As a huge fan of Fatal Frame III, I was excited by the idea of crafting a costume from the game. Namely, I wanted to give the Tattooed Priestess Reika a go, as it would be a drastic departure from the type of characters I’ve portrayed in the past. My friend and cosplay cohort Ashley Hay joined me as the game’s main protagonist Rei.
The costume was quite easy on my end – I made the bottoms out of folded cloth with some help from online instructions. Very little sewing was needed. I already had the wig for my future Elektra cosplay and I wore a nude bodysuit to cover my top, knowing that it would be airbrushed with the tattoos the day of the shoot. Ashley’s costume was a bit more complicated, but she did a fantastic job pulling it together – the shirt in particular. The only other thing needed was a camera prop, and I ordered one off of eBay that looked similar to the in-game Camera Obscura.
Photographer Todd Edison and I had wanted to work together for some time on a thematic project, and as a fan of Fatal Frame III, he jumped at the opportunity to collaborate. Even better, Edison had done some airbrush work in the past, and so was able to help out with that part of the look.
The day of the shoot, Ashley and I went to makeup artist Masha Chebotayeva to get my ghostly pallor, and then went to meet Edison for the rest of the process. Mostly, it involved me laying on the floor for several hours while he placed carefully crafted stencils all over my torso, then sprayed them with black airbrush paint.
The funny thing about this shoot is that I remember the exact date of it, because it was while I was having my makeup airbrushed on that I got the news that Michael Turner died. Owing my comic fandom to Turner, the news got to me and we had to take a break from the spraying while I gathered myself.
The shoot itself was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Edison knew of some caves in the St.Paul area that were very rarely frequented by other people and that would provide the perfect place for us to shoot during the day without pesky sunlight getting in the way. Getting into the caves, however, wasn’t particularly easy. It required a 30ft belly crawl down a suffocating entrance into the darkness, with only a flashlight to guide us.
Taking the photos was quite an experience, too. We used small candles to give enough light for the camera to capture our image, but it still required us to hold perfectly still for up to 30 seconds. If I moved, my image would end up looking ghostly, which was appropriate. But Ashley had the harder end of the bargain. The time and effort it took to capture a clear photo is why there are less finished images than I usually have for a cosplay shoot.
I did a significant amount of post production work to make the pictures look more like a tribute to the game. Mostly, I gave the photos a blueish hue and then used other composite imagery to make it look similar to Rei’s notebook that she updates throughout the game.
Enjoy the photos!