We’ve certainly grown accustomed to seeing people in cosplay at various anime and game-themed events in Japan. Cosplayers have been known to go to great lengths to get their costumes and make-up just right, not to mention the care and planning that goes into taking truly awesome looking cosplay pictures.
But of course, cosplay isn’t just limited to Japan. A series of photos taken by Russian photographer Mariya Kozhanova has recently been introduced on the Japanese Internet, giving us a stunning glimpse into the world of cosplayers in Russia.
Mariya Kozhanova, a young photographer in her late 20s, is from Kaliningrad, Russia, a sea port city located on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania. One of her current photo series, titled “Declared Detachment”, is a project she has been working on since 2012 and features young Russian cosplayers as subjects. What makes the series particularly interesting is that these pictures mainly show the cosplayers in their everyday lives, instead of simply being photos for cosplay’s sake.
▼ This stunning picture of girls outfitted and posing as Sailor Moon soldiers looks more like a typical cosplay photo …
▼ … but many of her other pictures show Russian cosplayers in more everyday settings.
▼ While the costumes may be elaborate in many of these photos, they still show the subjects at ease in comfortable, familiar surroundings.
▼ We couldn’t get over how gorgeous this wing contraption looked!
▼ Isn’t it great that you don’t even have to be human when you’re in cosplay?
▼ Yes, if only we could all grow such beautiful wings!
Kozhanova explains on her website that for a generation of Russians who grew up in a time of great upheaval and change in the country, beliefs and concepts of identity that previously existed were taken away or deconstructed. That left a social void out of which the younger generation had to create their own identity, and in doing so, some of them apparently turned to the culture of cosplay.
Yes, the world of cosplay is bright and eye-catching on the surface and allows you to turn yourself into anything you want to be. But at the same time, Kozhanova also seems to ask through her pictures whether cosplay really is something solid on which these cosplayers can build their lives, or whether it is, in the end, all an illusion. What do you think?
You can see more of Kozhanova’s work here on her website.