Cosplay has risen to popularity from various T.V shows, and with it’s immersion in various retail stores like Hot Topic, it’s safe to say the cosplay community is no longer some secret society. with intricate costumes, crazy props, and creature costumes, it’s no surprise the photographers have gravitated into the community to capture the creations on film.
With a community filled with thousands from various backgrounds, shapes and sizes why does it seem like when you google “Cosplay” we are seeing only select few? The photography is over saturated with skinny White and East Asian women. Various groups of people of color and plus size cosplayers are pretty much non existent for the lack of better words. In a community that is so diverse, why does it not appear that way? Time and time again I’m reminded of the words I’ve heard…”It’s simply not marketable”.
In a community where we put so much emphasis on page views and popularity, we are sadly placing standards on having a certain appearance and it’s gravitated into cosplay photography. Whether we want to admit or not, the popularity of petite East Asian and White women are who the photographers within this community feel are going to get them the views and likes. It’s apparent that that is the standard, and what is desirable to shoot. While all photographers will not blatantly be open about it, phrases like “Why can’t they shoot what they want?” are used as a cover up for the actual problem. It’s dismissive. It’s perfectly okay to shoot what you like and enjoy, but when your reasons for denying someone photos are racially driven, or due to the person’s size, it becomes a problem. The cosplay community is so vast and diverse. Choosing to dismiss those deemed undesirable, and showcase the cosfamous, displaying them as representative of the cosplay community is not okay. Addressing the issue about showcasing a small portion of the cosplay community, because of harsh beauty, body type, and racial standards is not bringing negativity. It’s addressing an obvious problem.
Notably with Black cosplayers for example, we are often denied photos, because cosplay photographers claim our skin tones are just simply too difficult to capture. Lighting is too difficult for dark skinned cosplayers. Frankly if you can’t learn or try to figure out how to balance more than one skin tone with your $600+ DSLR that you point and shoot with…you simply, for the lack of better word do not have any skill as a photographer. I will say this before I end this small excerpt, there is nothing wrong with being petite and white. However, when you are in a community with so much diversity, You are not being demanding when you are simply just asking for more representation and variety. You are requesting something that represents this community.