Guest Post: Editorial on Photography and the Plus-Sized Cosplayer

I had to reshare this piece from the gals over on Starnigh Industries, as it is something that should be addressed, shared, and hopefully fixed.

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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 lit 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 Sailormoon. 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.

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About Yunie

I am a cosplayer, a nerd, a geek. I am whatever you call me. However, I have a brain and tend to use it.
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2 Responses to Guest Post: Editorial on Photography and the Plus-Sized Cosplayer

  1. Oh my god, I know your pain. I mean, it might be the character’s I’ve chosen as well and the fact that I always choose the worst projects for the upcoming cons (Asajj Ventress for a local anime con was not a stroke of genius) but I still feel like I’ve done pretty good with my costumes and I don’t get a lot of notice. Marceline is by far the most requested for pictures. Maybe it says something about the fandoms more than anything? Ah well, I shall be a chunks cosplayer and damn proud of it!

  2. Inoli says:

    oh the stories. (Hi randomly going through this blog for a particular post, saw this one and had to speak up. D= sorry!)
    I’m both, A plus sized cosplayer and a photographer. Not just a Costographer but a photographer of people, products and life. I am SURROUNDED by beauty and talent that consistently gets over looked because of the person’s “appearance”. I’m always more then happy to shoot with anyone if they ask. Fellow photographers have blatantly told me they don’t shoot with “larger” cosplayers because they are difficult to pose. My response is the same: I can teach you.
    As a cosplayer I do get over looked- cold forged metal armor, hand embroidery, moving wings, all of it over looked and “unseen” because of how large I am. I am at a point I have put my sewing needle down because I feel I do more good shooting for my friends and others who are overlooked like me. The biggest tragedy? The people I shoot with are all stunning, every single one of them: regardless of talent, size, race, sex.
    as posted I Agree over 9000% “Knowing how to frame a photo, what lighting to use, and take the best angle picture of your subject makes you a good photographer.”

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