Photographer Richard Man

On December 15, 2016, the International Costumers’ Guild’s Marty Gear Costuming Arts and Sciences Fund approved a $1,000 (US) continuation grant in support of ICG member Richard Man’s Transformations Cosplay Project. The project will examine “how costumers/cosplayers transform themselves from their ‘mundane’ daily appearance to temporarily ‘become’ the characters they portray.” The Fund made an initial grant in support of the project in 2015 and Mr. Man is about 75 percent of the way toward meeting the project’s first milestone of developing a book suitable for publication.

Mr. Man’s project consists of “traditional-style portraits . . . with an eye toward gallery exhibition and large-format book publication … accompanied by textual excerpts of audio interviews . . . 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. . . .”

Because one of Mr. Man’s goals is to photograph “cosplayers/costumers from as many regions as possible” the Fund has made this continuation grant to enable him to take additional photographs at new venues, such as Anime North (recognized by the ICG as offering an international-level costume competition), resulting in more photos and interviews over a wider range of venues.

Mr. Man sees the purpose of Transformations Cosplay as to “raise the awareness of and respect for costumers and our costuming arts and techniques . . . in the general public and the greater art community as a whole.” “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.”

Mr. Man intends to present the project at Costume-Cons 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 Pat and Peggy Kennedy Memorial Archives.

The ICG 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 and select “Marty Gear Costuming Arts and Sciences Fund” in the menu, or contact the Fund at See the announcement in the ICG-D Yahoo Group.

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