The year of 2020 has brought an abnormal reality to fandom culture. While esports and gaming conferences got canceled as the pandemic progressed, they were not the only events to suffer from the current conditions: pop culture and anime conventions also saw themselves readjusting to the new norm.
Recently announced, Anime Expo had decided to sit out the year of 2020, ensuring the safety of its attendees, while still allowing them to enjoy an online version of the event, featuring panels and special guests. With the online format, a key part of the convention scene sits out, and that’s right, we mean the cosplayers.
Veteran cosplay Photographer Gil Riego Jr. has brought a sense of normalcy to the cosplay community’s social media feeds by doing the usual convention photography with a twist. “After big events, you usually see tons of photos of cosplayers going up on social media. I know the world is in a horrible state right now, but there is nothing wrong thinking how you would have enjoyed an event”, says Gil.
This project allowed him to make use of the new equipment purchased to upgrade his work in the year of 2020. Putting his investment to good use, Gil decided to take an extra step and purchase anime figurines and statues, so he could recreate the shots he normally does on the convention floor with proper social distancing and safety.
The convention background was taken by the photographer himself, who went on location to scout the most iconic Anime Expo backgrounds.
“To be honest, I did this on a whim. I have not dipped into this type of photography that deep over the years. Before, I have done shoots of small still items, but never really brought them together with locations I’ve been to through digital composition”, says the photographer.
In hopes this project will not cause “FOMO”, or the “fear of missing out”, he believes a lot of the convention-goers will remember the good times they had in past conventions when looking at this series of photos.
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