The idea of comparing cosplayers in and out of costume is hardly new—we just ran a web series on it—but Paul Hillier’s collection of images stand out for the way he’s able to not just contrast the person’s appearance, but capture the process of creating an outfit.
“A cosplayer will typically only wear a costume at a convention for maybe 2-6 hours before changing back into street clothes or into another costume.”, Hillier says. “In that time they will be asked for hundreds of photographs. Those photographs will be shared online to thousands of people. Those few hours will be the embodiment of how thousands of people recognize them. Yet for almost all cosplayers this is only a tiny fraction of what they do. For every hour spent cosplaying many more are spent crafting their costumes and yet those hours are widely overlooked.”
“For this project I wanted to photograph popular cosplayers in their most recognizable form to the general public and contrast that with how they actually spend the majority of time cosplaying.”
The images he took show each cosplayer hard at work on the outfit he later photographed them in. There’s a full collection on Paul’s site, including interviews with each cosplayer, but I’ve shared some highlights below.