When I first started following the cosplayer, Ger Tysk, I became stupidly excited when I heard she was releasing a cosplay photobook. Finally, at Denver Comic Con 2014, I not only got to meet her face to face, but I purchased her book, Breaking All the Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self-Expression, and quite happily went home and started reading.
First and foremost, the book is a good size, as in well over 150 pages of photos and information. I went in knowing this, so I planned to take my sweet time reading through it. It’s very well-organized with an introduction, the various questions that Ger asked of the multiple cosplayers, and then the actual interviews and photos of each person that participated. The finale of the book has credits, an index, and then information on Ger Tysk, the author.
Starting at the introduction… It’s very well done. Ger not only explains cosplay and the community, but the various reactions from outsiders to the hobby. She also discusses how people get into the hobby as a form of self-expression and why it’s inspired her to create the book. Overall, it’s concise, well-worded, and perfectly introduces the point to the creation of the photobook.
In each interview, you’re introduced to the cosplayer via their name or alias, their age, location, and occupation. You’re also told how long they’ve been in the hobby and given an image of the cosplayer featured in costume. Their interview is next to the image, giving insight on them, such as what they most enjoy from the hobby, their first costumes and experiences, and other various bits and pieces of information. The only thing I noticed is that it is best to read the interviews a bit at a time, because there are a lot, and they can get overwhelming or feel slightly redundant at times. I was reading about five in each sitting, because they are very interesting to read, but it’s a lot of information all at once. The images used are capturing, either via the costume, lighting, or posing… But I didn’t find a single photo I disliked.
Once you get through the multitude of interviews, there’s credits given to those who helped fund the book on Indiegogo, including smaller interviews from users who got to submit photos with a larger donation. After that is an index, which is pretty self-explanatory, and Ger Tysk’s information.
I thoroughly enjoyed this cosplay photobook, because while it had pretty photos, I enjoyed the interviews and information learned from them. I definitely believe it’s best to read bits and pieces of Breaking All the Rules to really enjoy it, because it’s a lot to potentially take in in a single sitting. I never saw any serious editing mistakes, and I did like the layout of the book itself. In conclusion, I recommend the book for those involved in cosplay, or even for those interested in checking out the hobby. You can purchase the book at the aforementioned link in the beginning of this article. 😀