Project Lightstorm

My creative side does not let me follow the conventional path to the things I love. The nature of what I do as an artist is in the consequence of my words and deeds and I often find myself asking, from what point of view should I approach an opportunity of expression.

I fell in love with cosplay, not from behind the camera like most of my friends, but from my A/V area behind the mixer surrounded by buttons and knobs while directing the production of our cosplay contest.


A few months back, while discussing with the various people to muster support for our move to the convention center, I came across a situation. Cosplay as an art-from is misunderstood, very often by people outside the community and sometimes even by other cosplayers.


This issue evidently took center stage during the airing of Heroes of Cosplay. I received many emails and messages from attendees expressing their discontent with the image the show was spawning. During one of these moments it dawned on me that perhaps we, the ones who love and understand cosplay, the ones who want to see it credited as an art-form, are not doing enough to express it from that point of view.


Is cosplay art? I answer yes to myself in silence. I know it is but I am drawn to the sense of confusion among everyone around me. I want to help, I want to say something but have no real language to describe it.

A few weeks later, I decide to take some photographs of cosplayers around the Houston Downtown area and present the images in full resolution on a 4k display. I wanted the costumes to be expressed visually on a level of detail and vibrance not commonly seen. I named this project, Lightstorm. I asked other talented photographers to join me in this project and invited cosplayers to participate. The collection is currently over 50 images.


I presented to test shots to my friends, who expressed their emotions with open mouths. “I can see everything down to the fibers” said one of them”. My wife, Deneice, says “Let’s display this all around town, perhaps people will be more respectful of the work cosplayers put into their costume”.


We debuted Lightstorm at the Anime Matsuri booth at Onicon 2013 with overwhelming feedback. I am curious if we get the same inspiring feedback at events and venues that are outside of the cosplay demographic. Now that would be a treat.
See Lightstorm next at The Edwards MarqE on Silber/I10 on November 8 and 9 at the opening weekend of Thor:The Dark World and then on to the Museum of Fine Arts. We will keep everyone updated to the schedule and locations.

I would like to thank Michael Shum, Sang Le, Julio and Janelle Rolgado, Hung Ngo, Jessamyn De Vos and Alin Danila and incredible cosplay work by Aurum Cosplay, Robbie Lee, Foa Cosplay, Sinnocent Cosplay, lovelyy orange, Shelby Sora, TabbyCatMittens, Shinrajunkie, Holly Gloha, SEC-C Cosplay, Melfina Cosplay, ilikedonuts and Maria Vasquez.

If any cosplayers want to be part of this project now or in the future, please contact me by clicking my name below.

To be continued…

- John Leigh, Director/Anime Matsuri