As any talented cosplayer knows, you can have the most authentic costume ever created, but if you pair it with a dimly lit location or subpar visual effects, the overall project can suffer substantially.
Enter photographer Pat Loika, who takes great cosplay and pairs it with backgrounds and effects worthy of all the work the cosplayers put into creating their iconic looks. Loika has a long list of impressive collaborations, work that has featured fan favorites like the X-Men, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Supergirl, M. Bison, Captain Marvel, and Harley Quinn just to name a few.
We recently had a chance to talk to Loika about his chosen profession, including why he chose to start doing this in the first place.
What was it about Cosplay that made you want to get into photography?
Pat Loika: Last year at DragonCon, I finished a really long and exhausting photo shoot. And while I thought I got some good shots, I felt like something was missing. I looked at my shots, and its a bunch of people in amazing costumes standing on stairs. And at that point, that's pretty much what everyone was shooting at the con: people in front of stairs.
I wanted to make my work stand out, and I wanted to do something different, and I really wanted to give something back to these cosplayers, who I feel deserve a better final product than a photo in front of something mundane.
How did you meet your partner Ghani Madueno?
Loika: I was introduced to Ghani Madueno by a mutual friend, Jay Tablante, who is also a photographer (and my mentor). Ghani works in the advertising industry in the Philippines and is an amazing digital artist. He's also had experience working with cosplay through Jay.
Are some of these your concepts or are they all the cosplayer's?
Loika: The cosplayers bring their costumes, I envision the image. In a lot of cases, I look to my favorite comics for inspiration for a shoot or an image. Sometimes, I see a costume and I just start imagining where to go to showcase it. It always varies, but it's ultimately a rewarding experience.
You can view some of Loika's standout work in the gallery, which includes fantastic cosplays from Maid of Might Cosplay, Amanda Lynne, Bettie Bloodshed Cosplay, Gillian Owen and Jeff Follett, Caitlin of Contagious Costuming, Leah Rose, Miss Wendybird, Amanda Levine, and many more. Also, make sure to check out more of his work on Flickr.