Don't Smile, Don't Pose.

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There are many photographers out there that take photos of cosplayers, and some of those photographers are arguably good. However, clichés are clichés, and you’ve probably seen those kawaii  (かわいい) poses done to death, or people wielding their foam board swords in a battle stance as if there weren’t enough fighting in the actual anime series. I have nothing against these photographers and cosplayers, some of their work are great and/or spectacular, but I wanted to try something fresh.What was initially thought as the source of the clichés, the opposite literally became the modus operandi of an art direction. Taking the play out of cosplay, I asked each cosplayers to “Don’t Smile, Don’t Pose”. On its own the photograph is just another portrait with a classical look, but as a series one can start to see that these portraits gets pretty grounded fast. There is a contrast between those whimsical, neon coloured hair wigs and that stare that pierces the soul. I knew I wanted to go for that look.

Not all cosplayers does it quite as well though. Some of them pull the natural, honest look quite naturally, but there are people who felt out of character when asked not to smile and pose. Some people had attempted the look, but they just didn’t have the “look”. Some were just plain confused.I’m not sure if anyone else has started on a series like this, but it does sound like it could be a project worth publishing if gathered enough pictures. Although, there’s also the thought of getting permission to publish these materials, which is a hassle. At the time being, it’s fun asking cosplayers to give that serious face. At least to me, it doesn't feel cliché.

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Kyle Low

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