OUT OF CHARACTER: Cosplayers At Anime North 2016

Words and photography By Paul Salvatori

Normally at the Japanese animation convention, Anime North, held yearly in Toronto and one of the largest of its kind, you will see throngs of photographers taking staged shots of cosplayers, posing for the camera in ways that suit the character they are dressed as.  At this year’s convention, I was interested, however, in shooting cosplayers just being themselves.  Anime North, held yearly in Toronto and one of the largest of its kind, you will see throngs of photographers taking staged shots of cosplayers, posing for the camera in ways that suit the character they are dressed as.  At this year’s convention, I was interested, however, in shooting cosplayers just being themselves.  

But that proved to be difficult.   Much of the time cosplayers, if not modeling for photographers, were well-aware they are on a stage where others–regarding them with endearing curiosity–encourage them to perform their fictional identity.

After two days of walking through the large convention grounds in hot summer-like heat, I eventually surmounted this challenge.  Reminding myself to be patient and alert, I was finally able to capture moments when cosplayers revealed their natural side–the person behind the costume who, for a short time, was “out of character.”  

Girl Wearing Headbow
Girls Walking
Girl With Staff
Man On Curb
Thinking
Friends
Accordion Player
Girl In Audience
Resting With Bear Suit
Laughter
Girl Folding Hands
Girl Holding Box
Sitting In Tree
Girl With Sledgehammer
Double Profile
Girl Sitting
Sullen
Crouching On Concrete
Plane Overhead
Dusk
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