November 2014 Featured Photographer: Photographer Eva

This month’s featured photographer, Eva, hails from Ukraine. We fell in love with her whimsically posed portraits and creative photomanipulations that really insert her cosplayers into the characters’ world. Here, Eva tells us a little about photography in Ukraine and beyond and how she got into photography.

Cosplay Photographers: Hi Eva! We love your photography and it’s a pleasure to interview you. Can you give a little background about yourself?

Eva: I prefer to say that my homeland is Ukraine, even though I was born in the Czech Republic. My parents came to Ukraine while I was a little child, so I grew up here. I have lived in Kiev most of my life. For me this is my home.

Cosplay Photographers: How did you begin your journey to photography?

Eva: When I was a little child, I liked to draw a lot. It was quite normal because I was born in a family of artists. When I grew up, I realized that it was impossible for me to make some revolution in art, but I continued to create art. Anyway, I like it! I become photographer a bit later. My family wasn’t rich, so my first camera was an old ZENIT of my grandfather’s.

Cosplay Photogaphers: That’s not unusual! I know many photographers also work in different types of art. When did you start doing photography in earnest?

Eva: Firstly, I worked in magazines, editorials, etc. After few years of work it became possible for me to buy my first camera. In one of the magazines, my director realized that I liked photography a lot and proposed me to work as a photographer.

Cosplay Photographers: Is that when you started photographing cosplay?

Eva: My photography story began from cosplay. Me and my friends were the first persons who started to do cosplay in Ukraine – it was in 1999. But here there weren’t any good photographers, so later I decided to take care of this problem. So it all began like this. So fistly I began to make cosplays and then it leaded me to photography.

Cosplay Photographers: Do you still do photography for magazines now, and do you think it’s different from cosplay photography?

Eva: Earlier, few years ago, I worked for magazines, making photos of models and sometimes working for catalogs. Yes, I can say that it is strictly other way of photography – fashion, beauty and cosplay are really different in work and edition. For me making cosplay photos is much more interesting, but I realize that it is also quite difficult – I can do this with pleasure only cause of long practice.

Cosplay Photographers: What camera and gear do you use now? I’m sure the technology has improved since your grandfather’s Zenit!

Eva: I take photos on a Canon 6D and on Canon 40D. I prefer to use Canon 24-70mm, Canon 50mm and Canon 10-22mm. Also I have in my little collection 3 flashes (Canon 430), umbrellas, etc.

Cosplay Photographers: How do you get inspiration for your shoots?

Eva: Before the shooting I’m trying to inspirate by the fandom which I gonna shoot –I look for arts, AMV, some series etc. I’m connecting to the model trying to realize what idea she wants to make and proposing to model some ideas. Sometimes I insist on realizing my ideas, but the best variant is when we can find a joint decision. I accent the location of photoshoot with attention to the color and light scheme. It’s quite normal for me to postpone a photoshoot when the weather doesn’t suit for us.

Cosplay Photographers: Can you tell us a little about conventions and cosplay in Ukraine?

Eva: Well… Now conventions in Ukraine are on an amateur level. They are little and happen only because of enthusiastic persons, but the nowadays the level is quite low in comparing with international events. There is no sponsors and no big quantity of fans, so it’s a little community. But I hope that one day we gonna grow up – Ukraine is quite big country with lot of possibilities.

Cosplay Photographers: These days, do you still shoot only in Ukraine, or do you travel as well?

Eva: Usually I’m going to conventions to Ukraine and Russia. One time, thanks to my friend, I came to Paris for Japan Expo in 2012. I’d like to go to European conventions, but because living in Ukraine it’s quite expensive, so now I have no possibility to do this.

Cosplay Photographers: I hope you get to travel; it would be amazing to see your photography in other locations around Europe. Do you take a lot of photos at conventions, or do you prefer to set up on your own time?

Eva: At conventions I’m trying to do good photos, but anyway, I like to work while I am calm. I need to concentrate on the model and location details. It’s hard to realise all of this at a convention, so usually I do private shoots after the convention.

Cosplay Photographers: It sounds like you have a bit of a busy schedule.

Eva: When I’m working in Kiev, I don’t have a regular schedule. Here I have a bit more of free time, so it’s possible to do spontaneous photoshoots. But when I’m going to Moscow or another city, I usually make a schedule with the help of my friends. No time for rest – there I can have three or four photoshoots per day!

Cosplay Photographer: You must shoot with a lot of cosplayers! Tell us some of your favorite cosplayers to work with.

Eva: I like a lot my models who support all my crazy ideas and help me to realize them! Thanks to you, my dears! Some models who I work with are Bellatrix Aiden, Megami Shiawase, Grellka-Loli, Fenix.Fatalist, Yuyami, and Clodia Romero. Also I’ve begun to work now with Russian cosplayers, and I like many of them! Some of them are Tink, Mari Evans and other beautiful persons!

Cosplay Photographers: Thanks to all your wonderful cosplayers and models! Are there any shows or series that you’re always really excited to shoot?

Eva: Well, this is a really difficult question. I really like all my works! But for nowdays it possibly might be my photoshoots for the fandom of League of Legends, Frozen, and Tinker Bell.

Cosplay Photographers: Do you still draw?

Eva: Unfortunately, I have no time to draw – all time I spend on making photoshoots and editing photos! Sometimes I draw pictures preparing to the photoshoot for good realization of idea.

Cosplay Photographers: So for you, are photography and drawing connected?

Eva:  I think that photography and drawing are connected – this is art in two forms, so that is natural.

Cosplay Photographers: Thanks so much for your time. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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Ger is a Boston-based cosplay and event photographer. She's been cosplaying since 2007 and took up cosplay photography in 2010 to give back to the community that's given so much to her. She's currently traveling the country interviewing and photographing cosplayers for her upcoming book about the culture of cosplay in the USA, "Breaking All The Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self-Expression."

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