SMCinterview: Behind the Lens with AotC


SMC’s series “Behind the Lens” where we interview some of your favorite cosplay photographers is back again for another run.  Our latest entry in “Season 2” features another amazing photographer AoTC.

Name: Mayhem
Location: San Jose, CA
Links: | Web | Twitch | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

SMC: What interested you in photography?
AotC: The thing that interests me in photography is that I’m always learning something new, from a new lighting technique to cool things to do in Photoshop.  Also, it actually breaks me out of my comfort zone of just keeping to myself, since I’m a little socially awkward in I never really have much to talk about.

SMC: What interested you in photographing cosplayers?
I love photographing cosplayers, since they are truly amazing people.  They look at a 2D drawing or model and figure out how to make it functional.  They are also coming with with such interesting combinations or their own take on a classic. 

Cosplayers are filled with passion and creativity.  The way I think a convention is a success is when I come home just refilled with creative juice just hanging out with these passionate people.  It drives my creativity and I try to pay it back by producing the types of photos I do.

SMC: Do you have a preference shooting between studios, outside or conventions?
I shoot a lot at conventions, since there’s not a ton of cosplayers super close to me and able to shoot in a studio.  I do like doing studio and location shooting when the idea and concept call for it.  

With those, you have more control over the overall theme and backgrounds you’re shooting.  If you’re at a convention, you are generally trying to find a decent background that doesn’t have a ton of people walking into it.  

You can find ok backgrounds at a convention, but this will cause most of your shots to looks similar.  This is where you get creative in how you edit in Photoshop.  

Also, with convention space, you have to think on your feet to find a good location.  This is great for keeping you on your toes and coming up with something on the fly.

SMC: Any upcoming cosplay events you will be shooting (2016/17 Schedule)?AotC: Currently, I’m planning on DragonCon and Long Beach Comic Con.  Besides that, I’m looking into Comikaze and Blizzcon.  I would like to return to New York Comic Con, but that might not be in the cards this year for me.  

I usually frequent Katsucon, Wondercon and AX as the mandatory ones each year.  

SMC: What photographers inspire you?
There’s a ton of great photographers out there.  I find inspiration in a few different photographers.  I love Mike Saffels for his work in dark and moody types of photography.  Martin Wong for all of his colorful imagery.   Francous for his work in natural light and little to no post processing work.  

That would be it for the photographers that work within the cosplay arena.  There’s a few within the fashion and other arenas that also drive my inspiration.  Renee Robyn out of Canada, as she is an amazing digital artist who does truly awesome composites.  

Then you have Adrian Sommerling.  This guy is a photo realistic compositor, who’s work looks so real it’s surreal.  Then you have Von Wong for his underwater work and such.

When talking about photographers who inspire me, I can’t forget JustCoz photography.  This guy is a good friend of mine and has only been shooting for about a year.  When together we are almost always shooting together.  We also talk regularly and bounce ideas off each other.  When you have a different perspective on a photo it helps you learn or in turn helps the other person learn as well.  

SMC: Any favorite cosplayers you have liked working with in the past?
I tend to work with a lot of the same cosplayers over and over again.  Some of the people who I’ve always found time for are the following:

Feoranna Cosplay:  She was one of the first people I shot with and has an awesome attitude.  We’ve almost perfected the art of the quick shoot, where we’ve got 10+ keeper photos within just a few minutes all with a different look.

Eskj Shoes and Art:  She’s is just purely an amazing artist, who’s just pure talent.  Have you seen her BB-8?

Alexandria the Geek and Americo:  This couple are just great people who have stolen my heart.

Then you have Lost Symbiote and Rosie Gaga.  This couple was part of my very first cosplay photo shoots 3 years ago.  I don’t get to shoot with them often, but I’m always happy when I do.

There’s so many that I love working with, I’m just going to name them:  Raven Roth, Angi Viper, Aphelion Cosplay, Doom and Gloom Princess, Dara Def, Sinfonie Cosplay.  I’m sure there’s some I missed, but not on purpose.  

SMC: Any cosplayers you hope to work with in the near future?
Even though I’ve known Becka Noel for the past year, I can’t say I’ve ever really shot with her.  I’m sure one day we’ll get together and get a shoot together, probably at a Katsucon.  

I don’t go searching out cosplayers to shoot with, since eventually if it is meant to be, a shoot will happen.  

SMC: Any cosplay shots you’re best known for?
I couldn’t really say that I’m best known for any one shot in particular.  I’m still very new at doing creative shoots, since I’ve only been doing this for the past year or so.  

For the longest time, I just did simple color corrections and hall shoots.  I might be know more for my journalistic work with iCosplay Magazine, than I am for artistic stuff.  

I’ve included some of my favorite photos that I think represent my varying styles and shots.  Within the past year, there’s so many that I’ve liked and shared.  

A lot of people liked my shot of Maid of Might Cosplay’s Rapunzel Mando.  But, I couldn’t say if it was a shot I’m known for.  I’m just a newb having fun with amazing people.  

SMC: Do you have a geeky side? What’s your favorite way to pass the time? (Comic books, video games, movies, anime, etc…)
I do have a geeky side.  I’ve always been into comics and movies, but since photography came into my life, I’ve kinda put all of that off to the side to edit photos.  

Lately, I’ve been making more time to play Overwatch.  I try to play almost every day, but sometimes my schedule will not allow it.  🙁

If I watch anime, I tend to go for things like Dragonball, Akira, Ninja Scroll, Robotech or Samurai Champloo.  Besides that, there’s not been too many animes that have captured my attention when competing with photography.

SMC: Any upcoming / ongoing cosplay related projects?
I can’t say that I have any upcoming projects in cosplay, since just haven’t found a good concept personally and no one has come to me with one either.  

Interested in having your cosplay featured on Contact us.