Become What You Love
With storybook characters being used to shape children’s realities, fiction has always been an important part of growing up. Whether it be kindness, bravery, intelligence, or style, there are many ways a favorite character can shape us, and in our widely connected world, there are more characters than ever for people to grow up with. In Become What You Love, I use costume and photography explore the influence of fiction on myself & challenge you to do the same.
Some of my earliest memories are opening Burger King Pokémon toys and playing Mario Kart with my cousin. An interest in television and games followed me into adulthood where I began cosplaying. Cosplay is a hobby about making and wearing costumes of your favorite characters. The hobby is both fun and fascinating because it made me realize how ingrained fictional characters are into our lives and how important it is to us that they feel real. Companies like Disney are especially aware of this since meeting and even dining with costumed characters is a big draw of visiting their theme parks.
I combined my interest in cosplay with my photography concentration to create self-portraits in costume. The characters I chose to emulate are ones important to me, however I strive for the photos to be something anyone can appreciate.
First, I picked Dawn who is the protagonist of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum which are video games from 2006. Pokémon is something I’ve loved my whole life, but for a long time it was seen as something for boys. Dawn helped me appreciate femininity since her cute pink clothes were different from other Pokémon protagonists’ and showed me that I could like a game people thought was for boys and still be girly. I also vividly remember being excited for these games’ release and staring at their map imagining the new places I would explore. In this photo set, I showcase the many places you can visit in Pokémon by having a different environment for each photo.
Next I chose Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon. I watched Sailor Moon when I was 14 and loved its message of beauty and inner strength. Characters like Princess Serenity who are elegant and graceful, yet powerful, made me want to become an eloquent person. In the story, Serenity is the princess of the Moon Kingdom who falls in love with the prince of Earth. I chose an ethereal garden setting for my photos to reference the beautiful plants Serenity loves the Earth for.
My final character is Phosophyllite from Land of the Lustrous which is a graphic novel I am currently reading. The story is about humanoid gems and deals with being broken, repaired, and dealing with loss. At this point, Phosophyllite is trapped by their own decisions which is something I wanted to reflect in my photos. I also adapted symbolism from the graphic novel like butterflies representing the departed and Phos’ gold arms melting when they are stressed. I feel that Phosophyllite’s story encapsulates growing up and being filled with self-doubt and uncertainty.
Throughout our lives, we experience countless stories, but some leave lasting impressions. I hope that my photography has inspired you to remember them!
archival Inkjet Print
© 2019 Sophia Monsibias, All Rights Reserved
cosplay, costume, land of the lustrous, houseki no kuni, anime, Japanese, self portrait