Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. Though he is no cosplayer, since 2016, Italian photographer Filippo Trojano has turned Cosplays into his playground. An immersion into a colourful world where everyone finds their place.
“Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by visual arts – especially cinema. I’ve acted in some short films. Photography is a way to invent stories, that I always conceive as scenes in my mind’s eye. My mother is a painted and a catering teacher, art has accompanied me from my first years onward”, says Filippo Trojano, a 42-year-old photographer and teacher based in Rome. “I remember spending countless hours listening to records while looking at their covers and pictures as a child.” A most important detail, since the artist considers the photographic medium to be a “musical break”. “I’ve wondered for a long time about the ability of people to project themselves into images. I still envision my grand-mother kissing her late husband and family’s pictures before going to bed. I’ve pursued this reflection through my practice of photography.” Observing one’s relation to image is, to him, a pretext to analyse one’s relation to people.
Echoing ancient rites
In 2016, as he was travelling to Rome, he noticed a boy dressed in a cow’s outfit, in the train carriage. “He was talking to his friends, next to him, and everyone around them kept on going as if nothing was going on”. This first picture brought on many others. What they have in common? Cosplaying. “In Italy, Cosplay has become more and more popular over the last ten years, especially thanks to two comics conventions, taking place in Lucca and Rome”. Two events which, each year, welcome profits and visitors. “It was a more masculine field at first, but over the last few years, women have started taking part in this universe”, the photographer tells us. Ever fascinated by masks and the way they are used, the artist started a long timespan project. “Masks have existed since the primitive era. It is as if cosplaying echoed these ancient rites.”
With Cosplay, he delivers a reflexion on meanings and uses of masks in modern time, and questions our take on reality. What do we remember of the people we met during our childhood? What becomes of the heroes from films and comics? “I can see a strange paradox. Though the mask helps us escape reality, it anchors us into society: as we show ourselves, we reveal our true selves to the world”, he says. Who hides behind these Batman and Spiderman costumes? Naïve children at heart, shy adults, or egocentric people? One thing is certain, in real life, many are playing a role. “Yet, life is not a show”, Filippo Trojano reminds us. He nonetheless remains optimistic and declares, like Oscar Wilde: “”Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth”. I feel that each disguise reflects our deeper self – a choice that is never left to chance.” Whether he focuses on heroes’ humanity, or creates ironic portraits, Filippo Trojano only seeks to partially take off the masks. “I don’t feel like I’m wearing one now, but I certainly used to in the past”. With Cosplay, he signs a most personal story.
© Fillippo Trojano