The popular events, C3 Chara Expo (C3) and Anime Festival Asia (AFA) are Japanese cultural events that have been expanding through Asia. Combining the two popular events into one, C3 AFA 2017 was held in Bangkok this year. Being a place where cosplayers can congregate and connect through photography and communication, I will be reporting more about this huge event. (Reported by Kazuyo Kawatoko)
Asia’s largest Cool Japan event, now held for the first time in Bangkok!
The first ever collaboration between 2 of the largest Japanese cultural events, C3 and AFA, was held in Bangkok for the first time ever on June 10th and 11th 2017. The event saw large crowds of characters dressed up together and forming snaking queues from early in the morning.
The event was held in the heart of Bangkok in the Paragon Hall located at the top floor of Siam Paragon, which is next to Siam BTS Station. At the event there were sales of exclusive figurines found only at the event, re-releases of popular manga, presentations by companies featuring cars designed with their characters, as well as lines of fans purchasing merchandise from the various booths. At the special stage surrounded by around 800 audience members, famous voice actors from Japan hosted talk shows and mini concert performances, and were met with overwhelming cheers from fans.
Toru Furuya was the first in a panel of currently active voice actors in Japan who were invited to host a talk show in front of a full house of 800 audience members.
Canon, the official imaging partner for this event, surrounded the stage with large booths. The booth near the entrance allowed participants to try out the SELPHY CP1200 compact printer. Also, a photography booth was located towards the back of the event venue.
At the photography booth, there were backdrops from popular shows such as “Pokémon”, “Your Name”, as well as “Ultraman Heroes” where participants could engage in exclusive photo-shoots with the cosplayers. It was a line-up that could be enjoyed regardless of age or gender. Photos taken could be printed on the spot using the Canon PIXMA MG series printers. It was a rare opportunity for fans to get high quality prints of their photos free of charge, with many of them enjoying both the photo-shoots as well as printing.
Aside from all that, there were autograph sessions by famous cosplayers from other countries such as China and Taiwan, which saw long queues forming at the booths by eager fans. It was indeed a promising start, as seen by the expressions of excitement and joy on the faces of fans.
At the Canon cosplay photography booth, fans had the opportunity to take photographs with cosplayers, which were printed out in large format on the spot, mounted onto custom-made frames and given to them as a souvenirs. Many were pleasantly surprised at how vivid and beautiful the pictures turned out!
At the SELPHY experience corner, participants were able to select photos that they liked from their personal cameras or smartphones, connect them to the printer via Wi-Fi, and print them on the spot. The patient staff at the booth also assisted participants with the usage of the printers.
Cosplayer photo-sessions taking place both inside and outside the event venue
The annually-held AFA never fails to bring together various characters from all walks of life, and this year’s event is no exception, with many Thai cosplayers gathering at the venue. Both inside and outside the venue, regardless of gender, various cosplayers could be found parading the event grounds in their costumes and enjoying the event. There were even autograph sessions by famous Thai cosplayers, with many other cosplayers forming long queues to get a chance at an autograph. The vast popularity of cosplay in this region can be easily seen through this event.
The overflowing enthusiasm of the participants also spread to the areas outside the event grounds, where many students could be seen putting on make-up and costumes as they slowly transformed into their cosplay characters. Many amateur photographers exchanged tips and pointers, and they were able to enjoy taking pictures at the event.
Photographers directing cosplayers to pose while taking photos. By reviewing the photos and retaking then where necessary, the photographers and cosplayers worked together to achieve masterpieces. Such mini-photo sessions were held all over the venue, inside and outside.
Dressed up participants taking a break and relaxing at the peripheral areas of the event.
We tried to interview a few of the many photographers who were enjoying the instant photo sessions. Here, we will showcase some of their photos of cosplayers, as well as ask them why they love cosplay photography.
“I feel ecstatic when I am able to take a good photo”
EOS 60D/ EF 50mm f/1.8 II/ FL: 50mm (80mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Photo by Por Chan Photography
Por is currently a 4th year university student who dabbles in wedding photography as her part-time job. She says that she prefers photography over cosplay. “It’s ok if you are able to don beautiful costumes for cosplay, but as a photographer you have to be able to bring out the beauty and atmosphere of the cosplayer and his/her surroundings. Photography is harder than cosplay, but I feel really good when I am able to take a nice picture. That is why I am a photographer!”
Por Chan’s equipment of choice: the EOS 60D with the EF50mm f/1.8 II lens. “With this I can create beautiful bokeh in my photos. I had many chances to try taking portraits of people, and I have to say that this lens has the ability to draw out the charm of its subjects.”
“I cannot stop shooting, simply because I enjoy taking photos of various characters!”
EOS 600D/ EF40mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 40mm (64mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto.
Photo by Momo
Introducing cosplay photographer Momo, who managed to select the best spot in the event area with the most beautiful natural lighting for his photoshoots. “This event has many characters gathering at once. From love comedies to fantasy genres, the chance to take pictures of various characters from a variety of shows is a big draw to me. As I shoot while keeping in mind the different scenes and atmospheres, it would be nice if my works could project words as well (laughs).”
Momo with his beloved camera, the EOS 600D. His lenses of choice: The EF85mm f/1.8 USM, EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, the EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, and the EF40mm f/2.8 IS USM, a total of 4 lenses, with each used according to the scene most appropriate. He was more than happy to tell us about his trip to Japan with friends last year, where they photographed cosplayers in shopping districts and near the river.
“I try to bring out the natural charm of my subjects”
EOS 70D/ FL: 30mm (48mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/1.8, 1/80 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Photo by MOS
“I always go to these events because I get to take pictures of cute cosplayers!” MOS says cheekily with a laugh. He feels that having fun and being relaxed is the most important aspects of getting good poses out of the cosplayers. “Taking time to speak to the real person behind cosplayer while shooting puts them at ease and allows them portray their character more naturally.”
MOS with his treasured EOS 70D. For him, a wide angle lens is better for generating a sense of distance from the model.”
“It would be nice to attach LED lights to a 5D Mark IV to shoot someday”
EOS 700D/ EF35mm f/2 IS USM (FL: 56mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/2.2, 1/125 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
Photo by Game
Game, a first year university student, stood out conspicuously with his EOS 700D adorned with LED lights while he was doing photo-shoots. “I came to like LED lights because they are able to produce softer light. It’s different from an external flsh - it’s more convenient to just shoot while watching. You can use it even while shooting video.” When asked if there was there any camera he wanted next, he tells us that if he could, he would love to try using the EOS 5D Mark IV. “I would want to try using my LED lights with the newest camera on the market.”
Game with his beloved EOS 700D. He has had many chances to use his LED lights.
“I just want to do nothing but photograph, without a care in the world”
EOS 1100D/ EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS/ FL: 18mm (29mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/3.5, 1/25 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
Photo by Ai
Ai was found directing his cosplayer friends to pose, all while maintaining a harmonious and fun atmosphere. “I just want to do nothing but shoot, without having to think about anything else. Going out with friends, choosing clothes and makeup, taking the photos and uploading them onto social media. That’s all you need to have fun, isn’t it?” he said enthusiastically. He also works together with friends to do post-shooting retouches, all while engaging in discussion with them.
Ai (right), with his friend Tae (left). The red body of the EOS 1100D really suits him! His favourite lens is the EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. “Just having one lens is very convenient. It is so light, I won’t ever give it up!”, he says.
Aiming to capture the pose that brings out the best in that person
EOS 60D/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2, 1/100 sec) ISO 320/ WB: Auto
Photo by M @THIS TIME
M is a camera assistant with a Thai cosplay magazine company. “Each cosplayer has poses and actions that can best bring out the charm of the character they are portraying. I want to capture that moment,” he says. As he has many acquaintances from his workplace at the event, he calls them out to cooperate with them for shoots, all while having fun together. That is what draws him to this event.
M’s camera of choice is the EOS 60D. While he is in the midst of acquiring the EOS 5D Mark II, he says that he is hoping to get more lenses in the near future.
“Adjusting the feeling of each shot while shooting, that’s how you get good photos”
EOS 7D/ EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Photo by Noon
Noon is a current university student and aspiring industrial engineer. Growing up to like both anime and photography, it was only natural that he started cosplay photography. “In order to do cosplay well and turn into your character, I don’t think it requires a whole lot of money. While taking photos, I like to insert feeling into the pictures. That is, in my opinion, how you can connect with good photo.” Noon considers communication to be a very important aspect when shooting.
The impressive looking Noon, clad in a black jacket and hat. He likes to use the EOS 7D with the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens.
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A photographer living in Bangkok, enrolled in NIPPON CREATE Ltd. Part. After living in various cities around the world such as South Africa and Nepal while creating new works, she moved to Bangkok and settled down there. She is actively involved in a wide range of activities in the South East Asia region, such as advertising, magazines, as well as movie filming. Her camera of choice is the EOS 6D, and she prefers lightweight cameras as she usually carries dual bodies while walking around on the streets to shoot.