Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Interview with AndyG, Cosplay Photographer and Anime Fan.

Japanreviewer: With the recent release of the Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie, video games have again a new lease of life with anime. What did you think of the movie as a whole, and how it portrayed familiar characters?

I enjoyed the movie; it was a fresh lick of paint and something I personally had been waiting to see for some time.  I mean, look at the intros to all those Tekken games, even back to the classic Playstation 1 Tekken 2 Intro, which I can still hear in my head now, iconic stuff *runs to YouTube and fires it up*.  It was a given that sooner or later they would refine and put to use the mesh models to make a movie or some kind of feature.  I hope they make more!  The story was engaging and it portrayed the characters exactly as I expected; it's good they didn't change anything from what people remember, I that’s very important, and it's something that goes on in today’s movie industry... people taking liberties with the material.  Why change something that's already good enough.

Japanreviewer: You are an anime, manga and gaming enthusiast and you have a unique car. Could you tell me more about it?

 The car... oh chicks SO dig the car.  The day I bought it I was handed 2 phone numbers, one in a filling station halfway up the M1, and the other in a McDonalds *laughs*, it's a proper pulling magnet !.  From the outside, the Toyota Sera looks a proper beast, it's a sleek Japanese sports coupe' with all round glass, even the roof, long before panoramic windows came along.  It was Japans answer I guess to the DeLorean from Back to the Future; so the doors go up n' everything, which is coolness incarnate... everyone loves the doors.  Why they aren't more popular is a mystery, but I like that because it keeps them relatively rare.  Toyota made them back in 1990, limited run of just less than 20'000, essentially a 1.5 under the hood so nothing amazing there, but the exterior styling is priceless.  Mine has Banksy decals on it, mainly because nobody else has done that yet.  As to why I bought it, well, when do you ever hear people talking about Vauxhall Vectra's being "Cool as F**k"?  Exactly, plus it was featured in a TV show called Super Rescue Solbrain, a show with mech's and other classic Japanese future tech, it holds it's age really well ! ... Must get a Super Rescue Solbrain windscreen fabricated *mumbles* that would look awesome on the road... if it's road legal anyway; will have to look into that.

Japanreviewer: It’s true you have a love of anime series, but which ones did you grow up with?

Ahhh what a question, ok I’ll fess up, the first anime I ever saw was a shock eye opener, it was Urotsukidoji (Demon Womb/Legend of the Overfeind) on a VHS, but I was hooked, quite explicit though that one so when I started buying as they began to hit UK shelves, I opted for the more fun stuff like Dominion Tank Police and Project A-Ko.  They've since released Gatchaman in its proper incarnation, did you know that? - Finally we can wave goodbye to 7-Zark-Friggin-7 and the butchered Sandy Frank versions from my fragile youth... kicking theme tune though, Gatchaman doesn’t have that.  I'm looking forward to the movie if they ever make it, it's been on the cards for years, there's even a YouTube preview fans made on how they’d like it to look - and it looks Brilliant!

Japanreviewer: As you are a fan of Naruto, what other anime series do you like to watch?

Number One, at the top, it has to be... BLEACH, Tite Kubo's take on an angsty school kid given Soul Reaper powers builds nicely and has a good flow to the various arc's (but avoid the Bount Arc, bit pap that one.)  Did I mention I OWN a 5ft metal version of his zanpakuto Zangetsu. I use it as a prop for photo shoots, but it feels good to wind it up in bandages and wear it on my back.  Then there's Death Note, I love that show!  The films weren't great though, CGI was spot on, but the actor choices were poor.  Like when they did that remake of the TV show Monkey, and they chose an actor with Blonde Hair - I mean... Monkey with blonde hair, it doesn’t work.  Witchblade is also another favourite, Ouran Host Club, Baka and Test, and more recently Tiger & Bunny, the tale of what would happen if DC comics or Marvel pitted superheroes against each other solving crimes for a TV show, with an ongoing back plot that holds your interest.  Full of product placements, but it doesn’t get in the way.  I also dig older puppet shows like Star Fleet if anyone remembers that.

Japanreviewer: As far as I have seen, your photography portfolio contains a lot of diverse work, but you seem to like cosplay - why does this appeal to you?

I do like a bit of cosplay yeah, everything from videogame characters to Dr Who, but I think the star wars thing is a bit overdone, I mean, there are almost as many, if not probably more storm troopers now in the UK than there were on the Death Star had it ever actually existed in the first place!  It's nice to throw a bit of glamour into the cosplay too, mainly for fun, and it also hit's the late teens to early 30's market who imagine certain lady types with perhaps a little less clothing (sometimes nude) than they were designed with; I mean come on, you never looked at Lara Croft (tomb raider), Ivy Valentine from Soul Calibur or Bleach's Matsumoto Rangiku and thought *mmmmm.*

Japanreviewer: How did you get into photography? Can you tell us a bit about your history?

Sure, I baddled a bit, stumbling around not knowing what I was doing really for years, I didn't have the interest (or aptitude) for it, then... one day back in 2007, a mate came over from Manchester, brought his little Sony camera, and while he was here, started doing close-ups of the various bits and bobs around my home, because they were "interesting".  I saw the images and thought "WOW - wonder if I can do that"...  The touch paper was lit, I bought a compact camera from Dabs and it just kind of took off from there; I started with macro's (close-up photography), and 6 to 7 years later I’m doing Weddings, Cosplay Events, Car Rally's and Page 3 Style Glamour.

Japanreviewer: What advice would you give budding photographers who want to get into the industry?

Buy a cheap camera, learn the fundamentals of lighting and composition, and spend a year or two soaking up information. If you take to it, buy a better camera; consult with the local studios around you to see what brands they recommend so you know when you walk in there you are starting with the right kit.  Errr... get off those auto modes, stick it in manual and think for yourself. Auto is all well and good, but it doesn’t always make the right choice for the shot you might want to capture. Manual gives you that exact control.  Once you know about Rule of Thirds (composition), Distance to Subject math (flashgun), and Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO, and how they relate to one another if changed, the rest should fall into place.  Attend studio days to get some hands on experience, but also go out and shoot in a field, on a beach etc, you wouldn't believe how many people that work in a studio can't handle working with natural light. When you have built a good portfolio, you can start subbing to the magazines.  Oh and watermark your images, always fill in the IPTC, and learn Copyright Law, if you work with models, never touch, be respectful at all times, and if you work together accepting each others suggestions and feedback, you'll get better pictures as a result.

One of Andy's many costume shots:

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