Back in 2017, photographer Thurstan Redding was walking down a street in Los Angeles when a dazzling manga-inspired outfit caught his eye. His interest duly piqued, Redding approached the person and began chatting about their plans for the rest of the week—which, it turned out, included attending Comic-Con. “I was just so intrigued,” Redding remembers of this first introduction to the weird and wonderful world of cosplay that he’s now spent the past four years documenting. “I decided to go to Comic-Con, and I was just transfixed by the sheer scale of it, the number of people there, the level of craftsmanship that went into the costumes. Then and there, I knew this had to be my first book.”
Now, Redding has finally brought that vision to life through his new photography tome Kids of Cosplay, designed by Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet-Napoleone and Lolita Jacobs and released by Thames & Hudson later this week. That the project took so long to come to fruition has not only to do with Redding’s busy schedule as a fashion photographer—his images regularly feature in the pages of M Le magazine du Monde, British Vogue, and WSJ Magazine, and he has shot projects for brands including Chanel, Versace, and Miu Miu—but also with the fact that a first iteration, with images made entirely at Comic-Con, was scrapped. It didn’t feel true enough to the spirit of those Redding was photographing. “I decided to redo the entire thing from scratch because it felt too much of a documentary project,” he says.