Photog' Phee-ture - Rescend!
Our love & appreciation for Cosplayer Photographers; the very people responsible for taking pictures that make your Cosplay efforts look as awesome as they can; continues!
This time around, we get to speak to Rescend, a regular contributor to Cosplay Gen and of course, a dedicated photographer who also has a love for film & video!
anibee: Hi Rescend! Let's first get to know you better - tell us about yourself, how long you've been in the cosplay community and what got you started on cosplay photography!
Rescend: First of all, thank you for letting me be part of this interview; it's a great honour. My name's William and I was known in the circle as either Rescend or Omake-sama but I guess over time, Rescend managed to stay on! I've been in the Cosplay community since 2009, with SOY'A and Cosfest VIII being the first few major Cosplay events I attended. Since then, I've not only done Cosplay Photography but I've been involved in making props and even getting into Cosplay as well!
Relating the story of how I got into Cosplay Photography always brings a smile to my face, as my girlfriend (Blacklash) was directly responsible for my presence in Cosplay Photography. It started out when she was preparing to attend her first event, SOY'A. She was worried that her Cosplay was so terrible that nobody would take photos of her. I stepped up and assured her, if nobody was going to take photos of her, I would. The rest is, I guess, history!
anibee: With all kinds of other things out there that most other photographers shoot; birds, cars, fashion; why cosplay?
Rescend: Every form of Photography has its own interesting things to learn.
Allow me to explain: whether you do Landscape Photography or Birding, it has its own set of tips/rules/trends to follow. Cosplay is a little different in a sense as it has no fixed rules. I instantly felt more comfortable with Cosplay Photography because I saw the potential of being able to explore different concepts and ideas without being excessively penalised and demoralised. Ironically, it's the reason why critics and old timer photographers in certain forums write-off Cosplay as a place for "Amateurs" and don't even bother looking at their works.
I personally feel that every photographer who has ventured into Cosplay Photography to genuinely explore their creativity will find it a very open yet challenging genre.
anibee: While it's always a good thing to shoot as many different things as possible, what are YOUR personal favourite anime subjects that you like to shoot?
Rescend: The answer to this question frustrates my other half a lot; I don't particularly have a favourite series/character! It's not because I can't decide which is better, but more of me not being able to actually rank them because they are all different in their own ways and I feel that their creators have poured their heart and soul into it.
I don't have very particular attachments to any series/character but if you had to force an answer (or rather, 5) out of me, I'd say (in no particular order) Black Rock Shooter, Ada Wong (Resident Evil), Asuka Langley (Evangelion), Uzumaki Naruto and Sakata Gintoki.
anibee: Some people are really picky about a cosplayer's ability to portray a character accurately and faithfully, while others are only concerned if they look 'good'. What's your view on this debate?
Rescend: Without sounding too much like a textbook answer, I feel that as long as the Cosplayer feels that this is their 100% effort, I'd respect it and say they have done their best. Whether that's really the case or not, only the Cosplayer him/herself can answer that - and do some soul searching if it's not so!
Having said that, people tend to forget that Cosplaying is all in the name of fun. You can argue about this all day, but in the end, since when did having to Cosplay REQUIRE you to be in character all the time? Does it really matter if the cosplayer missed out a minor detail? While it is important to watch out for detail, it is also important to balance fun along with it. Too much of anything is not good for you.
Truth be told, there are Cosplayers who show a distinct lack of effort in their costumes. As a result, they invite the criticisms upon themselves by being overprotective instead of seeking advice on how to improve. It's a sad vicious cycle. All in all, it's about seeking a balance in being critical while at the same time, remembering that this is just a hobby. You're supposed to have fun doing it, not turning it into a chore for yourself & others.
anibee: We understand that you're also a cinematographer! Do tell us more about this other side to your hobby, and about any projects you might have underway!
Rescend: Yes! I have been doing Wedding Videos for friends/relatives, and was recently involved in filming a mini music video for my colleagues. Currently, I'm working on a personal project called "Project Ada".
My one true love was always Cinematography and I'm taking my own mini-steps towards it. I have no professional/prior training to all this; it's all self-learnt. Video requires a lot more patience as it takes a much longer time to edit/post process than photos and the learning curve is steep. I hope more people would step up to do video as well.
My idea of Cosplay Videos is not just doing convention videos but in doing short films as well, which is why I have embarked on my personal project (Project Ada). It has been a really big challenge for me, as while principal photography has finished for the project, post-processing is taking a while as I have to learn and explore Adobe After Effects myself and do most of the compositing, soundtrack and visual effects alone.
Coupled with the year-end madness last year and you've got a perfect storm for a delay. As a result I was unable to deliver it within the promised date. However, I'm happy to announce that I have been able to start work on the project yet again and I'm making good progress. Please look out for it!
anibee: Shooting to gain 'fame' versus shooting cosplay just for the art & enjoyment of it - what's your stand?
Rescend: Who would reject fame? Haha! On a more serious note, for me it's both; the art aspect and enjoying with the cosplayers/fellow photogs takes precedence over everything else, yet I do not hide the fact that I would love to be recognised for my works and gain fame as a result.
I feel there is no need for one to be overly modest about their achievements. I had people write to me saying I inspire them and they aspire to take good photos like I do; the feeling is priceless. I think the key issue to begin with is that many believe that fame has a certain stigma attached to it, which are not always true. As a result, there are photogs who actively shun fame and shut themselves off.
One of the simple solutions to managing fame is simple; keep your feet grounded. The reason why my time with the Cosplayers/Fellow Photogs takes precedence is because these are the people who (if I become famous for or my works get recognised) are directly responsible and are part of this success as well! Never short change others and people will respect you.
anibee: What's your personal "dream" project?
Rescend: I've actually spoken to some of my fellow photogs about a "dream" shot. It's not about shooting for a famous Cosplayer or with some big-name photographer, but rather, something more literal. I would love to create a scene from Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, where Sephiroth has stabbed Cloud with his sword, and has him hanging off it while holding his weapon with one hand! It has so many challenges going on at the same time and it's something I'd really love to do one day.
But if you mean a project as a whole, I would really love to do a whole short film with a full crew on basically any anime/game I want. I wrote fanfics when I was younger and I would love to adapt some of them into actual films one day. My love was always cinematography and that will never change!
Spoken like a truly passionate individual dedicated to his craft(s)! Check out Rescend's Facebook page where you can view more of his works, and get the latest updates on his other projects such as "Project Ada"!