Photographer Richard Man

On April 5, the International Costumers’ Guild’s Marty Gear Costuming Arts and Sciences Fund approved ICG member Richard Man’s application for a grant to support his Transformations Cosplay Project. In this project, Mr. Man will examine “how costumers/cosplayers transform themselves from their ‘mundane’ daily appearance to temporarily ‘become’ the characters they portray.” His application explained that he takes “traditional-style portraits . . . with an eye toward gallery exhibition and large-format book publication, using . . . 4x5 large-format film cameras. The main focus is on the characters themselves. The photos are accompanied by textual excerpts of audio interviews I do with the costumers to give further insight into the people behind the costumes; for example: what sparked their interest in costuming, the reasons behind particular choices of costumes, challenges and details they enjoy about costume creation. . .” and that “The goal is to photograph cosplayers/costumers from as many regions as possible. . . .”

Mr. Man sees the purpose of Transformations Cosplay as to “raise the awareness of and respect for costumers and our costuming arts and techniques; not just within the SF&F communities, but also in the general public and the greater art community as a whole. Additionally, this provides opportunities to promote awareness of the existence and history of costumer organizations such as the ICG and its various chapters.

“The juxtaposition of the costumers both in costume and also in their ‘regular lives’ (in regular clothes, often with some representation of their daily jobs) is intended to show costumers as ‘regular’ people of all ages and from all walks of life who also happen to engage in this amazingly fun and highly creative hobby; costumers/cosplayers are not a ‘bunch of crazy fringe weirdos’ or ‘just skimpy soft-core exhibitionists’ that media portrayals often make them out to be.”

The ICG’s grant, for $750, will provide additional general support for the Transformations Cosplay project. Mr. Man intends to present the project at Costume-Con and other science fiction, anime, and genre conventions. He seeks to publish the results in book form and to display the photos on websites, at convention art shows, and in galleries. He will submit web sized images for permanent retention in the ICG’s Pat and Peggy Kennedy Memorial Archives.

The International Costumers’ Guild established the Marty Gear Fund to provide modest financial support for projects or activities by ICG members that advance the art and science of costuming and benefit the costuming community. It is named for the late Marty Gear, a founder of the ICG.

For more information, go to www.costume.org and select “Marty Gear Costuming Arts and Sciences Fund” in the menu, or contact the Fund at icg-grants@costume.org.

Byron Connell
Chair, Administration Committee
Marty Gear Costuming Arts and Sciences Fund