CosplayGen X Cristian Dîrstar

Cosplay Gen is the bible of cosplay, from interviews to tutorials, the magazine showcases the best of cosplay and gives you an insight into the minds of dedicated cosplayers – and best of all it is made by fans for fans.

Below are promo cards for issue 3, taking some of the best cosplays from the issue and mixing them up with illustrations by Cristian Dîrstar – it’s interesting to see cosplayers who dress as real life versions of drawn characters being drawn themselves, seems like a weird paradox but we love it.

See the full series here.

Tokyo Special 1/10 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

Exactly one year ago I had just checked into my hotel in Tokyo along with my mum. The 10 days trip was a life changing one and I think about the city I love daily. For every day I was in Tokyo I will bring you a different photo series of the city, each photographer show casing their own view of an element unique to the city.

Seeing as we arrived as nightfall it’s only fair to start with the time in which Tokyo is at it’s best, night time.

This is part 1 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

I love the tones and colours used in this series, although we know it’s dark the city is still vibrant and energetic in its colours. The salary man having his dinner, the youth dressed to go out and the taxi man working on the roads of this eccentric city, Jon Siegel captures Tokyo from a non-alien view. Check out the full series here which comprises of over 170 photographs.

Interchangeable Icons

TOKYO, 2013

21st Century Geisha, Magical Girl and Product Placement. These are all “looks” of our protagonist. Female pop cult icons change their visual identity in order to comply with whichever product or theme is in demand.  They become like dolls boundlessly changing whilst simultaneously being branded as unique and liberating. Consumers are led into a false sense of empowerment, told we are free to choose how these icons look, when really we are being drip fed options. Our so called freedom is choosing from a series of pre-selected branded looks which demand we pay before getting access. This transcends into all aspects of consumerism surrounding these transmedia icons, figures, photos and trading cards all offer different variations, we buy into choices in order to show we don’t conform. When the act of needing them suggests the opposite.

Adam Hinton – Lovin’ It

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Adam Hinton’s book ‘Lovin’ it’ initially caught my attention because of the book title. The iconic McDonalds catchphrase paired with the city lights instantly made me think about consumerism and advertising. The book is Hinton’s exploration of Shanghai, China. His work aims to comment on the drastic social changes occurring in Japan during 2004-2007 when these images were taken. Whilst acknowledging the benefits of technology and consumerist culture Hinton looks at how the speed of change is having a darker effect on Shanghai.

Some images are even paired with quotations from communist leader Mao Zedong. Who’s government rule led to the death of millions of citizens. Hinton uses these quotes to relate to China’s current situation to that of Hinton’s ruling. All the sudden drastic changes mean people and places get left behind.

The other aspect that drew me to this book is the styling. There is something quite surreal about the use of night/ twilight. Maybe it stems from the relationship between the content and the primary lighting coming from technology. I have explored this before in my series Digital Rest. Technology as a lighting source fascinates me, especially when it’s relative to the content.

“The neon lights from the shops and adverts produce this surreal manufactured environment which creates this feeling of hyper-reality.”
– A quote from An interview with photographer Adam Hinton by Nigel Warburton.

Hinton also explains how the lighting creates a hyper-reality, one of the key themes in my work, and from this book I can see that surreal nature that first drew me to the book does have an alternate/hyper reality feel to it. The use of night time and twilight paired with advertising lighting is something I need to explore more. Maybe through work that has nothing to do with consumerism. Detach the content and focus on how the styling effects the sincerity of the image.

In another interview Hinton talks more specifically about the consumerist influence of the project. You can read the full interview here.