Martin Wong’s Call to Action
Model: Danielle Beaulieu Taken at BlizzCon 2014
First of all, I would like to thank all the cosplayers, fans, photographers, videographers, and other content creators for the years of support. Not only you are helping and encouraging me to explore by passion in photography, you are also supporting this community to strive forward.
This community has grew very fast in the last few years and we are very proud to be part of it. We saw how cosplay has developed and expanded in many ways and the idea of greatness is being challenged everyday by even greater cosplay results. Cosplayers are also reinventing themselves constantly by creating original character designs and costuming patterns. Of course, in many ways cosplay photography has improved drastically as well. We have seen a drastic advancement in the community from photographers using disposable cameras a decade ago to now using their own professional DSLR cameras. And I’m sure I speak for most cosplay photographers when I say I love working closely with all the other dedicated cosplayers in the community. Over the years we have produced many great photographs, some have become so iconic they are symbolically linked to the word “cosplay”. Just like the introduction of new cosplay materials, photographers have brought in many new techniques and experimental methods to bring characters to life, capturing a reality that only used to exist in a 2D world.
Although, cosplay photographers enjoy the popularization of cosplay photography, we are also facing many challenges as content creators. We are currently seeing a trend that not only discourage us from producing more cosplay photography but also intimidates other photographers from joining the community. Our concern is the misuse of our photography that endangers our creative freedom and artistic rights. Much like cosplayers getting their designs and patterns stolen, or being used without their consent, photographers have been facing this issues for years. We are tired of seeing others reaping the recognition of our creations and being unable to proudly claim our work. There is a growing number of misuse of our photography, mainly by aggregator accounts and websites. Often times we see people that are stealing our photos and are using them to falsely promote their own accounts/websites or products. Not only does this not help promote our work, but it actually hurts our names, the cosplayer’s names, as well as presenting the cosplaying community in a negative light. I’m sure we have all seen many accounts with the similar names like “Hot Sexy Cosplayers” or “Geek Gamer Hotties” that steal photos to promote their own agendas. They are cropping out photographers’ watermarks, sometimes adding their own, using inappropriate hashtags, all while asking for shares. Even accounts that claim to post our images with attributions (“credits”), they have little to no effect on the photographer’s growth. It is highly likely that third party companies will approach these accounts with high followings to sell and promote their products, or even purchase these accounts for themselves.
This is why I urge this community to work together in order to promote better content creation practices. Photographers should feel that they are safe to create their art without fear of having their photography stolen and misused. We shouldn’t be afraid to call out aggregators using our photos for their own personal gain. In fact, we should be proud to protect our own work. We should let everyone know that our photos are #NotJustPixels, but rather artistic creations that we have worked hard on. I would like to see more people speak up and actively report accounts that are stealing photo s. We want to have a community that respects our fellow artists, so they can proudly continue to generate more content. When cosplayers and individuals support the community photographers, we are promoting a culture for strong collaborative works.
Best course of action:
1. If you see some photos are being misused by some aggregator accounts, instantly report them using tools provided from the social media sites. (I will include some at the end)
2. If you are a cosplayer, and unsure how to report, immediately contact the photographer.
3. If you are a supporter of the community, also contact the photographer so they can report them as soon as possible.
So here I am, asking all of you: Please make a post on your own social media outlets, letting the world know that your photos are #NotJustPixels, they are your creations, and we do not want others to steal our work. It’s time that we put a stop to this and not allow others to steal our work to promote themselves. Not only working with photographers to report these thieves is the right thing to do, but it is also your contribution to help foster a stronger community. With so much misconception of the cosplay community from the outside world, we are responsible to help shape an identity that truly represents us.
Instagram Copyright Infringement Report Form:
Facebook Report Form:
Twitter copyright infringement report form:
YouTube Copyright Takedown: