Friday, January 10, 2014

cosplay interlude - SARK

"I need those!"

photo by Andy Ihnatko

Comments from the photographer...

Maria Sark

I'm way behind on posting photos of cosplayers from the cons I've attended. This is one of my favorite cosplayers ever: she's Sark from "TRON." While I will humbly take credit for posing and composing and Photoshopping well, it's a fantastically well-executed and wearable costume, and she made some terrific and simple modifications that give Sark a cool, lighter, Deco-inspired riff. The movie costume (designed for a male actor) looked clunky and boxy.

Her facial features also elevate the costume. I often "see" a costume differently when I dump my photos and look at them onscreen. I got a "Maria" (of "Metropolis") vibe from this photo immediately.

I wish I always had both the guts and the clarity of thought that I brought to this photo. I loved the costume at first sight, so I broke my usual "five seconds" rule. I took...well, as much as twenty, asking her to move to a spot with a workable background and strong downward lighting, and directed her "pose" a little bit. It was worth it, because I got the shot I wanted.

So often, I'll look at a photo and think "Rrgh. I should have asked Superman to rotate his shoulders a bit to show off the logo better. And asked him to walk fifteen feet to the left so I could shoot him in front of that big window with the city behind him."

But this isn't a model I've's a fan who's walking around a public place in a costume. So I usually don't feel very good about asking this nice person to go into Performing Monkey Mode for the sake of a random guy with a camera.

I shot this in 2011 at New York Comicon. I bumped into Sark again during the 2012 Comicon at a diner near the convention center and I frantically searched my iPad for this photo, to no avail. Ach. I imagine she'd like to have a copy.

Oh my goodness, hey there! I'm the Sark in this overwhelmingly impressive photo of yours, lol. First, please let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for such overwhelmingly kind compliments - but I must say that I honestly don't think me or my costume live up to your wonderful words, ahhhhh. I mean, once you've been compared to Maria, welp, there's really no higher on the compliment ladder you can possibly go. You've completely ruined the chances any future suitor of mine has to flatter me, lol. And while I can't thank you enough for just going out of your way to take and create an such amazing photo of me in my my outfit, you actually have no idea how gracious I am to you for actually taking the time to give me some direction! There are a number of photos of me out there where parts of my costume are falling down or my helmet has shifted and is way too far back on my head, and I see these photos and wish somebody had told me as to prevent me from looking ridiculous in what would have otherwise been a fantastic photo. I bomb my own photos constantly, it's terrible, lol. But yeah, there's never any harm in asking - we'd generally like to look our best for you guys, so if it takes and extra 15 seconds and 15 feet, so be it, haha. You're the ones going out of your way to take breathtaking photos of us, and for that we are flattered, humbled, and grateful. But gosh, oh there are happy memories here - this was my very first time wearing the completed outfit, and your photo caught some of the little quirks and 'glitches' it had that I've since fiddled with. And you actually got a shot of me in my contact lenses! I only wore them for a few hours, as I had gone near-blind from them in one eye because of a bad reaction to them in conjunction with all the ridiculous high-garlic cooking that was going on in a lot of the con for some mysterious reason. I really do apologize for the awkward squinting going on here; you caught me with light was painful and I was an incoherent allergic mess. AND OH GOD THAT DINER FROM THE FOLLOWING YEAR. I swear, everyone from the entire convention and also several other conventions must have been in that diner that night - it has become a giant running joke among the group I was with, because of the sheer number of people in crazy places who saw us at that diner, lol. Like, as an example, I went to an event in California and there were people who recognized me from that diner. It's mind-boggling. I hope the food you got there was better than ours, lol.
Andy Ihnatko's reply
Hey, I'm glad you found the photo! Yes, there's an interesting interaction between the people with cameras and the people in costumes at cons. I try to find the balance point between "They're here to enjoy the con, not to be hassled by people who think a camera is a license to order someone around" and "Well, look, he or she is walking around in public wearing a costume that they clearly take a great deal of pride in; I'm sure they're expecting to be photographed." Your costume was fab. Exact accuracy and impeccable construction aren't as important as creating an "effective" costume. Point Two is that you're a great match to that outfit. Above all, the cosplayers who always attract my eye at cons are those who are clearly enjoying themselves, and you were obviously doing that.

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