For all the readers who are not yet familiar with the name Jacky Cheung (how is it possible 😉 ), Jacky is a well-known (cosplay) photographer from The Netherlands. One who we already did an interview with in the past (so make sure to check that one out as well to learn a bit more about his work). But for now, we interviewed him with a special mission: as The Man behind “Behind The Cosplay”.
Several weeks ago Jacky launched his book “Behind The Cosplay” and we wanted to catch up with him to see who things went so far…and of course, to get more in details on how it all began.
365G: Well, here we are again 😉 Always a pleasure to talk to you Jacky, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Jacky: It is always a pleasure to catch up with you Monique your smile always brighten up the place 🙂
365G: We @365Gaming were privileged to be informed about the plans for the book several months ago…but I know the plans and idea’s to start the book were already established a long time before that.
Maybe it would be nice to start by giving a bit of background to the readers. How did the idea start and how did the collaboration with the team develop?
Jacky: The idea started as simple as I wanted to make a coffee table book with the cosplay photos I have. While going through the photos we talked about the cosplayers when I took the photo who they were etc. And that is when the idea came up why not a book that is giving the background stories from these awesome people !
I know my own strength and weaknesses, writing and graphic design is not one of them. So I decided to ask Liyen to do the writing and the interviews for me. I know her from previous collaborations and she is a chief-editor of a magazine called Aniway. So she has experience with the process of making a book or magazine.
Then during one of my cosplay photoshoot with Linsey she told me she is studying graphic design. So we started talking about the idea I had and asked her if she wanted to be part of the team.
And this is how we formed the Behind the cosplay project team together.
365G: I know you work with many talented cosplayers and you have developed great friendships as well along the way….that must have made it hard to decide which 12 would be featured in the first book.
Jacky: Yes we do work with a lot of talented cosplayers and indeed we have forged great friendships out of it. When we started making the selection the people I knew were not as much as it is today. We try to choose a variation of cosplayers that resembles the cosplay community in the Netherlands. Difference in skills, age, sex, size it doesn’t and it shouldn’t matter cosplay is for everyone.
365G: Behind the cosplay, the title says it all in a way, the person behind the cosplay. In a way something many will wonder when they look at a cosplayer his/her cosplay. How does the person look in real life and who is he/she?
On the other hand, I can understand for a cosplayer showing the person behind the cosplay is almost like posing nude 😉 How did you get all of them to participate and show themselves in the pictures and interviews?
Jacky: ha ha ha well that is a question, I have to admit some of them didn’t mind (there were reluctant but didn’t mind). And there were a few that really needed to be convincing. I explained to them that they will be there every step on the way. And that they will be as much involved as they wanted. This, in a way eased the mind of them and happy enough to participated.
365G: We talked many times about great places to visit to get the perfect match for a cosplay picture. What was the reason to portray the cosplayers in the studio for the behind the cosplayer shots?
Jacky: The shots done in the studio is more comfortable some if not most of them hasn’t had photoshoots yet in “ normal” clothes. The studio is nice and comfy and we can take our time to ease it in.
365G: I’m sure that, during all the shots and time spent with all the participants, laughter & fun was a huge part of it as well. Could you share a funny story or anecdote?
Jacky: OMG i don’t know where to start !!! Should I start telling about the story how we had to move a heavy couch in the studio for a cosplayer or the time we jumped several time in the air to have a cool derp photo a la Dragonball. And then there were the times we had all the food after the shoots from Sushi to pancakes.
And then there were time were the cosplayers got asked by strangers several times during the shoot on location if it was ok to take a selfie with them. Lets say our project was never a dull moment.
365G: I know I said it before, but I have to say it again, I just LOVE the way how the 2 sides of the cosplayers are merged. Amazing work! That most have been a lot of work, same for all the pictures and interviews. I can assume the project took much of your time, did you ever think it was too much to handle next to your job, life and family/friends?
Jacky: ha ha ha h YES there were moments that I though what the H*ll did I start this time. We went through several rough patches as a project team but also personally. But no matter what we worked through it and it made us stronger.
365G: Unfortunately we could not make the launch, could you briefly tell us how it was and how it felt for you and the rest of the team? And of course, are you satisfied with how it was received by the audience?
Jacky: The launch was a good experienced we had interviews, and from what I hear from the cosplayers they got recognized from the book. From what I hear is that our book is different from other cosplay books because of the angle we took.
365G: I know you already have plans for a next project, could you give our readers a small hint of what to expect?
Jacky: Monique you are fishing again !! But yes I can confirm we are making plans for a second book. We can also tell you that we had a small meeting about this idea together with some cosplayers. It will have something to do with a process and . . . . . . 🙂
365G: Liyen & Linsey, the two of you played a huge part in the making the book. Could you please tell our readers a bit how it was for you to be a part of this project?
Liyen: I feel really grateful for the opportunity to participate with a huge project like this. I did the interviews and I noticed that I not only learned more about how every individual cosplayer started with cosplaying and kept on going, but also what their passion and goals are for life. This is not something you get to know by just chatting with them at conventions.
Linsey: For me this was an amazing experience! It was my first time working in a team. When Jacky asked me to join his team with this nice project I immediately said yes. I was very honored to be invited in to his team, because I admire Jacky’s work a lot. His pictures are always spot on, this includes; the setting, the atmosphere of the cosplayer and location in one picture. This was also the perfect chance for me to combine my work with my hobby.
My part in the team was to design the book, there were a lot of decisions to make and options to choose. Together with Liyen and Jacky we had to make this book an united thing. This was a combination of pictures, text and layouts. Luckily our teamwork was great, so after a lot of hours and hard work we accomplished this. It was really nice to work with this team and I would love this to be repeated in the future!
365G: Jacky, again, thank you for your time and I look forward to all the other projects in which we can work together or events we can meet up. Liyen & Linsey, thank you as well for your input and all the work you did for this amazing book! Keep on creating and sharing all the great stuff and keep us informed on the new projects! x
Jacky: I wanted to specially thank you for taking the time and effort for this interview. It is always fun to catch up with you.
For all readers who want to own a copy: it can be ordered here.