Quezon City, Philippines
Until now, Cosplay Gen
has been gathering quite a lot of amazing friends, and we must admit that we are glad for having known them. One such friend is Z3LL
, a cosplay photographer from The Philippines
, who has already an experience of several years in this hobby, meeting a lot of enthusiastic cosplayers; the result of such encounters is not only beautiful photos, but also very nice memories and friendships. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and for our readers, in the interview available below, together with some of his photos:
Cosplay Gen: Can you tell us a few words about yourself and your history as a cosplay photographer? What determined you to focus on this hobby?
Z3LL: I started attending cosplay events in 2007. Back then I was just using my camera phone, but then, a year later, I bought a DSLR which I named as ‘z0mg’.
Some of my friends do cosplay, and as time went by, I met more cosplayers; being the outgoing person that I am, I became friends with them.
Cosplay Gen: What about the cosplay scene in The Philippines? In your opinion, what are the pros and cons?
Z3LL: Everything has two sides to it, right? If there are pros, then there are most definitely cons. But let us not wallow on these, as cosplay is a hobby meant to be enjoyed as it is. Generally, cosplay in the Philippines is something that is still new to a lot of people. We are still in a stage where people are discovering what it is. The good news is that it is blossoming to be something that holds a lot of promise. Every convention and gathering bring forth new cosplayers. Lots of talents are on their way to be recognized and, as a photographer, I look forward to capturing these moments.
Cosplay Gen: As a cosplay photographer, what do you think it is the most important thing for a cosplayer?
Z3LL: Accuracy of the costume and how well it is made is what captures the eye. But awesome characterization is what reels us in. People would be surprised of how much a cosplayer can bring a character to life when one really tries his/her best to get to know the character they are portraying. Get the costume down, know your character and be confident of yourself. All these things make for a great cosplay and lead to good photos.
Cosplay Gen: What about the photoshoot locations? How difficult is it to find a proper location for a photoshoot and what are the most common issues? Can you give us an example?
Z3LL: Manila has a lot of beautiful locations, but not all of them are accessible. Some require permits or are very pricey. Sometimes they don’t cost much, but the task of acquiring a permit can be very stressful. There is also the fact that you have to think and be creative as a photographer; the overall outcome of the photo is what matters. In cosplay you also need some knowledge about the subject’s character. Getting a place where the character would fit best is the main thing that we always have to think about.
As for me, I am very fortunate to have dedicated cosplayers as subjects. They are the ones who usually are the best at finding the most fitting locations for their characters; of course this doesn’t mean that I should slack off as their photographer. I do my part by researching and getting to know their characters as well so that we can fully capture their characters through the pictures that we share.
Cosplay Gen: Can you recount a funny story from one of your photoshoots? Or your most vivid memory from a photoshoot?
Z3LL: Back in 2009, me and my friends who were avid Naruto fans decided to have a Team Gai (from Naruto) photoshoot. Somewhere along the way, the supposed Team Gai-only shoot swelled to include Team Suna and other characters. More of our friends who have Naruto characters joined in, and the cast now had the legendary sannins. A few days before the shoot, it occurred to us to add a Sakura and Sasuke cosplayer too. The line-up was looking more and more exciting, we were all confident that this would be an epic Naruto photoshoot with all the cast assembled. But it turned out that our Naruto, whom we forgot to invite earlier, was unavailable. We didn’t want all our hard work to go to waste, so we ended up having a Naruto shoot without a Naruto. The most important character and we forgot to invite him ahead of time. It really is surprising that none of us thought about it earlier.
Cosplay Gen: Regarding cosplay photography, how do you see yourself in the future? For how long do you intend to pursue this hobby and what is your greatest motivation for it?
Z3LL: Photography is one of my passions and I am eager to learn more about it. Cosplay photography is one of the fields that I want to get better at, but that does not mean that I don’t want to venture to other fields. In fact, I am trying my hand at food photography. But as long as there is something to be captured and the people that I enjoy being with are still into cosplay, then I’d probably still be in photographing cosplays.
Also, be sure to check Z3LL‘s Flickr gallery, for an extended display of his cosplay photos.