Rendezvous with Subversive Photography

DragonCon 2014: It was 3:00 am Sunday morning, and I was still wearing the “Abbey” costume from an event hours earlier.  Making my way back to my room across the (much less crowded than usual) lobby of the Hyatt, a gentleman with a camera politely approached and asked for permission to take a few photographs.  It’s always a kindness (and a compliment) when someone asks, so I stopped and joined him for a few photos. He took his time setting up the angles and finding just the right perspectives. And I watched him work. He thanked me for my time and I thanked him for his interest and the kind attention. I hoped that after the event, we might reconnect so I could see the resulting images – but with an event as chaotic as DragonCon, you just never know.

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass "Abbey' photographed by Subversively.com

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass “Abbey’ photographed by Subversively.com

His name was Lievan Leroy of San Francisco-based Subversively.com and his image of “Abbey” DID pop up later that month. And it kind of exploded on social media. I saw Lievan’s image begin trending on Tumblr. And when my CostumeArt Facebook Page suddenly acquired a thousand followers overnight, I tracked that growth back to Lievan’s lobby photo of Abbey, which had been picked up (thanks to Galacticat) and shared by the Replica Props Forum Facebook page. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I think that both the photographer and I were surprised that our impromptu collaboration in the wee hours of DragonCon would find so many eyeballs. What a great compliment!

DragonCon 2015: I got a message from Lievan asking if I would like to meet up at DragonCon for another photo opportunity. I had a new costume project with me, and while it was not complete, I was very excited to see what Lievan would do with it.

After some text tagging and missed connections, we finally met again in the drive-thru at the Marriott Marquis. Crowded with people and cars, the odds of finding any spot with solitude was unlikely. So we opted to back up against the fountain and try our luck.  Even with the odd lighting and distracting environment, Lievan turned all of his attention to crafting images of “Merry McQueen”, an original CostumeArt project inspired by the work of Alexander McQueen.

When I got to see the images from this DragonCon shoot and I’m simply AMAZED at his ability to create the impression that we were isolated while making these photos.  With his lighting and perspectives, he’s crafted images that almost evoke a sense of desolation.  In truth, there were tipsy cosplayers and loud crowds just a few feet away from us, cars and vans were cycling behind Lievan as he worked, and the lip of the fountain was just inches behind my heels. He created an eye in the storm and produced these lovely photographs amid the madness!

Thank you Lievan Leroy of  Subversively.com for sharing your talents with me again. You, Sir, are made of magic. (We have to keep meeting like this!)

Paige Gardner Costume Merry McQueen Steampunk Subversively Photography DragonCon 4

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

"Merry McQueen" photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Paige Gardner Costume Merry McQueen Steampunk Subversively Photography DragonCon 3

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Abbey at Sloss Furnace with Dim Horizon Studios (More!)

From Abbey’s first photo shoot with Dim Horizon Studio, this is the second set of images from an exciting afternoon at Sloss Furnaces Historical Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama.

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner —  Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

 

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 17

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 18

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 21

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 20

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 19

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 30

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 29

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 28

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 31

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 33

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 32

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 22 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 23 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 24 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 25 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 26 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 27

Abbey at Sloss Furnace: Photoshoot with Dim Horizon Studios

I’ve often say that any costume project of mine isn’t really complete until the folks at Dim Horizon Studios turn their lens toward it. It’s a true thing.

I’m always excited by their interest in these costume projects, thrilled with their keen eye for outstanding settings and – after years of working with them – deeply grateful for the close personal friendship that emerged from our mutual professional interests.  I’m especially glad when they have client bookings in my city – because these occasions bring us together for gaming, goofing off, good times…  and sometimes a photoshoot!

These are the first official images of the Stained Glass “Abbey” project as captured and crafted by Dim Horizon Studio at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. (this is the first half of the images from the shoot – the second set will follow in the next post.)

And the costume is now complete. 😀

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 8

 

 

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 4

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

 

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 2

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 5

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 6

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 7

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 8

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 9

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 11

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 12

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 13

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 14

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 15

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 10

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner  Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 3

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

For more images, events and WIP costume updates, find me at CostumeArt on Facebook and @CostumeArt on Twitter. I’d love to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stained Glass “Abbey”: Photoshoot with COTC Photography

I had the extreme good fortune to meet photographer John Spectre while I was at at Gaslight Fantasia in South Carolina.  He was attending the event and capturing photos of some of the participants.  I was flattered when he expressed interest in photographing the Abbey costume there at the hotel. We found a cool mosaic alcove at the host hotel and John took the needed time to set up some really cool shots. Here’s some of the images from that day.

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got the chance to meet again at AnachroCon some months later where he brought a ring flash and more cool camera equipment along.  These “dark” images of Abbey  (below) reveal SO MUCH more of the costume’s detail!  John’s crafting of these images just leaves me floored.

John has since gone on to craft some of the most amazing cosplay photography I’ve seen in a while through his COTC Photography venture. I’m just one of his grateful photography subjects – his portfolio is exploding!  If you’d like to see more, you can find John’s photography through his Facebook page, COTC Photography.  Recommended viewing!

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Keep up with CostumeArtist appearances and more WIP projects through CostumeArt on Facebook and @CostumeArt on Twitter. I’d love to see you there!

The Stained Glass Costume Project: “Abbey” at DragonCon

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Starting with a stack of thrift store coloring books, the “Abbey” costume project is easily the most labor-intensive and difficult task I’ve taken on.  So much…coloring. Seriously, I colored like manic five-year-old for weeks. Now, just the sight of a child’s crayon-ready placemat at Denny’s gives me the shivers.

Inspired by the outsized world of Warhammer 40K Adeptus Ministorum and influenced by Art Nouveau style, this costume evolved with my traditional tool kit of thrift store elements, no-sew shortcuts… tiny investement but lots of persistence.  It’s worth noting that I actually measured some things for this project (with a real measuring tape), which I consider a significant leap forward on my “things I can do” list. I’ll be posting the build background on the “Abbey” project pretty soon.

Abbey stepped out for the first time at DragonCon in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend.  And I had a fantastic time with this costume!  Convention-goers, friends and photographers were very kind – and happily, there’s a pretty good photo record from the event of her progress. The following images are Convention photos taken at DragonCon and I’m especially grateful to the photographers credited here (pros and amateurs alike!). Thank you to everyone who took a minute talk with me and help preserve the memories!

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

 

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography  by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Trollocs Nominated for Cosplay at 2014 Geekie Awards

2014Nominee-CosplayThe Trollocs are coming!

Well… not really.

None of the Trollocs can afford the airfare to Hollywood for the 2014 Geekie Awards show…BUT we will be there in spirit!

Our Trolloc costume group has been nominated in the Cosplay category for the 2014 Geekie Awards – and we’re over the moon! Not just for the compliment to our various contribution to the project, but also for the recognition for our beloved book series, “The Wheel of Time”, by the late Robert Jordan.

Paul, Kelcey, Chip and I, are die-hard fans of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” fantasy series. And as we got to know each other at the definitive Jordan fan-gathering JordanCon…our plans for a Trolloc cosplay group came together.  We were all armed with VERY different skill sets for costuming but thankfully the varied nature of the beastly Trollocs allowed us to craft our own looks and still end up a cohesive group cosplay.

TROLLOC FistWe were of like minds when it came to crafting the human-animal hybrid Trollocs. And likewise, our little brain-trust agreed that Trollocs should make a grand entrance at the next JordanCon.

When we arrived at JordanCon, we hid our costumes until the day of the costume contest. Once we got all the boots on, prosthetics applied, fur combed, beaks polished and mismatched armor in place – we grabbed our weapons, sneaked down a hotel hallway and stuffed our beastly bunch into an elevator bound for the crowded lobby.

When the elevator doors opened, we burst out shouting, lunging, and waving our weapons. We began stomping and running loudly and long through the heart of the Con.  It was possibly one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve enjoyed in cosplay – before or since.  This play wouldn’t have worked anywhere else except this one day, this one moment when our fellow fans of the series were gathered in one place.  They knew what we were and everyone celebrated that crazy moment with us.  (Everyone except the poor mother-of-the-bride who had the bad luck to choose that day at that hotel for her daughter’s wedding reception. I thought she was going to faint. NOTE: The wedding party joined us later that night for some mad dancing at the huge JordanCon party. All forgiven.)

Anyway, this blog entry isn’t really about the costuming process or the builds we undertook.  I think it’s more about the fact that we had our moment in the sun, that day at JordanCon. We achieved our goal then, when as a unified and terrifying force we stormed the very lobby (and later the bar) where our kindred spirits (victims) awaited.

As for the Geekie Awards…that’s some legit stuff.  It really IS an honor to be nominated. We’re up against astonishing and talented competition.  We’ve tagged some friends in L.A. who are going to the award show in Hollywood and empowered them to accept for us on the off-chance that we win the category.  And while Paul, Kelcey, Chip and I can’t make the trip to the show, hopefully we can live-stream it and catch the geek awesome on the red carpet. R U Geekie?  We are!

Paul of Aradani Studios and Paige of CostumeArt | Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Paul of Aradani Studios and Paige of CostumeArt | Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

BUILD: The “Siri” Mohawk Headpiece

The Mohawk Headpiece for the 'Siri' costume was a huge learning curve. While happy with the result, the journey was fraught with errors that demanded serious improvisation.

The Mohawk Headpiece for the ‘Siri’ costume was a huge learning curve. While happy with the result, the journey was fraught with errors that demanded serious improvisation.

I learned SO MUCH from my mistakes during the “Siri” build.  It was an ambitious project and my lack of crafting skills and aversion to measurement REALLY made themselves known along the way. But…I also discovered that improvisation, desperation and flexibility of vision can fill in many of those gaps.

These progress pics for the Siri costume’s headpiece really emphasize my lack of real crafting skills. Hopefully, they also highlight how flaws and mistakes can be hidden along the way; being willing to change and alter your design mid-stream is vital when you’re a mistake-maker like me.  There’s a LOT of re-purposing going on in this costume, many learn-as-you-go mistakes, and some poor planning errors, too.  Just the same, I’m happy with the end result.

Since no one is probably interested in duplicating this costume, rather than presenting it as a “how to”, the following images are intended to illustrate what kind of materials can be used for a project like this.  They may also illustrate a fair number of “what NOT to dos”.

All thumbs,

Paige

The phone/light cords were the perfect disguise to hide my measurement mistakes and provide support for the mohawk quills. AND it fit into the whole theme - so disaster averted!

The phone/light cords were the perfect disguise to hide my measurement mistakes and provide support for the mohawk quills. AND it fit into the whole theme – so disaster averted!