In April of 2013, there was a reboot of one of my favourite video games of all time – Tomb Raider. I grew up with the games, first playing the games at a friend’s house, then becoming obsessed with the movie versions (In middle school I ran around in black tees and shorts with my hair in a French braid. I was meticulous about getting those two bangs in place). I had a great love of adventure stories and games, so here was this seemingly perfect combination of a female Indiana Jones and James Bond, yet still a character in her own right. I couldn’t help but like her and for lack of a better phrase, BE her.
I grew up with a very devil-may-care attitude that I cultivated from Tomb Raider, watching too many adventure/sci-fi movies, and being in paramilitary programs (CAP, JROTC). So I had a habit of running off to do things like four-wheeling, gun ranges, multiple forms of martial arts, fencing, almost getting my pilot’s license at 15, search and rescue exercises, survival training, and obstacle courses.
Fast forward to adulthood, whereupon I discovered both cosplay. I was so excited that as soon as concept artwork was released, I went to town to begin my costume. Truth be told, I wasn’t confident that I could pull off classic Lara Croft with her sexy, grown-up woman face (I feel like I tend to look more like a kid). So when I saw her new look, I just about jumped out of my skin. Now here was a version I could pull off! There was no question. I had to do it.
I poured my all my years of yearning to do a Tomb Raider costume into it. I researched for 2 years on the screen-accurate materials, colours, and props. Friends taught me how to distress, make the props, and basic archery form to take it to the best level of realism.
Two years later, I had the costume finished despite eBay mishaps and it being one of the first major costumes I had done. I was so proud of the work that had done that I was chomping at the bit to photograph it. But I didn’t want to do just the same ol’ cosplay portraiture. I wanted to do something different. Being a storyboard artist, my brain naturally went to creating a story. I decided to run with this idea of narrative and wrote up a script. Then it was time to figure out who would be crazy enough to shoot it…
Enter Dim Horizon Studios.
I had stumbled across Dim Horizon Studios while searching Dragoncon photos the year before. I saw their iconic Bioshock photograph was blown away. So I immediately found their Facebook page and started following them. When I put up the casting call for a photographer, they shot me a message to throw his name in the ring. I was giddy to oblige as I had been wanting to work with them quite badly. In addition to photographic talent, Matthew and Nicole Nicholson are some of the loveliest folks you’ll ever meet. Add in Matt Silva of Black Tie FX for special effects makeup (of Face-off and insanely good hair fame) and Adam Greene of Pixelbash Props for various assisting duties (he made the necklace I’m wearing out of real jade!). Hard-working, easy going, loveable geeks, the lot of them. They listened to my harebrained scheme, put up with my desire to trek all the way down to the pools of Cloudland Canyon, Georgia to shoot (bless you, Nicole), and even fed me afterwards.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post of the photoshoot (complete with script!)
(Seriously, can I have his hair?)