This is usually the time of year when Australians gather for all of the things they love – especially games and gaming conventions. A large part of this scene includes the local cosplay community, but since this isn’t currently possible, a photographer came up with a new idea to keep everyone connected.
The series is called “Stillstream” and was shot by Jim A. Barker, the same photographer who took these incredible 2019 PAX Australia snapshots. While chatting over a private message, Barker stated that he didn’t want to lose any of the best pieces of PAX and gaming conventions just because of COVID, so he found a way to remotely photograph cosplayers.
“I would direct them from home, but they̵
Bianca Bella, the Melbourne-based cosplayer behind Pink Spiderman who also runs the Geelong Cosplay Society, said the lack of convention was a huge loss to the local cosplay and photography community. The events are not just an opportunity for people to show off their work, but to reconnect with like-minded friends, which was sorely missed in 2020.
“We all miss it – cosplayers, photographers, congress goers, all of us,” said Bella. “Cosplay is a big deal for so many reasons: it gives people confidence, deals with social anxiety, and achieves goals by making costumes and attending events.”
“Without her I felt a big hole in my heart and I miss getting out and putting a smile on people’s dials. I went for the creativity and stayed for the friendly and welcoming community so it’s hard to miss that aspect. “
The footage was all taken from Barker’s house, pointing a DSLR at a screen attached to a Zoom call.
Four cosplayers took part in the remote shooting: Jessica Luna, Gasman R., Bianca Bella and Christian Pillirone. Not all of them were based in Melbourne, but the nice thing about the idea is its scalability. Barker can use the same idea to shoot cosplayers around the world if he wants.I asked Barker how complicated the set up process was for him and for the cosplayers. He explained that there had been a fortnight between “first contact” and each of the shoots and that the biggest problem was giving clear instructions from a distance (something that would normally be much easier in person).
“An inch here, a couple of degrees there makes all the difference,” said Barker. “I also worked with the cosplayers before the shoot to find the best places around them before our sessions started. Wherever possible we have used tripods, lights, friends and family to make it easy to position the camera while the cosplayer focused on posing. “
The shoot follows on from Barker’s earlier work “Doortraits”, a series of portraits filmed earlier this year during the height of the pandemic. This series was about capturing how coronavirus has impacted everyone’s mental health and finding a new way to take portraits in a world of social distancing.
I asked Barker if he was going to do a second round of still stream footage, or maybe even consider shooting international cosplayers. “I would definitely like to do this again. If there are cosplayers in the world asking for Lockdown to shoot, my DMs are open! “
Barker has other great work on the Twelve Points Photography website. There’s also more incredible cosplay on each of the cosplayers’ individual pages below. Check out these too.