find me at the color-shifting, holographic, or sparkly fabric section of your local fabric store. I have a lot of fun in the planning stages of a cosplay, figuring out what kind of fabrics would help translate a character to life and knowing I have full creative freedom to use whatever I like. One characters design can be interpreted in so many ways by hundreds of people; why strive to be the “best, most accurate” one of all when you can just make it something that’s uniquely your own – and looks rad hanging in your closet.

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Kumalatte Cosplay as Caesar Zeppeli from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, photo by Vaughn Photography

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Armor and props, actually! It’s hard to believe I’ve been cosplaying for 9 years and have never really attempted armor. I bought my first heat gun and dremel late last year, and I’ve been looking into different types of foam since my next six projects all need armor and props. It might be overkill to do that much as a beginner, and part of me feels like a “lesser” cosplayer because I don’t have refined foam crafting skills (I’m not, but boy does it feel like it!), but part of me is grateful that I’ve waited this long to tackle it. The accessibility to materials, tools, and tutorials is insane, to the point I can acquire all of those within 5 miles of my house! So I feel confident knowing that I have a plethora of resources and friends to help me if I struggle with it initially.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I love seeing originality! Like I mentioned before, cosplay has become so massive, any one character design can be cosplayed by dozens or thousands of people. Its great to see someone work incredibly hard to look like they’re the literal character come to life, but seeing a cosplayer REALLY make the character their own is what steals my heart. And it doesn’t take much to make a cosplay unique! It can be something as small as using an unconventional wig, or a unique fabric, altering a fantastical character to be more realistic or a realistic character to be more fantastical. There really is no one who can tell you no, so watching people go crazy and stupid with this sort of freedom reminds me why I spend countless dollars and hours to be in this community.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
It’s definitely grown and evolved a lot since I’ve started, that’s for sure! I spent the majority of my cosplay life fearing letting anyone in my daily life know I was a cosplayer. And I honestly still do! From the outside, we really do look like a bunch of freaks spending time and money to become fictional characters for a few hours a year. I’m glad that it’s becoming more accepted and known thanks to media and the growth of “nerdy” pop culture, because I really don’t think my life could have taken me towards any other path. As an artist, crafter, life-long nerd, and owner of too much chaotic energy that demands to be released through constant creating, my fate feels like it was always going to be tied to cosplay somehow. The cosplay community really is the perfect place for me and so many other creative people, so I’m very grateful that the nerds of the past braved cosplaying in public so that we could see Yaya Han’s face gracing the Cosplay aisles of Joann Fabrics. And maybe even tell the employees at the cutting counter what were cosplay we’re buying that fabric for.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
There are a couple of problems I’ve seen externally and internally. By externally, I mean the people who aren’t really in the cosplay community themselves, but support cosplayers or involve themselves in other nerdy, cosplay-adjacent communities. I feel like the general acceptance of cosplays that don’t follow the canon hasn’t really reached them, so I still see them hyper focus on accuracy. I still see a lot of negative comments and bullying of POC cosplayers, a lot of “Best Cosplays of xxxCon” and “Top 10 xxxx Cosplayers” lists, and a very biased view of what makes a cosplayer considered good. I don’t feel like it discourages me anymore, but like I said before, it makes me weary of the public view of cosplay and how it can impact people wanting to start cosplaying, but feel like the community is too competitive and “vile” when it really isn’t.

Internally, there is still a good bit of elitism and an emphasis on popularity that can’t be ignored. I remember seeing a post on Facebook years ago about how someone wanted to start cosplaying, and wanted to know how much to “invest” monthly so they could become a popular cosplayer (their budget was $1k a month, too!?) and it made my heart sink. The premise of being a “full-time” cosplayer sounds amazing, but I’ve seen that pursuit take the fun out of cosplay for people very quickly. Like any profession, it’s not as glamorous as it seems, and more visibility can lead to more online negativity than some people can handle – especially if you’re a POC cosplayer. If someone succeeds at making it to the level of full time, professional cosplayer, I commend them, but it can be very problematic when people make that their initial goal for getting into cosplay, and I hope that the few cosplayers that have achieved it can be more transparent about what being a professional cosplayer is truly like.

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Kumalatte Cosplay as Pink Diamond from Steven Universe, photo by FXDandy

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Cosplay isn’t going anywhere. Not anytime soon, at least. I remember being 14, and feeling so frustrated that I wasn’t able to make super elaborate cosplays from the get go. I wasn’t able to buy things online by myself, couldn’t drive myself to cons, and could barely make cosplays without my dad, who really disapproved of cosplay for a while. All that came with time, and 8 years later the cosplay community is still thriving! But even with 9 years and lot of projects under my belt, I still consider myself an amateur cosplayer. I still make lots of mistakes on every cosplay. I still buy not enough fabric, and look at other people’s cosplays and scream “why can’t I make that yet??” I still have tons of techniques to learn, and I realistically don’t feel like I’ll develop my skills to a professional level for at least another 6-8 years. Thankfully, I’m in no rush to become a master cosplayer any more! Cosplay takes a lot of practice, dedication, time, and MONEY above all, and I think new cosplayers can get overwhelmed easily because of it. So my main piece of advice is: take your time entering the cosplay community. Enjoy that awkward period of starting out, and don’t be afraid of failure. You’ll look back on those times in enough time, and you’ll have a lot more interesting stories to tell than the people who got everything right the first time. Ask me about how many wigs I’ve fried and how many skirts I’ve destroyed with my serger!

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I think Anime Weekend Atlanta and HolMat take the cake for me. I’ve been going to AWA since 2011, and I initially only did the basic stuff of walk-in around the dealers room with my dad and brother, go to a panel, play a game in the arcade, and leave. But ever since I’ve gotten more involved with the Atlanta community, there’s not enough days of the con for everything I want to do! AWA in particular does a great job of inviting amazing Japanese guests and performers (the Daoko concert in 2018 is one of the best moments of my life), the venue is gorgeous, and the party atmosphere at night is incredible. I haven’t been going to HolMat for as long, but it earns a spot with AWA because of how relaxed the con atmosphere is. It’s holiday themed, but also in Florida, so there’s people in fluffy fleece costumes, and then people in swimsuits right next to them. Plus there’s a good amount of Atlanta cosplayers that attend, so I usually make a lot of new friends while seeing old ones, too!

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
My Galo Thymos pants have socks sewn onto the pant holes. They are red and fuzzy. Their primary purpose was to keep the pants tucked into my shoes, since they’d slip out anytime I posed. But they actually contribute a lot to the dimensional poofy silhouette, since it keeps the pant leg opening curved, and they help my feet fill in the massive platform shoes that didn’t come into my actual shoe size of 4. So that’s proof that even the dumbest of problem solving ideas can work better than imagined!

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Kumalatte Cosplay as Galo Thymos from Promare, photo by Vaughn Photography

Thanks for the interview, Kumalatte Cosplay! You can check out her Facebook page here!

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Blog Plans for 2020

I figured it was time to give a longer update about the future of this blog for 2020, since I have quite a bit going on.

First and foremost, I’m hoping to be continually more active than the previous year, however, it all depends on my mom. Last May she was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma (rare from of brain cancer) and is reaching the end stages. She is continuing chemo, but it is a terminal form of cancer, so she is coming first above all else.

I do plan to continue to bring more interviews and tutorials to the blog. I have one more interview lined up to post and there’s always hundreds of tutorials to choose from. I’d like to get more photographer interviews, but it all depends on who responds to my requests and understandably, their schedules as well.

I have three conventions potentially planned to attend and review, with 2 being local and one in California. We’ll see how that all goes, as once again, it all depends on my mother’s health.

I’ll keep everyone updated as I can, but here’s hoping for an awesome year!

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