With Animania only a week away Valent Lau Photography met up with Sydney cosplayer Ardella Cosplay for a Sydney Portrait Photography session and to chat about all things cosplay for an upcoming article in The ONE Magazine. If you’ve been to Animania, SMASH!, or Supanova in the past couple of years, chances are you have seen and been awed by one of Ardella’s many costumes! I am truly honored to be able to shoot her for this series.
We settled for some Sydney Olympic Park photography in Inner West Sydney for its wide range of photography locations and its close proximity to Homebush and Strathfield for sustenance! So close to the city and yet totally immersed in nature.
Here is our first Sydney portrait session with the amazing Ardella as Sleeping Beauty’s Princess Aurora, in the first of a three part series. We went to Bicentennial park to find a section of the hills which could look like somewhere deep in the woods, as per Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the woods. We were lucky to find just the right place for it.
How did you get into cosplay? What attracted you to it?
- I guess I’ve always been very into dressing up, ever since I was very young. I grew up in a family full of younger brothers so I wasn’t always a princess – sometimes I was a Power Ranger with them or a ninja or a pirate. I loved the idea of being able to just slip into a whole new character with a whole new life. As I grew up, I never really lost that love, but it became harder and harder to find reasons to dress up. That’s when I attended a pop culture convention for the first time and realised that there was a whole hobby and subculture dedicated to doing exactly what I loved. From that point on, I don’t think I’ve ever attended a convention without being in cosplay!
How do you choose which characters to cosplay?
- I choose characters that I connect with in some way, characters that I see an element of myself in. It’s important to me that I’m familiar with the characters I’m portraying, and for that reason I don’t tend to cosplay many Anime or Manga characters. I do enjoy Anime and Manga, but I’m not exposed to these nearly as much as Western comics, movies and video games.
Do you have a favorite cosplay?
- My favourite cosplay is really hard to pin point! I love them all for different reasons. Probably the two that I’ve enjoyed most so far have been Jessica Rabbit and Power Girl. Jessica Rabbit because she’s very sultry and feminine, which is something I don’t always get to be, and Power Girl because she’s such a sassy, strong and witty character.
Do you make your own costumes?
- I make almost all my costumes myself. When I first started out, I bought many elements of my costumes – gloves, belts, scarves, shoes, whatever I needed really. But as I’ve practiced and learned more, the amount of elements I produce myself has grown to the point where I’ve started drafting my own sewing patterns for costume pieces.
What was your most complex costume and how long did it take you to make it?
- Probably the most complex costume I’ve created to this day is Giselle’s gigantic wedding down from Disney’s Enchanted. It took about 6 months of work to create, and just a year after I finished it I decided I wasn’t happy with it and tore it apart! I plan to create it again, using the skills I’ve learned, and make it bigger and better than before.
Do you go for accuracy in a costume or do you like to add your own interpretation or twist?
- I like to go for accuracy where possible but unfortunately we can’t all have cartoon waistlines! I also sometimes change things up to suit me a little better. For example, I don’t suit platinum blonde hair at all, so I might try a slightly different hair color that suits my skin tone while still being as close to the character as possible.
Much much more to come…
Some of these photos were published in an article in The ONE Magazine, October 2012 Issue. The ONE is a Chinese & Japanese bilingual magazine with distribution in Sydney and Melbourne.