Interview Franseca aka Hybridre

by Cristian Botea and Ruxandra Târcă

Athrun Zala (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) // Photo by 35ryo
Franseca / Hybridre
Years of Cosplay: 6
Beijing, China
Cosplay Gen: How far back can you trace your love for cosplay and photography? How did it all start?
Hybridre: I was a pure amateur in cosplay back in high school, when the Gundam Seed series swept the whole ACG world, and almost every cosplayer I knew would do it. Perhaps that’s when my love for cosplay has begun. When I got to the college, I found a group of students who shared the same passion for cosplay, and a photographer is needed to capture the amazing moment, so I became part of the group even without a proper camera. At that time I was shy, lacking confidence, staying behind the lens because it was safer for me. Soon I came to love my job; as a photographer you’re not just someone who records, but also creates, like a director.
Fymerry as Vocaloid // Photo by Hybridre
Sakina as Izumo Kamiki (Ao no Exorcist)
Photo by Hybridre
Phoenixiaoio as Gumi Meow, XLLLL as Len Meow
(Vocaloid PV Ah, It\’s a wonderful cat life!)
Photo by Hybridre
C.G: How would you describe your photography style? Also, what sort of tips would you give to people who are still in search of their own style?
Hybridre: It’s a little weird, but I don’t want to have any style; every photo-shoot should have a different feel to it, according to its original character. What I can say is that I pay a lot of attention to composition, and I have a strong preference for movement or action shots. The most useful tip would be to get out of your comfort zone as much as you can; if you stick to one or two skills, you may be great on it, but you’ll never know what is best for you.
GUMI (Vocaloid, Holography version) //Photo by 35ryo
C.G: You’ve been both behind and in front of the camera. How does Hybridre the photographer complement Hybridre the cosplayer, and which one do you prefer?
Hybridre: I love that you say complement. Playing two roles definitely helps me to improve in both of them. It’s like thinking in another’s shoes, so it’s never difficult for me to know what the cosplayers care about and what they want exactly, and vice versa. I enjoy both roles, although they are different.
Karas as Nezumi (No.6) // Photo by Hybridre
Astellecia as Sain Seiya (Pandora) // Photo by Hybridre
C.G: Gear is important, but so is talent and imagination. What do you think is the balance between talent, imagination and gear when taking a photo-shoot? Also, what sort of gear do you use currently?
Hybridre: Imagination may be limited, but gear is not always so. Talent is more like a feeling or inspiration than something that you’re originally born with; people can accumulate the experience and observation to enhance that talent. I absorb interesting elements from many resources, and transpose them into cool ideas; then I check if I got the right equipment to put them into practice. I use a Canon 5D Mark-II with two external flashlights now; what more can I ask for?
Sakina as Rin, Asahi as Miku // Photo by Hybridre
Phoenixiaoio as Miku, Smallw as Kaito
Photo by Hybridre
C.G: Who is the main architect of your photo-shoots? How much is yourself, and how much the cosplayer you’re taking the photo-shoot with?
Hybridre: It all depends; generally speaking, I picture a scene in my mind and explain it to the cosplayers. You can’t just count on them to set everything ready, especially in the beginning, when most people are kind of stiff. However, my visions are very flexible, when they have a better pose or expression I quickly adjust to it. Listening to the cosplayers’ idea is helpful, but they hardly know what it looks like from behind the camera, so adjustment and advice from the photographer is essential. When the shoot begins, my ideas flow one after another, and I just keep talking; that’s the way I work, I need fluency and communication.
Edda (Pop’n Music) // Photo by juice
C.G: What are the most common challenges you face when you’re shooting? Which would you say was the most challenging photo-shoot you took until now?
Hybridre: I take many shoots every year, and how to make them look different from one another is a huge challenge for me. Innovation is about not repeating yourself, and I would be anxious if my inspiration dried up. I usually try to avoid repeating the same composition or pose; if it is not possible, I consider changing the lighting. It’s a way to push me to advance somehow.

The most challenging one was the APH shoot in heavy snow. I was shivering with cold and my fingers almost got frozen, like I was ill or something. Fortunately, the cosplayers were professional and had much more resistance to cold than me.

Phoenixiaoio as Akane, Smallw as Tachibana no Tomomasa (Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time)
Photo by Hybridre
Pili (Traditional Chinese: 霹雳) // Photo by Hybridre
C.G: Improvisation is a really important aspect in cosplay; as a photographer, can you share with us some tricks that you’ve used to “cheat” a photo?
Hybridre: Sometimes, my photos can be compared to movie screenshots, owing that to several customs perhaps. For example, I usually ask the cosplayers not to look straight into the camera. Instead of staring at me and smile, I prefer them to ignore my existence as much as possible. Sometimes I even hide behind something to get a view similar to someone who is secretly peeping. Also, the interactions between two cosplayers, such as talking, hugging or similar gestures are working very well too. Besides, the movement of costumes and wigs add to the feeling as well.
Karin, Cong, Shiqi, Sakina as Mugi, XLLLL as Ritsu (K-ON) // Photo by Hybridre
C.G: You have some cosplayers you always seem to collaborate with. But how does it feel when you have to take a photo-shoot with someone with whom you’ve never worked before?
Hybridre: Working with familiar people is easier in order to get decent photos, but sometimes I get invitations from new friends as well. Of course, I’m nervous because of the pressure of expectations. Communication is necessary, and the more detailed, the better. When shooting with new partners, the first thing to do is to help them relax, increase their trust by encouragements or jokes, and then everything will go just fine.
Kotani as Madoka Magica // Photo by Hybridre
Kotani as The Princess of Crystal (Mawaru Penguindrum)
Photo by Hybridre
Kotani as Rin (Vocaloid) // Photo by Hybridre
C.G: You seem to work a lot with cosplayer Kotani. How is it like to shoot with her? Do you have any cosplayers, whether from your country or abroad, that you’d want to absolutely shoot with?
Hybridre: I always have fun shooting with Kotani. She has interesting opinions, great expressions and poses, everything a photographer desires. Most importantly, we’ve been close friends for a long time; she is the one who allows me to fail, so I’m not afraid to try immature ideas with her. Looking back to our gallery, I can’t help laughing at the immature shoots we’ve had, feeling warm and cozy at the same time. It’s great when you find someone to grow up with you through many ups and downs.

Sara from Taiwan is a cosplayer I respect and share common opinions with. I hope to work with her someday!

Sayu as Lambdadelta, Yukin as Bernkastel (Umineko)
Photo by Hybridre
Sakina as Kurisu Makise, Kuroya as Rintaro Okabe (Stein Gate) // Photo by Hybridre
C.G: Is there a certain photo-shoot (in terms of both series, and script) that you’ve been dreaming of taking, but you consider it too difficult to accomplish?
Hybridre: Oh I have so many dream shoots! The tops are Cowboy Bebop and Monster, which are quite difficult for Asians to do. Plus Daomubiji (The Graver Robbers’ Chronicles) – is all Asian, but it’s hard to depict the scenes.
Hybride as Kenren (Saiyuki Gaiden) // Photo by ~4j4j4j
Dominic Sorel (Eureka Seven) // Photo by Larry
C.G: Throughout all your endeavors in this hobby, be it as a photographer or a cosplayer, what are the most important things that you’ve learned?
Hybridre: I learned some pragmatic skills like make-up, but one thing is more important: being responsible. It’s a hobby or a game, but it’s not an excuse for wasting other people’s time. I’m grateful for the efforts from both cosplayers and photographers, and I just can’t let them be in vain.


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