“Imagination is the beginning of creation.”
Cosplay king Shunsuke is a man of many talents. He is a cosplayer, model, craftsman, artist, entrepreneur, and influencer.
But perhaps most uniquely, Shun is also a self-taught professional cosplay photographer — the one and same person in front and behind the camera.
Cosplay photography expertise is something that many cosplayers seek out. After all, they put many hours into making their costumes, armor, and weapons, all while perfecting their makeup, and high-quality photographs are the best way to showcase their work to the world.
They usually tag and credit the talented photographers behind their photoshoots, but Shunsuke never needs to. He happened to develop these two complementary skills when he was much younger, and had in fact picked up photography before cosplay even came into the picture, he told ONE Esports in an exclusive interview.
How Shunsuke got into photography in the first place
Shunsuke picked up photography when he was very young, at a mere 11 years old. While he can’t exactly recall what sparked his interest, he does remember practicing taking photographs of his friends and his sister using a “really old, small screen, tiny camera.”
At around 13 or 14 years old, he got his hands on a reflex camera, a Canon EOS 600D, the cheapest semi-professional camera he could find at that time.
Only when he turned 15 did he start cosplaying with his childhood friend as a way for them to bond. Coming from a small village in Switzerland, no one had even heard of the term “cosplay” before, so out of necessity, he took their cosplay photos.
“When I was younger and I had just started cosplaying, I had so much motivation, so I was creating a lot,” Shunsuke explained to ONE Esports. “It came in handy that I could take my own photos rather than planning it out with someone else.”
This year, he started asking for the occasional help from fellow Tier One cosplayer Knite while they were in London, but a large portion of his work is still self-taken.
“In the end I always end up taking my own photos because that’s the way I’m most comfortable,” he said.
How Shunsuke’s positive attitude helped him master cosplay photography
“I think my cosplay becomes more recognizable because of my photography style,” shared Shun, who had taught himself everything he knows about photography.
He also believes that his brand is further accentuated by “accurate but still very realistic” cosplays, as he puts in effort transforming these characters from 2D to 3D. All his wigs, for example, are made from human hair and are not synthetic.
Shunsuke is particularly proud of his Giorno Giovanna cosplay from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which highlights his distinct cosplay and photography style. “The overall shape is really accurate, the hair color, the fabrics have all the details, which look more realistic and not so cartoonish,” he said.
Inspired by nude sculptures in classical art, he also paid particular attention to the lighting in this photoshoot, which bears similarities to his Renaissance-themed shoot, his second most favorite set.
Despite achieving such high standards in cosplay and photography, Shunsuke believes that there’s always more to learn. He can see how much he’s improved, just looking at photographs that were taken three to four years ago.
“I can always still improve, and I try to. The way I was editing my skin was terrible, and I really learned how to make it more natural,” he shared. “I improved and kept things professional and polished.”
Still, the self-made journey of a professional cosplayer and photographer isn’t always smooth-sailing, despite his achievements. Even though the countless photoshoots over the years have certainly helped him level up his craft, it’s also challenging “to try to be creative and do something different each time.”
“Trying to find new and interesting lighting, angles, and poses, trying not to replicate what I can already do and get out of my comfort zone… my skill in terms of lighting and photography, in general, I’m very satisfied with. The technique that I struggle with is more on the creative side of things,” he said.
Follow Shunsuke on Twitter (@Shunsukecos) and Instagram (@shuncoser) to support his work.
READ MORE: Exclusive: Even after a decade in the industry, Knite still lives by these cosplay ideals