Today on the blog, I want to feature someone who plays a very important role in the cosplay community. James Rulison is a photographer who captures stunning and dynamic photos of cosplayers and artists in the community. He does location shoots, convention shoots, and studio shoots. Read the interview below with him to learn more about his amazing talents and other hobbies!
How and when did you get into cosplay photography?
I got into photography as a young child. My parents signed me up for a summer photography class put on by the local high school.
Have you ever tried cosplaying yourself?
Yes, I cosplayed for the first time this year at WonderCon 2016.
If yes, what was the experience like for you?
I cosplayed as Hodor from Game of Thrones. It was a fun experience to try and embody a character and please the characters biggest fans. It was also hard decision to make not just the decision of what character to cosplay but also the fact that I would be giving up that day to cosplay instead of taking the pictures of the other cosplayers walking around.
Do you have a specific type of cosplay or character you prefer to shoot?
I don't think I have a type of character or cosplay that I favor. I do tend to avoid large groups especially if they are super amazing cosplays. I know that sounds strange but my mind says the more amazing the more other photographers will cover it.
Do you have a trademark style you've used for all your projects?
Not that I am concisely aware of but there might be something someone else sees.
What do you do when you're not taking awesome photos?
I work in online media delivery meaning I help power the internet / I play video games. My current favorites are Black Ops 3 and The Division.
You did a powder paint themed shoot last year. Do you have any other unique photography projects in the works?
Yes, thank you for asking I have another powder paint shoot actually already in the works now. It was always pre-planned but I do have yet another shoot that is equally interesting but we will be keeping that under wraps for now.
Who is your photography idol/inspiration?
My photography inspirations are more along the lines of photographers from National Geographic like Joe McNally I also like sports photographer Dave Black and of course I like some of the classics like Ansel Adams.
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
I actually don't have a specific inspiration or idol of cosplay. Maybe the term cosplay is my idol and what it means to the people who actually cosplay.
What is a dream shoot that you would want to do one day?
For cosplay I would like to continue to do my Wounded SuperHeroes project. I would like to be able to have maybe 16 of them completed and maybe do a showing and raise some money for wounded vets. For non cosplay I would like to do more personality portraits with people who give back to the community. Make them look as good as they are inside on the outside.
What is your favorite convention to attend?
That's hard because my favorite convention to attend was held in a place that I don't find particularly fun to shoot at. I like WonderCon but when it's at Anaheim Convention center. The LA Convention Center always has to much to contend with you always have something going on at the same time at Staples (Lakers, Kings, concerts, etc.) which means security is going to be in force and no mater how nice you are they always have one or two on a power trip asking you to leave or pushing you to shoot somewhere else.
What is your dream convention to attend?
Dragon Con or maybe NYCC.
Do you have any photography or convention pet peeves?
I would have to say cosplayer monopolizing. Basically when a photographer decides to take 40+ minutes to shoot a cosplayer. There has been many cosplayers who ask me why I didn't shoot them and it's because every time I came back around they were still shooting with the same photographer. Oh and one more don't decide to do cosplay photography on the convention floor. It's not the time or place you are only making it harder for people to walk by and at the big cons like AX, SDCC, WonderCon, you are just making everyone around you miserable.
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
None yet, knock on wood.
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplay photographers?
My tip would be to move around your subject check all the angles see how the light plays around them. Be conscious of your backgrounds if you have a full convention hall behind your subject it might not make the best background.
Do you have any advice for cosplayers working with photographers?
Know who you are working with. There are certainly some creeps out there so if you are doing an out of con shoot make sure you take someone with you. Also if you see me at a convention ASK me to grab a shot I don't always walk up to cosplayers especially if they have drinks in their hands or are talking to people. I think it's rude to interrupt but I might be reading the situation wrong and you might be hanging out waiting for me to ask you to shoot. Just be forward about it.
Do you have anything else you want to say, or add to this interview?
Be respectful that means ask permission before taking a photo and never touch a cosplayer without permission.
Where can we find you on all things social?
All photos in this blog by James Rulison.
I'm really happy I had the opportunity to chat with James. He's a really down to earth guy, and he has some amazing and admirable talent. Find him on all things social, and if you live near him, perhaps you might even get the chance to work with him!