Kids of Cosplay – We need to transport ourselves from the everyday

words Alexa Wang

I used to see Cosplay as something strange, a bit unnerving. In reality I was just been prejudiced. That’s right – many of us who see ourselves as so enlightened get a fit of nervous giggles and want to push back against anything we see as ‘not normal’.

After reading and seeing the people involved in the culture I’ve realised I was jumping to conclusions, being just as judgemental as the people who used to judge me. In my teens a group of us used to hang around the local shopping arcade in the suburbs of Basingstoke. We were kind of playing at being girly fashion goths. It started with black eye make up and went up in notches from there. We were sneered and shouted at but that somehow made us stronger. We are trying to outdo each other and desperately grapple for an identity in a humdrum suburb where we felt alienated. 

After looking through the pages and reading the anecdotes in the book Kids of Cosplay I realise the players are doing a very similar thing. Some of us find it difficult to exist in the so-called everyday. So we have to find ways we can transport ourselves out of it. The more I think about it now the idea of accepting the everyday is just as bonkers as constructing a whole new fantastical image to escape from it. The everyday itself after all is just an illusion.

After attending a cosplay convention in 2017, photographer Thurstan Redding became captivated by cosplay as a subject matter and embarked on a three-year photographic project to portray cosplay in a way it had never been seen before. Brought to life through the presentation of seventy cosplayers in unassuming locations, Kids of Cosplay highlights how creativity can thrive in the most mundane realities.

Kids of Cosplay is out now publsihed ny Thames and Hudson

Kids of Cosplay photo book

The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) – Baby massage Teacher amd Exam Invigilator

“I first accompanied my eldest daughter to MCM London Comic Con nearly 10 years ago. I had no idea what to expect and was not cosplaying then, but it was such a welcoming and encouraging environment that we returned in costume. Cosplay is great fun, challenging and time-consuming – painting yourself green effectively is not quick or easy! But it a fantastical escape and  – more than anything – it’s been a great way to connect with my family creatively.”

Kids of Cosplay book culture

Mystique (X-Men) – Manicurist

“I love dressing up as different characters. It’s so fun to become someone else for a night. Mystique is such a great role; I love that she is strong and dangerous, yet still feminine. In this costume I feel mysterious and sultry. There’s something about being blue for the day.”

Kids of Cosplay book

Alices (Alice in Wonderland) From Left to right: architecture student and model; bio-textiles researcher; actor and artist

Kids of Cosplay photographic book

Honey (Ouran High School Host Club – Japanese Anime Series) – Swimming Teacher

Kids of Cosplay is out now published by Thames and Hudson

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