Shine Snapcon will unmask cosplay enthusiasts during marathon portrait sessions at Express Newark

What motivates people to dress up in elaborate costumes to play act as a character who intrigues them?

If you’re into cosplay, what motivates you?

An upcoming event will try to unpack those very questions. Shine Snapcon, which will take place April 7th through 9th at Express Newark, will see Rutgers-Newark photography students use photography and video portraiture to uncover the stories of cosplay enthusiasts.

Short for “costume play”, the subculture sees people–often comic book and anime enthusiasts–don character attire and role play as that character. Comic book and other fan conventions are popular cosplay venues. Shine Snapcon will involve portrait sessions with local cosplayers in order to unveil who they are beneath their costumes, and explore why they’ve engaged in the subculture.

Twenty-four two-hour sessions profiling cosplay-engaging individuals and groups will take place non-stop over 48 hours. The extended length of the sessions is meant to give the students time to render unique, in-depth and dimensional portraits of each subject, rather than quick snapshots in the style of traditional photo booths. As of this publishing, slots are still available for the profiles. Minors are welcome to participate, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Rutgers-Newark photography professor Nick Kline runs Shine Portrait Studio, which is located at Express Newark in the newly renovated Hahne’s building. Shine was conceived as a community space “dedicated to education, business, community building and entrepreneurship,” according to a Rutgers-Newark writeup about the facility.

Featured image by flickr user Jason Grey