Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dragon Con 2017: The Best Cosplay, Part 3

Ahhh, it's been too long! Have you missed my Dragon Con meanderings as much as I have? (Don't answer that.) (But here's part 1 and part 2 if you missed them.)

Tell you what, let's dive back in with John's favorite photo from the whole con:

[Cody Dills

It's like an antique oil painting of some European king, am I right? This guy had the pose (and wardrobe, of course) down to a T.

Side Tangent: John and I have a running disagreement over whether to show cosplayers their photos on the camera right then and there. I think it's bothering them and would rather move on, but now that we have this new flash John wants everyone to see. So after this shot - and a quick whispered argument - John actually took my camera from me and chased the cosplayer down to show him his photo, while I pretended to be fascinated by a nearby floor plant.

The cosplayer apparently loved the shot, but I still maintain it's better to take up as little of someone's time as possible. When I cosplay myself it actually unnerves me when photographers insist on showing me their cameras - it means they have to come very close (sometimes too close) and they often end up blocking other people trying to take a photo at the same time. So, at the risk of all of you agreeing with John... thoughts?

Egadz, one photo in and I'm already side-tracked and talking too much. Onward!

 These photos were taken at Dragon Con's annual Mechanical Masquerade, the big steampunk ball where it's pitch black inside and impossible to take any photos without flash. This year's theme was Wild West, so I really love this Western Superman and Wonder Woman!

Two more highlights from the ball:

Now let's head back out to the Marriott for a fabulous Victorian take on some of the Avengers:

Check it out: Iron Woman's dress has blue ground effects! Hee!

Here's a hilarious Lucille Ball from her famous chocolate factory scene:
Sorry for the terrible photo, but can we talk about how brilliant this is?? She made her own candy conveyor belt.

I'm sure you know the scene it's from, but here, let's watch it again anyway:

We need more laughs this week.

Now on to a beautiful evil Queen and Cinderella:

And another brilliant use of props: check out the crystal raindrops on Queenie's umbrella!

Look how they catch the light! Magical.

I spotted those two from waaaay across the floor in the Marriott and fell in love, but the crowds were so thick I didn't think I could get to them. So imagine my delight when they slowly worked their way right over to me and John.. and then told us they were Epbot readers! Yay!

Everyone wanted to photograph this Diana from behind - but not for the usual reason, ha:

Really digging her photo super dark like this, so I left in more shadows than usual.

A fantastic Fallout Police 'bot:

And a whole crew of pretty Pokemon:

Oooh, I'm so excited for this next one: how many of you remember Good Idea/Bad Idea?

I even got to choose which idea I wanted; s/he turns the arrow on the sign!

Time for another videoooo!

Am I really using my Dragon Con photos as an excuse to waste your entire day online? YEP.

Animated Lydia Deetz and live-action Lydia Deetz make a perfectly "strange and unusual" pair:

And WOW is she a Wynona Rider look-a-like!

At one point we popped outside for an Overwatch meetup (you'll get those photos later), and found a stunning Twi'lek and the General herself:

That's a flash photo and a no-flash photo. Believe it or not General Leia's photo is the one with flash, and I am OBSESSED. Now to get all my pics to look like that! (Of course the sunlight is key, so I'm not sure I can manage it for interior shots - but I'll keep trying.)

This Harley from the Animated Series has the most perfect makeup:

And this femme Oogie Boogie actually had lights through her dress!
[Jenumi Cosplay

Sadly my flash washed out most of the green glow (you can see a little at the bottom right), but as a trade-off, you can really see all her amazing details, snake-y jewelry, and glowing eyes!

More cosplay for those of us raised in the 80s:

I've never seen anyone dress as the The More You Know screen, ha!

Plus she has the loveliest galaxy makeup and dress - seriously, you guys, I have a feeling this idea is gonna take off. 

More 80s greatness, the walking Statue of Liberty from Ghostbusters 2:

 Yessssss. And so well done.

I don't know either of these characters (help?), but they each stopped me in my tracks:

Update: Look like that's Morrigan from Dragon Age on the right. Thanks, guys!

An adorable Arthur & The Tick, plus a rad lady Bowser:

Yaya Han was out on the floor again this year. I've photographed her before - back when I had no idea who she was - and I like that she doesn't have an impenetrable posse around her, but rather seems pretty approachable. (Pro cosplayers sometimes huddle up in large groups, which makes it super intimidating to ask for a pic.)

One sign of a pro: when you ask for a second shot, they give you a different pose. That surprised me a few times, but I really like it!

Some unexpected Star Wars mashups:

A Darth Vader/Lost In Space Robot and a Dorothy/Leia with her little dog...Chewie? Ha! I like her Ruby Rebel slippers. :D

Prepare to have your socks knocked off by this Greta from Gremlins 2:

[Makeup by Nick Wolfe]

WHAAAAAT. Look at that body painting! Incredible.

Wonder Woman's Antiope in her battle armor:

And another impressive warrior, this battle-scarred Hawkgirl:

I'm loving her expression in that close-up. That's another thing that sets cosplayers apart: the experienced ones know you don't always have to smile for the camera, and sometimes it's better when you don't!

Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle and the tallest Lady Tremaine I've ever seen:

Lady Tremaine had to be 6'5 - and her fan reads "Madam Will Do." :) (That's Thranduart Cosplay, btw, if you want to follow him!)

  I told this Joker/Guy Fawkes I needed a second shot of his pretty face, and he rewarded me with an even better pose with a surprise in his jacket:

John finds it extremely creepy, but dang that mask is beautiful. I love how perfectly it frames the eyes.

And while we're talking creepy beautiful things, BEHOLD THE SKEKSIS:

This is one of those cosplays that I *will* break into a run for from across the lobby. Look at just the side view. The detail, the silhouette, the weathering!

I was SO in awe I even photographed it both ways for you guys:

It takes me a moment of camera jiggery-pokery to switch between methods, but happily Mr. Skeksis was too big to take off on me. ;)

(The perils of being short; I had to have him tip the head way down to see the eyes!)

Here's another brilliant Epbot reader: she's dressed as the opening credits to Game of Thrones!

Her dress is the map of Westeros, and her headpiece is the spinning sun orb! That orb is SO gorgeous in person, I hope she has it on display somewhere now.

Speaking of gorgeous, I'm drooling over these Art Nouveau Disney Princesses based on the art of Hannah Alexander:

Look at those color fades on Aurora & Belle! And Tiana & Merida's headbands! SWOON.

And now, a story:

One of the biggest highlights for me this year was the Steam Powered Giraffe concert, which took place at the eye-watering hour of 3AM Saturday morning. It was supposed to start around 1AM - which was late enough already - but then massive technical difficulties & a lack of communication meant the audience was left to sit and wonder what the heck was happening for over an hour before any announcements were made. It was badly handled all 'round, and by the time the robots took the stage roughly half the audience had left, but I'm so glad we stayed. Even with continued technical problems - no show video, mics cutting out, etc - the band was incredible, and somehow managed to never break character. (I think I would have been throwing things by then, ha!)

Also, not to brag, but I totally washed my hands next to Rabbit in the bathroom several hours before the concert. I told her she looked amazing, she thanked me, and I resisted the urge to chase after her with a camera, because DANG is her makeup even more incredible up close.

After the concert the band stayed to sign autographs, and as much as I desperately wanted photos, it was 4:30 in the morning and we were pooped.

So when the band all showed up to their panel the next day in full makeup, I was BESIDE myself with glee. All I wanted was a good flash photo of each of them. After the panel we followed the crowd to their merch table, and then, while we were standing in line, HEARTBREAK. Rabbit left, and we were told she wasn't coming back. (Noooo!)

But! We still got to see the rest of the group, even chat a little, and they were all super gracious about letting us take their photos:

The newest band member Zero had already won me over at the concert, and in person he's just as laid back and lovable. The Walter Workers, too, were so open, so friendly; I really think these three balance out some of the Bennett twins' (understandable) distance with fans. (I've never seen a more... shall we say, "emotionally charged" fan base. So many people straight up SOBBING. That's gotta take a toll.)

So now I'll end with MY favorite photo of the con: because while I'm heartbroken I couldn't photograph Rabbit, The Spine is actually my favorite, and this makes me so happy:

He's incredibly well-spoken and gracious in person, though I'll admit John did all the talking. (Did I just stand there with a shy dopey smile on my face? Yes, YES I DID.)

Now let's end with one more videoooooo:

Hang on 'til 1:35 - that's when the magic happens.

 I still have more Dragon Con to get through, of course, so stay tuned for my favorite Overwatch finds, some Vintage Vogue Fashion Show, and maybe a little more miscellania. I'll also be posting everything - including the photos I don't feature here - over on Flickr eventually, so watch my gallery for that!


  1. I think that might be Antiope, not Hippolyta.

    Love all the amazing pics! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Speaking as a cosplayer, I would MUCH rather get a business card with the URL of where I can find the photo posted by the photographer when they're ready, because camera screens are often hard to see (especially if you have a costume that partially obscures your vision) and there's that awkward "getting close" thing. The only exception is when the photographer thinks that I might want to retake the picture because I blinked or a piece of the costume wasn't in the right position or something like that.

    1. So true - the number of times a photog tried to show me that tiny little screen while I was Lady Vadore, and could barely see ANYTHING, ha!

  3. My favorite roundup so far! So many good ideas. The victorian avengers and oogie boogie are my favs.

  4. I'm so happy you got to meet The Spine - he's totally my favorite! Although I have to admit, Rabbit's makeup has a little more of the wow factor.

  5. Of the two unidentified cosplays, the one on the right is Morrigan from Dragon Age ! :)

  6. Wonderful roundup, thank you!

    You probably know this, but in case you don't: those gorgeous Art Nouveau Disney Princesses are designs by Hannah Alexander whose art I am totally in love with.

  7. I took my daughter to a con in Mpls a few years ago and we got in line for autographs of Steam Powered Giraffes, and they couldn't have been nicer to my daughter and her friends. They all drew little pictures in my daughter's sketchbook in addition to signing and chatting.

  8. Stunning photos, stunning cosplays. Thank you- I needed something happy to look at. Good work all!

  9. I've never cosplayed or been to a con, but I have to side with you on this one, Jen. It seems like it would be *too* much to try to look at photos in the moment. I love the business card idea mentioned upthread, though!

  10. Oh wow, I can't choose a favorite! That's a really lovely Antiope, though. And The More You Know and the GoT opening credits -- how clever!!

  11. One of your unknowns, the one on the right with the big choker and staff is Morrigan from the video game Dragon Age Origins. I cosplay in that fandom and that is definitely a lovely version.

  12. Woohoo I made it into this post twice! (Queenie with the crystal rain drops and the Map of Westeros!) Thanks Jen! Loved bumping into you so much this year! <3

  13. Ah, that's understandable about Rabbit. She has similar social anxietys from what I've heard/seen, and the crowds at d.c. were probably a bit overwhelming for her.

  14. Every time I think about your flash photos, all I can picture is John doing some sort of yoga poses while holding your flash wands (or whatever you call them) to get the correct angle and light.

  15. Oooooh The Spine is so so cool. Went to SyFy Bartow last year and there was a cosplayer dressed as The Spine. She looked great!! Front view: http://bit.ly/2wwr2UK Back view: http://bit.ly/2yHuMDw.

  16. Hubby says that Yaya Han is dressed as Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates (and Fire Emblem Heroes).

    Also, we both remember Good Idea/Bad Idea from Animaniacs and will occasionally quote it at one another. :) (and now he's reciting the Wheel of Morality thing....) :D

  17. The Good Idea/Bad Idea character's name was Mr. Skullhead Boneyhands. Good Idea/Bad Idea was my favorite part of Animaniacs!

  18. How about asking "do you want to see the photo I just took?

  19. The unknown cosplayer on the right with the staff and leather skirt is Morrigan from the Dragon Age games (which are fantastic and I highly recommend). Great cosplay all around, I love these posts!

  20. Steam Powered Giraffe! Thank you so much for posting about them all those years ago. The Spine has become one of my all time favorite singers ever and I would have died if I met him.

  21. I went down the rabbit hole of watching Steam Powered Giraffe videos. Oh my my my. (No, no, I do not need another fandom, darnit!)

  22. My first thought would be to print business cards and hand them out when you take a photo, then the cosplayer could check it out later if they wanted to.

  23. Thanks for sharing, Jen! We get to live vicariously through you.
    With that filter or setting or whatever it is on your camera (which is totally amazeballs) these photos look very much like acrylic paintings. Am I the only one to see this? I mean that in the best way possible.
    The mad skills in putting these costumes together is great to see, so thanks again for your photos and giving us a small glimpse into all of this.
    Maureen S

  24. I don't cosplay, but I am usually annoyed when people take a picture and then want me to look at it (sorry John). If I really want to see it, I would ask. I totally agree about the card with the url.

  25. I love living in a world with such imaginations in it!
    A steampunk / wild west theme? I really hope someone cosplayed as characters from the TV series The Wild Wild West.

  26. Agree with you, Jen! Basically he’s creating a situation where someone is going to probably feign interest in his photos, and it’s a little rude. I get that he loves his photos, but it’s the equivalent of asking strangers “hey look at my baby! Isn’t it great!?” If they wanted to look at your baby they would have asked haha. But the biz cards seems like a good idea.

  27. These are some fantastic cosplays. That Twi'lek is brave...and amazing. I'd love to see pics, since they are so, so good, but I agree with the business card with URL approach, that way they can look at it in high res and also make a copy if they love it as much as you do. Often cosplayers forget to take their own pics.

  28. I'm a bit torn on the photo issue: While I think I would be quite annoyed if you forced me to take a look at the photo I guess I would like to make sure I don't look like a total idiot on a photo that might get published on the internet. So maybe asking a person "Would you like to check the photo?" would be a nice touch. If they want to see it, show them, if they don't just move on.

    And I am totally jealous about the Rabbit story! I, too, prefer the Spine as a character but I do have a major crush on her...

  29. I actually agree with you that on the con floor might not be the best place to show a cosplayer, perhaps unless they ask! I think it would be too hard to anticipate whether or not a cosplayer wants to see the photo immediately or not, and you run a greater risk of them not wanting to see it than wanting to. Perhaps a happy medium would be to hand them Epbot business cards so they can find your photography later when they aren't actively in convention cosplay mode?

  30. Oh, oh! Put a sign on your flash! John holds it, right? Because like, if you ask a cosplayer, they might feel pressured into saying yes, but if there's a sign on your flash that says something like "Ask me if you want to see your photo!" and then it's within their control to either not signal you they want to see it if they'd rather stay focused, or to signal John and that way he can coordinate showing them the photos and you won't have to.

  31. Please allow me a moment to correct Jen a bit. I DO NOT show everyone their picture. I only want to when the picture is obviously striking like the first picture or Greta the gremlin or The Spine. In addition, 9 out of 10 of those people asked for a card because they loved the picture. Also, I never attempt to show them if there's another person taking their picture or they look busy. The thing is, a lot of cosplayers get home and lament the fact that they never got a good photo of their cosplay. (We've done it quite a few times.) So why wouldn't I show them? Most of the photos they would see of themselves would be blurry, grainy cell phone pictures. Hey, believe me, I don't want some drunk guy with a cell phone stumbling up to me while I'm playing Dreamfinder. But if a professional takes a shot, of course I'm going to want to see it and probably get their card. I think in the end, it's a balance. If I take a beautiful photo of someone and I don't show them and they never know it exists, who loses? They do. So sometimes, I waste 8 seconds of their time because I know they'll probably care.

  32. The very first picture is me! Cody Dills on facebook. I'm the Prussian Kaiser.

  33. I always love the cosplay photos you guys take. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm not sure if it's something you want to add to the post, but I'm pretty sure those art nouveau princess are based off of Hannah Alexander's artwork. https://www.facebook.com/hannahalexanderartwork/

  34. I believe the lady showing a lot of skin with the gold necklace and staff is Morrigan from Dragon Age.

    And jeez, there was *so much* awesome cosplay there. It's ridiculous.

  35. I think the 2nd 'unknown' is fantastic 'Morrigan' cosplay from BioWare's Dragon Age series.


  36. I'm always so impressed by the creativity of the mashups! Very cool! Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

  37. I blame you (and this post) for my current SPG obsession. ;)

  38. I saw SPG about 4 years ago at a random theater, and it was AMAZING and wonderful and I am so in awe of your photos. Thanks for sharing with us!

  39. I think handing out a business card that tells them how to contact you / see pictures when you ask to take their picture would be awesome. Less time, plus if I was cosplaying I would want to see photos, but not necessarily at that moment.


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