I’m a New York-based photographer specializing in celebrities and musicians. After I attended my first New York Comic Convention in 2009 I became fascinated by the cosplayers and the way that other attendees reacted to them.

The characters and the colors are just so outside of what you see in regular life and they demand attention when you see them. Most of these cosplayers probably went unnoticed in their daily lives, but once they are dressed up in their awesome costumes at these conventions, they become rockstars.

I’ve seen a lot of cosplay photography that is beautiful, but my photo series focuses more on the people that do it, and less about the fantasy aspect. I love seeing how the cosplay costumes change their personalities and body language before and after wearing them, and especially how others react to them.

More info: coreyhayesphoto.com | Instagram

Al Vasquez – Batman

News video editor, producer. I’ve always been a fan of Batman. It wasn’t until about 3 when I finally pieced together my very own custom cosplay costume. The plan was always to visit not just the conventions but children’s hospitals as well, which I have been doing for a little over a year now. I’ve come to realize, in spite of the time and energy and sweat that goes into “suiting up”, there’s nothing more gratifying than the expression on the faces of my fellow fanboys and fangirls.

Ruby Rinekso – Man-Bat

Graphic Designer and Musician. The favorite thing about cosplaying – It’s the same reason as a child when he wants to be a superhero or a particular character of fiction. It’s playtime and pretending. The reason is the same, the only difference is… I’m better skilled at it, and my budget is better, and parents can’t tell me “NO.”

Jenn Reddig – Phantasm

Grade School Teacher. I started out reading my dad’s old comics when I was young, but the biggest turning point for me was when the movie The Dark Knight came out. But with my love for Batman comes a love for Andrea. She is basically the female Bruce Wayne after all! How could you not love a woman who could hold her own and even best the Dark Knight?

Dana Paige – Grace Soulfire

Billing Analyst. The moment when someone’s eyes light up as they recognize the character you are cosplaying, especially when they appreciate the little details you’ve added to make your costume unique. Cosplaying takes a lot of time, effort, and funds, so it is always a great feeling when a fan compliments your hard work and creativity.

Diana Lin – Harley Quinn

Illustrator & Children’s Wear designer. In 2011 my fiancé (then boyfriend Al Vasquez) took me to my first convention, NYCC. I was completely blown away by the best cosplayers and their creations. I forgotten how fun dressing up and creating can be ever since I graduated college. Due to working in the fashion industry for so long and facing the reality of cost and production, it had slowly effected the way I designed, but going to comic con and seeing the creativity, dedication, and passion people put into each piece really inspired me to continue to freely express myself.

Joseph B B Quinn – Deadpool

Art Director. All my answers are questionably inappropriate. What about “it’s fun”? “It’s fun” is appropriate, right? …right?   (that whole sentence is my answer).

Kat Chagnon – Dex Starr-Red Lantern

College Student. Cosplaying to me is a great experience to express my creative side of being a geek. With cosplaying I can be whoever I want to be. There are no limitations to what a person can become if they put their heart into it. I love the dressing up aspect and seeing people’s reactions to my outfit through smiles and laughter. It brings joy to me and drives me to push forward for more.

Kyle Stark – Arrow

CNC Machinist. My favorite part of cosplay is the creative outlet. Meeting like-minded people and recruiting them to join our group The Hero Army. I’ve loved comics and superheroes my whole life so it’s a lot of fun having a “job”, a hobby that revolves around a medium I love, while allowing me to have a great time with my friends, their friends and strangers I meet along the way.

Lindsay – Victorian Thor

Art and UX Director for an event technology company. I enjoy creatively expressing my love for my fandom and connecting with other people who also love to do the same.

Paul D’Amore – Scarecrow

Teacher. My favorite thing about cosplaying is the friendly and amazing environment it creates.

Kiara – Black Widow

College Student. It is weird and fun. Weirdly fun.

Gina Y – Gou Matsuoka

High School Student. Favorite thing about cosplay: when you finish a costume and you can look back and be proud of what you made.

Jack Farzan – Traditional Female Loki

Student, programmer, artist. My favorite thing about cosplaying is becoming my favorite characters.

Jennifer Rose – Retro Catwoman

Seamstress, Administrative Assistant. My favorite thing about cosplaying is all the amazing connections that I have made with other people who share my passion for this hobby. I know that if it wasn’t for cosplay, I would not have met some of the dearest people to me that I now count among my closest friends, my family.

Morgan Herrmann – Magik

Student. Favorite part of cosplaying: Being able to create and collaborate with a family built on such a unique interest.

Samanthat Traub – Black Canary

Receptionist for a Directional Drilling company. My favorite thing about Cosplaying is the community. How it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, what you do, how long it’s been since you’ve gone to a convention or event we’re all family.  The support and love that the Cosplay community has for one another is something I’ve never experienced before in my entire life.  You walk into a room and even people you don’t know treat you like they’ve known you your entire life.  It really is magical.

Colen P. – Green Lantern

Security Guard. My favorite part of cosplay is losing myself in a character. I come from a theater background so naturally, I have this growing hunger to learn more and more about whatever character I do. I enjoy picking apart characters and finding out what makes them tick and why they do what they do. I don’t dress up as the character. I try my hardest to become the character.

Sheena V. – Victorian Loki

Actor, Freelancer, Costumer. What I enjoy most about cosplay is being able to recreate a character from scratch. I love the process of acquiring the materials and making it. The process is always daunting at first but the end result is so rewarding especially when the piece starts to take shape before it’s done. And of course, getting to dress up!